Unfortunately, I've been spending time at a hospital again. My mother had a fall, and I have spent the last few days with her in ICU. Thankfully, she is improving, but will require a lot of attention in the near future. If I'm absent then and again from here, that's where I will be.
The ICU is an interesting place. People who are there are quite ill and require a lot of medical attention. Because of this, there is limited access for visitors, and families spend a lot of time in the waiting room just waiting. And this is where in a very short amount of time, my sister and I got to know some other people quite well. We heard about others loved ones illnesses of stroke, pneumonia, car accidents, and gun shot wounds among other things.
There was one family that stood out in particular. We first "met" them when we arrived and heard one of their phone calls. The caller, a woman, was quite upset. She went on to talk about some complicated situations that we didn't understand, but didn't sound very positive. As the day progressed we understood better what she was talking about. They were there to support a middle-aged man who had had a very serious stroke. They included a couple of ex-wives, a present wife (the caller), and a present girlfriend. There were people of all shapes and sizes. Grandmas in wheel chairs, crying babies, and teens with studs in their body. Some had been sleeping in the uncomfortable waiting room chairs for days but they were all there--dozens of them.
As time progressed, the patient worsened and his 18 year old daughter had to make the very difficult decision of whether to operate or not. Both decisions had a high probability of death, but she chose surgery. We listened as the surgeon told them the operation went well and now it was a wait and see game. I cried along with them as they felt relief that their father, cousin, boyfriend, etc. had another day.
I don't know the final outcome for this man, but his family reminded me what families are all about. Families don't always get along--sometimes in a big way. But when it really matters, they put differences aside and do what's right. I am hoping for the best for this family and every other family I met during those few days in the ICU waiting room.