June 29, 2011

The Waiting Room

Have you ever had to go out on Christmas Eve, or in a blizzard? And you get that feeling you get when everyone around you is experiencing the same thing, and your eyes meet, and you make a joke about it, and you feel like the whole world is full of friends?

That's not what happened in the waiting room at the clinic yesterday.

Well, it is what happened, but much later into the story.

Let's back up a bit, shall we?

Miss has been sick since Sunday, and when I say sick, I mean: has been laying on the couch, cuddling on somebody's lap, or sleeping. She's not been eating, even when I made the classic (and so cheap) sick-room delight that Jane at Adventures in Dinner reminded me of a week ago: Toads in the Hole.

No, her appetite was not to be tempted. But mine was, and I ate three. Thanks, Jane.

There was a period of time on Sunday evening when Miss wanted oranges - so, oranges she had. At the play table, in the living room, naturally, because when you're sick (and a kid), life is special.

Turns out the oranges weren't such a good idea. Let's not talk about it.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I suck it up and take her to the clinic. I took her first thing in the morning, because I thought that it would leave us the rest of the day to get medicine in her, and to let her sleep some more and generally be sick.

Instead, it left us sitting in the waiting room from nine until quarter to one. I almost left, because I was convinced that my answer would be: "Well, she has a fever, but it's probably just a virus and she'll likely be over it in a few days", which is the response I'm used to.

I didn't leave, mostly because Miss slept on my lap the entire time - except for the few minutes she watched Sesame Street on my iPod - and then handed it back to me and told me she was all done. Six minutes in.

That's why I stayed. Because not eating, not playing, not squirming to get down and not watching Sesame Street are not normal.

By the two hour mark, we all knew who were the walk-ins. We were the people not moving. We were the people sighing every time someone new came in and asked how long the wait was and were told "we don't know. A long time".

We were the ones who - by the three hour mark - were laughing. Were making jokes about how miserable we were. Were meeting each others' eyes and smiling whenever someone with an appointment went in.

And when the walk-ins finally started getting called in, we were the ones congratulating each other, making jokes about doing the wave (does anyone even do that anymore), confetti falling from the ceiling when your name is called, and giving everyone in the waiting room high fives as we walked towards the nurse who called our names.

It took forever, and (part of) it was awesome. Kind of like living through a natural disaster with strangers.

Oh, and Miss has tonsillitis and trachitis, and is on three kinds of medication, one of which is a steroid.