The ICU waiting room is a terrible place.  I spent 3 days there this week.  One of the reasons I am not a doctor, other than not being smart enough, is because I hate hospitals.  The people that work there seem to be okay, but the buildings themselves depress me.

My sister is very sick- complications from a post-chemo-infection.  The family all came. 

You can do a lot of thinking in an ICU waiting room- a lot of worrying too.  Every miniature detail seems to be of the utmost importance, even if it is not.  You reside in a time warp- one inhabited by coffee, vending machines and chewing gum.  The television tells the time during the week- not quite so much on the weekend.  It is too cold inside and too hot outside.  It makes you want to smoke- except for all the people and ventilators.  While you are with loved ones and family, it is not okay to have too much fun.

A doctor on his knee informs a concerned and then devastated mother and daughter.  There is a man in a bow tie and vest passing with a person with a blanket over his head.  I overhear a family making plans for post ICU care.  “What does dad like to eat and who can visit when?  Do we use the word “nursing home”?

Wash hands.

Yellow plastic gown.

Blue gloves.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

The ICU creates perspective.  It is an importance filter. 

If you are facing family conflict, it is easy to be “me” focused.  How do I make “me” comfortable?  What is best for me?  You want to be that patient in the room attached to all the machines that everyone is talking about.  It is certainly true that if you do not take care of yourself, no one else probably will.  But an outward focus is healthy, depending on the target.  Sickness is a unifier.  Divorce is a divider.  There is a healing power to service –to outward focus- to dusting your knees off from the internal struggle and focus on the outward action word of love. 

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