Friday, December 19, 2008


Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali

Lots of waiting lately. But as of yesterday, the Barnes & Noble website listed When Danger Calls as available, and it already has a five-star review. It's still listed as 'pre-order' at Amazon, but I have faith it'll be 'in stock' soon.

And waiting rooms. How aptly named. Yesterday, hubby and I arrived about 10 minutes before he'd been told to report to the hospital for check in. The receptionist confirmed his name was on her list and told us to take a seat. They're remodeling the hospital, and it looks more like a luxury hotel (although the smell of paint was bothersome). I have a scene in Starting Over set in a fictionalized version of this hospital, written several years ago, and I'm already thinking about a major revision for the next edition.

So, we wait about 40 minutes until he's called for the paperwork. After sacrificing a small redwood, he gets his ID bracelet and we're escorted to the area where they do these procedures, where we're told to have a seat and he's given another form to fill out. This waiting room is in the old section. No paint smells, but not a big room, and not particularly comfortable. People are reading, sleeping, watching one of the two televisions (more on that later), or staring into space. Note: this is not the 'real' surgical waiting room, so there's no real undercurrent of worry--most of the people are the designated drivers, not the patients.

After another wait, the nurse comes for him and he's off for his procedure. I wait. I've brought a printout of Starting Over as well as my eBookwise, which has the book I'm reading as well as Hidden Fire, which will be out in print, so I have to do one more run-through to catch any errors. On impulse, I'd tossed my iPod shuffle into my bag as well. For the next hour and a half, I'm very glad I did. The waiting room had two television sets, both on, each tuned to a different channel. Who decides what people want to watch, and who controls the volume? I know it's a silly thing to ask, but I wished they provided the headsets that let people listen to the audio without it being broadcast through the entire room. But, I plugged in my music and was able to block out the distraction. (I did notice that Jennifer Aniston showed up on both shows. Must have a new movie out.)

After an hour and a half, the nurse calls my name and escorts me to ... yep, another area where she tells me to wait for the doctor who will let me know how everything went. Another ten or fifteen minutes pass. When he shows up, he spends perhaps 15 seconds telling me everything was fine and disappears. I find the nurse's station and say, "What now?" They point me to recovery, where hubby is semi-coherent. I'm directed to get the car while he gets dressed and they wheel him downstairs.

Portal to portal -- almost 4 hours, which includes parking, walking to admissions, getting the car afterward and driving to the pickup point. (Which was NOT where the guy I asked said it was, so subtract about 10 minutes of unnecessary waiting until I asked again and he said, "Well, maybe you should go to the old entrance.") Time inside the hospital -- a little over three hours. Procedure -- maybe 15 minutes including hooking up the IVs. I'd told hubby to check the clock, because last time he had this done, he insisted they hadn't started yet, and I had to argue at length with him that yes, it was over. So, I'd told him to look at the clock. He said they'd put him under at about 10. They came for me at about 10:25.

I know the doctor's time is valuable, and he doesn't want to wait for patients, so everyone is prepped and ready as he goes down the line doing these procedures. But what about the patient's time? Do they need to bring everyone in as early as they do so they can sit around and wait?

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