Stuck in a Room With Strangers
Hello from soggy South Florida! I hope wherever you are today the sun is making an appearance. It’s been held hostage behind the clouds here for weeks and the rain HAS. NOT. STOPPED!
WOW was this blog hard to write (I’m blaming it on the weather). No matter what I typed, nothing felt right. My cutesy titles and well thought out words seemed empty and dry. My previous two posts easily flowed from head to heart to hands, not so with this one. I stared at the flashing cursor for so long each day that the screen seemed to turn into one of those psychedelic pictures you have to cross your eyes to see.
Were all of my words really gone after only two posts?
“God, You did tell me to write….right??”
And then Wednesday happened. You know what they say, “Be careful what you wish for!” I prayed for something to share with you and I got it.
Our son, after years of waiting, finally had an appointment coming up with an ophthalmologist at a world-renowned facility and in order for him to be seen he needed a referral from his pediatrician. Sounds pretty simple right? Wrong!
The nurse I spoke to over the phone informed me that we would have to come into the office for a visit in order to get the “golden ticket” aka referral. I kindly explained that his pediatrician, who’d been seeing him since BIRTH, was extremely familiar with his case and if she would only take a moment to check with his doctor I was sure that she’d get the green light to request the referral…WITHOUT US HAVING TO COME IN.
I want to say that ‘said nurse’ was not rude at all. I wish she had been, so it would’ve been easier for me to be upset with her. She just wasn’t budging. So I did what any parent in my shoes would do, I kindly thanked her for her help (or lack thereof), hung up, and called back to deal with another, more understanding person!
Unfortunately for me, there was NO such person and I was forced to make an appointment!
I woke up Wednesday, appointment day, with a little bit of frenzy in my step. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but going anywhere with Jacob is kind of a big deal.
If it were either of our older two kids, we could literally roll them out of bed minutes before having to leave and throw a banana in the backseat of the car for them to eat as we drove to our destination.
Not the case with Jacob. Leaving the house with him is like leaving with a baby and if you’ve ever done that you know what I’m talking about.
You have to pack so much stuff that when you leave the house you look like a camel loaded up with enough supplies to last a person a month in the desert,
AND you’re only leaving the house for 15 minutes.
Bottle, check. Diapers, check. Bibs, wipes, extra clothes, check. Socks for his hands because he will bite his fingers if they’re not on, check.
With a quick glance at our bag o’ supplies we headed to the dreaded appointment.
“And Lord please don’t let him go to the bathroom while we’re there because….well because it stinks!”
We didn’t wait long before his name was called. Isn’t it the best feeling ever to hear your name called (or your son’s) in the middle of a full waiting room?! I got up with such excitement you’d have thought I was the next contestant on the Price is Right.
“Shona, come on dooowwwnn!”
As usual, the nurse helping us fumbled over her words trying to ask what the best way to get his weight and height would be. I wonder sometimes if people panic at the sight of his wheelchair. We figured it out together and instead of sending us to a room, she sent us to the lab seating area to wait.
Why do they do that? Why call us back if there’s nowhere to put us? Leave us in the spacious waiting room out front instead of stuffing us in an already crowded seating area where we’re forced to inhale icky germs. Ugh!
I made my way there and tried to take a seat without running over anyone’s feet with Jake’s chair. Successful…barely!
The couple inside glanced up at me and for some reason I felt instantly out of place. They both gave that half smile you give strangers and quickly went back to tending to their baby.
There were five of us in this tiny room that seated nine - three adults, two kids, a stroller and a wheelchair. It wasn’t TOO bad. If only it had stayed that way.
I spent the next 20 minutes or so moving Jacob’s wheelchair in, out, and all about as six more people joined us. Some stood, some wriggled around his chair to a seat, and one kid even sat on the floor. There was no getting around it,
We were in the way!!!
“Hold it together woman”, I thought as I felt myself on the verge of tears. “What on earth is wrong with you?? This is your life. So what if you’re in the way? You’re not embarrassed of your son are you?”
It was bad enough that we were sticking out (literally) like a sore thumb; I didn’t need to make matters worse by sobbing in the place, so I started to pray.
“Lord, I was hoping you could make all these people go away. Being here with them hurts. I want to go somewhere one time and not stick out. I want Jacob and I to fit in, feel a part, be seen, but not stared at. I want kids to look at him and not wonder why he’s drooling or in this big chair with wheels with socks on his hands. I feel alone in this crowded room. I strangely feel rejection in this crowded room. I hate that we’re in the way. I fear we always will be!”
We were two of the last ones called out of that “sardine can” waiting area and the visit moved quite quickly after that. Before I knew it, we were in the car and I was crying my way home.
I don’t know why our waiting room encounter bothered me so much that day? Life! It just hurts sometimes in unexpected ways.
I’m so thankful though that in a room full of strangers I can pray to the Lord and know that feeling alone does not equate being alone!
It’s also a great comfort to know that Jesus is not concerned with the big moments of life only, but with the “tiny waiting room moments” as well. He cares about every detail of our lives and for that I am truly grateful!
PS: I almost forgot to tell you that when the doctor came in and saw that I was only there for a referral she said, “Why are you here? You never have to come here for a referral! Did you just want to see me?" Now that I think about it, maybe that's why I cried all the way home! #alltheangryemojis