Debbie Knight

The grass looks different on the other side

In observation on February 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I work in a pathology department. And in my many years, I’ve often picked up research specimens from the surgical pathology lab (pictured above). And while I had noticed the doors to the right over which is written the words “Operating Room,” I hadn’t really thought about what goes on in those surgical suites (except maybe in abstraction) … until this past week.

What was different this time was that my loved one, my husband, was behind those doors, undergoing a four and a half hour surgery.

Oh sure, I’ve been in other waiting rooms at other hospitals waiting to hear news about my mom or my dad. But this time it was different — this time it was where I worked, my stomping grounds, a place where I thought I knew what went on behind the scenes.

But it’s different being on the “other” side, the patient side.

Here I was, worrying about how things were going, hoping there were no surprises, and hoping I would get my husband back in better shape than when he went into that surgical suite. We had surrendered to the skills of his surgical team.

When I’d passed this way before, I hadn’t realize that the people sitting in the chairs on the other side of these double doors were waiting to hear news about their loved ones undergoing surgery. I didn’t understand the tension and emotional roller-coaster was so palpable (had I paid attention) when I had walked past them all those times before. I didn’t understand the hidden personal dramas that were unfolding in surreal (yet real) time … until I sat in those very chairs, for the very same reasons.

Now I understand all this, having sat on the other side of those doors.

And in the future, I will be sure to send out some positive thoughts as I pass by the patients’ families.

Because now I know.

The grass does look different on the other side.

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