Reflections In An Emergency Room Window
Ever stop to think...and then forget to start again???
Getting To Know The Strangers
Finally Mark's name was called on the speaker. It was time for him to be taken back into the emergency room where the doctor could determine what to do about the obstruction in his throat.
After watching he and his wife until they disappeared from view, we settled in for what would be hours, awaiting news. It was a Saturday night on a long three-day weekend, so there was no shortage of emergencies. As I sat, I prayed. The four of us had been praying for hours and we continued to keep our faith that all would be well.
The spacious room had a large-screen tv in front of where we sat, and to our right was the outer wall, built completely of windows. Outside, darkness had long since fallen and the windows now only showed reflections of those inside the room.
From our vantage point, I could see who entered and exited the room by looking at the reflections in the windows. Most of the time, I could witness goings-on without anyone knowing I was watching.
As I saw each patient go from Information/Registration to Triage, I said a prayer and wondered what situations they were facing that brought them to this place.
There was the young man who sat waiting with a young woman by his side who seemed not to be too concerned with his condition, an obvious broken ankle.
Then there were the grandparents of a little boy of eight or nine. He was full of energy and would occasionally run around the room, but his cough was an obvious symptom and probably what brought them there. Granddad seemed awfully tired and grandma tried hard to keep the little boy interested in a book she was reading to him during the few moments they could keep him still.
There was a lady, probably mid-forties, dressed in black who appeared to be alone and must have been waiting for a patient as she sat in front of the window, busy doing something with her cell phone.
One older woman sat with an older man, both looking anxious and talking quietly to one another.
Sometimes I would make eye contact with others in the room, but not often. Rarely did anyone seem to want to interact in any way with the others who waited. I honored their desire but prayed for them, concerned about their troubles.
The lady in black had walked out, not to be seen again.
The young man was taken away in his wheelchair and I was glad to know he would soon get his swollen ankle treated.
The older woman and man continued to talk closely with one another, both looking tired and somewhat haggard as did several others in the room. They often held hands and I wondered if they too were praying.
I was able to make eye contact with a small boy who waved as he walked by and got a smile out of the older lady who followed him.
Occasionally I would look toward the older woman and man, but she seemed to turn away when she noticed my glance. She was overweight and I wondered why she kept her coat on when the room was so uncomfortably warm.
A young woman, around 30, had entered pushing her elderly father in a wheelchair. He looked so frail and his voice was soft. I heard the young woman call him daddy, and was moved by her constant attention to him. As he gave his information to the triage nurse, his daughter stood beside him stroking his hair, his neck and his back. I appreciated such devotion.
A woman of about seventy came and asked to sit near us. She chatted with us for a while and helped break the tension. She had been there with her daughter for about ten hours and was desperately needing rest.
As we talked with her, my eyes caught the glance of the older woman who sat with the older man. She had taken off her coat and I was relieved to know she was probably more comfortable. I could see how weary she looked and noted that now she appeared quite a bit older than my first impression.
A man of about 40 had now sat down near us. He had a bar through the top of his ear and a stud in his ear lobe and other piercings and tattoos. He had big eyes and thick glasses. One time our eyes met in the reflective glass and it made me uneasy. He was prone to stare at people, but not for any kind of exchange. He couldn't be still long and would sit a few minutes, then stand a few minutes.
Finally, Mark's wife came to tell us the good news that his procedure was a success and he was out of pain. We stood to go back to see him, so thankful that our prayers had been answered.
As I turned to get my coat, I looked again at the window. I was now in a position to better view the older woman. As our eyes locked, I noted that she too stood. This time I did not look away, and neither did she. I smiled and she smiled. A young lady had now joined them and I couldn't help but notice the peaceful look she now had on her gently wrinkled face. Apparently, they had also received good news.
As we walked down the long corridor that lead to Mark's room, I reflected back on the people I observed through the Emergency Room window during our long wait and prayed their visits had ended as well as ours. I praised God that our ordeal was over.
After Mark was released, we headed back out the same way we had entered. As we approached the glass doors, the older woman's reflection again briefly caught my attention. They too were heading out and had been joined by a young couple. We both smiled quietly at one another and I noticed the remnants of fading beauty . As we turned away to allow our husbands to assist with our coats, I began to speculate on this time in my own life and my present age and thought to myself, "That could be me twenty years from now. I wonder what she'll look like then..."
Do you really know who you are?
The hub above, Reflections In An Emergency Room Window, is, for the most part, true.
One reason I decided to write about our ordeal was, the first time I saw my reflection in the emergency room window, I didn't recognize myself for an instant.
We departed from home with such haste, I failed to grab the proper glasses. Couple that with the newness and shock of how much I've aged in the last few years, and I decided to take our venture a bit further and put in a subtle bit of humor.
I don't know of anyone who, upon getting older and seeing their transformation in the mirror, isn't often surprised, if not shocked. Though it's a natural part of aging, one is never prepared for how quickly it comes and how much change it brings to men and women alike.
If we live long enough, we will go through a type of metamorphosis that we only thought happened to older people...you know...our elders who are twenty years older.
Large reflective windows become our enemy. Reality hits hard when heading into a mall from the outside parking area. The glassed walls have no mercy. I suppose if you seek out a friend older than yourself, you might find a little solace, but as the saying goes, "It is what it is!"
For me, every bit of life has meaning, purpose and a lesson to be learned. Because God's Word, The Holy Bible, is my source for everything, I go there to see what parallels I can find to everything that happens, and I always find them.
As I wrote the hub above, I was reminded of a part of scripture that mentions the natural tendencies of humans. It reads, "beholding their natural face in a glass, when it is removed forget what manner of persons they were." I've put these words to the test for decades and it is a fact that we have a hard time remembering what we look like, though we can mentally picture someone else's face quite easily.
Here's James 1:23 and 24 in their entirety; "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."
The commentary of Adam Clarke helps to better understand the meaning of these verses:
"On going away, he soon forgets what manner of person he was, because the mirror is now removed, and his face is no longer reflected to himself;and he no longer recollects how disagreeable he appeared, and his own resolutions of improving his countenance.The doctrines of God, faithfully preached, are such a mirror; he who hears cannot help discovering his own character, and being affected with his own deformity; he sorrows,and purposes amendment; but when the preaching is over, the mirror is removed, and not being careful to examine the records of his salvation, the perfect law of liberty, or not continuing to look therein, he soon forgets what manner of man he was;or, reposing some unscriptural trust in God's mercy, he reasons himself out of the necessity of repentance and amendment of life, and thus deceives his soul."
I pray we will all be able to see ourselves for who we are and refer often to the "mirror" lest we forget the image and offer to ourselves, our Father and others, an ambiguous reflection.