Transcontinental Hospital Vigil

Remember the hospital vigil? I’m sure at your age you’ve done at least one. There’s the interminable vigil in the emergency or urgent care while you await your triaged turn, interminable no matter how short, all the more so with a child. There’s the end of life vigil, last poignant exchanges and the long last silence. Then there is the surgical vigil. Some such vigils are more fraught than others because the outcomes are doubtful, but thoughtful people – and surgery tends to make us thoughtful – consider that even the best prognosis could go wrong.

And so this particular vigil began at 6 pm. Eastern time/ 3 p.m.Pacific. Someone was actually there in the waiting room of course, but I was 3000 miles away, watching the clock, thinking good thoughts, staying positive. By 8:30 I was on the internet trying to figure out how long such operations usually take: 1 hr, 2 hrs. and -good heavens- one 4-5 hrs. Okay, now I’m shaking. But at last, at 9:22 p.m. the phone rang. It was over. The patient was conscious and the news was good.

I know – it is not aways thus, but just for now, we can rejoice.

How did your vigil go? How, perhaps, is it going?