Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The 4th floor

I frequently take a short cut path through the 4th floor. It is a medicine unit where a number of very sick patients from the emergency department wait for a room to open up the specialty area where they will receive treatment. I can usually save 5 minutes of waiting for an elevator because the stairwell on this floor is not locked as it is on the obstetrical floors.

Today, I finally realized the short cut is not worth it. I take this path to save time. However, for the fourth time in as many weeks I have run into a former patient with a relative in the hospital. I stop to talk and spend more time than I had hoped to save. Today it was a woman about my age there with her husband. From our previous conversations I knew he had been diagnosed with cancer some time ago. She is there, very anxious, and I am a friendly face.

I sit with her for a while and listen to what has happened with her husband. I remember how very difficult it is to wait with a loved one. I have had family and friends in the same situation forever grateful to see a friendly face in the swarm of medical personnel.

Perhaps there is a purpose besides time saved when I take this "short cut." I believe I will continue. That is at least on the days I have the time.
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