Chelsea Parrish

Waiting Room Chair

I lift both my feet onto the edge of the big square waiting room chair so my knees are right under my face.  My sneakers are so worn that my feet are beginning to fall off.  Don’t slip!  I’m protected and safe in this position.  I can feel the space in between my knees getting warmer by the second as I breathe heavily.  My breath heats my face.  My left arm is holding my legs on the chair while the fingers on my right hand sweat as they squeeze mom’s hand.

I lift my face up and shift it, leaning my right ear onto my knee, facing the open doorway to the surgery prep room.  Time has just stopped.  Oh no!  What’s going to happen in there?  A waterfall of questions start tumbling through my head.  Are they going to weigh me?  Measure me?  Give me a pill?  A needle?  Hospital pajamas to wear?  What if they ask me questions I can’t answer?  Will they give me a hospital name bracelet with my name typed on the front, fastened onto my wrist so I can’t take it off?  Are they going to give me bad news?   

Absolutely nothing could get me out of the emotional state I am in.  I try so hard to distract myself, letting ideas and thoughts sprint through my mind, hoping that one will grab my attention, and take me off into a different world – some place other than this room.  I begin to picture strange images, but every remote thought I have makes no sense.  Black scratch lines running across in every direction between images, I think of feet sprinting across miles of desert, digging into the sand and kicking up every speck of dust, of water, fire, land, sky, black, white, daylight, darkness, life, death.  All this waiting is only allowing the fear and uncertainty to worsen - making me feel awfully nervous.  Still, nothing.  I can’t figure out if my mind is empty or if it’s so full that that there is no room for anything else to fit.

A woman dressed in a thin, cotton nurse’s outfit walks out of the open doorway, holding a clipboard.  She looks around the room for a few seconds and while looking at none of the six of us in particular, speaks two words.  Words that put more fear and anxiety into my whole body than I have ever experienced before.  The words that make me so scared and frightened that I can feel my heart thumping inside my chest. The words I have been dreading ever since I walked through the revolving doors of the hospital entrance.  My name.




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