Last week I found myself in the emergency room. The details are such that it brought me back to the yoga and putting things in perspective. 

My visit to the ER was requested by my doctor who, having heard the symptoms of a slightly swollen and sore lower leg, wanted to be sure that I wasn’t nursing a blood clot. I was pretty sure that a clot wasn’t the problem but she’s nothing if not thorough. I complied. After fulfilling all my professional and personal obligations I dragged myself to the hospital. I knew my visit there would be lengthy and was glad that I had my knitting and plenty of downloaded podcasts. 

I arrived at the hospital at 8:00 PM and was quickly triaged and made to know that my situation was not high priority (duh). I was led to a fairly quiet seating area where I was told that as soon as there was room in the ER I would be called in. I sat, listened, knitted, texted until I was called into the ER at 10:00 PM.

The contrast between the place I had been waiting and the place I would now be waiting was profound and was made more profound when I was escorted past the room where they tried to resuscitate my father after his brain hemorrhage, oh yay.
My dad being sculpted by M. Ambroise
My Dad posing for the talented Meg Ambroise.

Suddenly, I was bathed in bright, unflattering fluorescent light and surrounded by about 100 people all in some form of distress. It was loud, people had fevers, were concussed, getting stitches, working in this controlled mayhem, one guy on a gurney was singing R & B favorites (this was not helpful) and the guy next to me had passed out at dinner which made me think of other horrible events. I felt guilty for being there to ask for care from an already overextended employee population. I’d already been there for two hours though and had promised my doctor.

It dawned on me then that I was likely one of the most well people in the room. I wasn’t in pain, I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t working there, I didn’t have a fever, I wasn’t coughing, I wasn’t bleeding, I wasn’t hopelessly inebriated. My leg was a little swollen and sore and I had plenty to occupy me so I sat, watched and waited, breathing and understanding that I was lucky.

When eventually seen by a doctor at midnight he was gracious and kind as I told him why I was there and confirmed my own doctor’s desire to rule out a Deep Vein Thrombosis. We decided on a course of action and after a relatively quick and painless blood test it was determined that it was unlikely that I had a DVT. I was released at 1:00 AM. 

So, what’s the point? The moral of this unremarkable story is how remarkably calm and centered I felt during my five hours in the ER. I firmly believe that my practice assisted me to view my situation from an empathetic perspective and to understand that this was not a situation that was going to be changed or helped by my engaging in pushy or disruptive behavior. Instead I sat in admiration of all the ER docs, nurses, and administrative helpers who were working their tushies off.

I felt the ‘present of presence’ strongly that night. I hope you have opportunities to feel it too.

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