Picture a cramped waiting room in a busy medical practice. Five rows of chairs separated by aisles reminiscent of what one finds in a regional jet. A few children, those old enough to be free of a parent’s arms, fill their time absorbed in their cell phones. Younger ones wander, whimper or worse. On one wall, so close you can reach it from the row of seats it faces, hangs a 40-inch television, tuned to one program after another of talk shows. One or two seats in mid-row remain unoccupied. No way to ignore it. Try to read, but hard to concentrate.
The time is mid-morning, just after 10, and the room has been like this since we arrived in the rain at 8:45 for our 9:15 appointment. True, Betsy is summoned for a preliminary test, actually a series of them, about 9, to gather information for the Main Provider to study before seeing her.
Her time with him comes at 10:15, an hour and a half after we had arrived. Lasts 15 minutes, perhaps 20. This leads to one more test. The Main Provider, a kindly, competent man, wants to see the results of this one before issuing his final advice before sending us home. So back to the waiting room, even more crowded than before. We leave about 11:15 and drive 40 miles in a heavy rain on the Interstate, pulling into our driveway just at noon. We started out at 8. A full morning. Need I add stressful?
A quick bowl of soup for lunch. Perfect on such a day. Then a nap. Also perfect.
Lest I seem to be complaining, I hasten to clarify. Some languish today in prison. Others lie in hospital beds or in nursing homes, in pain or fearful or both. Some wait in hospice care. Some in military service fear for their own safety in foreign lands. Betsy and I are free to enjoy access to excellent medical care. What a wonderful gift. Yes, a long morning in a crowded waiting room and two long and dangerous drives in the rain aren’t much fun, but we are grateful for the opportunity.
So very grateful.