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Photo by yann maignan on UnsplashPhoto by yann maignan on Unsplash

So here I sit this Monday morning with the possibility of 2 hours of waiting ahead, if they have to do more testing. Yes, I got the dreaded callback from the mammogram I had last week. I have spent my weekend being logical with myself about this appointment. It is most likely a cyst. They just need to be sure. “Don’t go down that rabbit hole and get yourself in a tizzy. Save it for the next step.” Most of the time it worked. But I also reminded myself that if the worst happened, that GOD would provide what I needed at the time. My mind goes in a catastrophic direction very easily. It doesn’t help that I’m a nurse. An ache in one place can have my with stage 4 cancer in no time if I allow my mind to go there!

Recently, I wrote about what it is like being an old lady. One of the aspects of being old, if you haven’t come across it before, is sitting in waiting rooms…both literal and figurative! It have to come for my appointments and my husband’s since he is no longer allowed to drive and he has difficulty remembering what he was told. So I tend to keep busy in waiting rooms.

My husband offered to go with me. I declined. He would be sitting in a roomful of women. I knew he could handle it, but it really wasn’t necessary. My local daughter offered to take off work and go with me. I declined. “Holly, I would feel silly if the ultrasound was fine and you took off work for a 10 minute test.” “I’ll be glad to Mom.”

Are we gracious in accepting help that is offered? If we don’t need it, we can graciously turn it down rather than ignore it or pretend we are wanting not to inconvenience the other person. People don’t offer help unless they want to give it.

One of my other daughters chided me for not accepting her gracious offer. I had to back up and be sure she realized how much I appreciated her offer. I did…truly. But in all likelihood, the test would be done in 10 minutes and would be fine. I didn’t want to upset the family schedule for that. As it turned out, that is exactly what happened. The ultrasound was done in 10 minutes at most. I wanted a little longer for the doctor to read it and then I left.

If my anxiety had been high, I would have accepted her offer. But it really wasn’t. I knew that if I had more to deal with, I would need help at the next level. For now, I felt I could manage. But as older women, it is easy for us not to accept help we really need, isn’t it? Sometimes, we are anxious. Sometimes our family members offer us comfort that we brush aside thinking we are making their lives easier for them. But in reality, it would comfort them to find a way to help us. It is something to consider.

How often have you tried to comfort someone you love and they either don’t accept it or don’t want to accept the help you offer? It stings doesn’t it? It can be frustrating too! So I have to keep it in mind when my family offers me help. I have been on the other side of that equation before.

I never saw myself as someone who didn’t need help…until I really needed it and found it difficult to accept the help I needed desperately! I find it easier to accept help now. But it is something to ponder. When you are the Mom, it can be difficult to accept help from your children… even when they are way more skilled than you are in many ways!

Back to the waiting room!

This is an equal opportunity room. There is every color and every socio-economic group represented. Some women are dressed quite stylishly while others look like they struggle to get by. The rest fall somewhere in between. Most are able to walk easily, with a few struggling in on walkers or with canes. One or two need help with their paper work for various reasons, but most seem to be used to the routine because they come in year after year.

It’s pretty easy to tell which people find hospitals and waiting rooms scary. They either sit there stone-faced or frantically study their phone. They rarely engage with the people around them.

So how do we deal with the uncertainty of many of our waiting room experiences?

This is the hard part. Are we simply freaked out around medical personnel or hospitals? Maybe it’s because we had a close family member who died in a hospital and we can’t get it out of our head. My recommendation to you is to remember that the people who work here are just normal human beings too. Some of them are kinder than others. But the combination of your stress, the stress they carry in their private lives, and the changes of staff over the different shifts, make the situation even more stressful for everyone. There is no question that waiting room and especially hospitalizations can be very difficult. They are also full of waiting. Waiting for results, answers, diagnoses and prognoses…and more stress!

That covers literal waiting rooms, but then we go on to figurative ones and we have even more waiting! Who among us waits easily? Particularly if we are Americans? We are an extremely impatient bunch, aren’t we?

This can be comforting.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth.

Lamentations 3:22-27 ESV