First the waiting room. It was a Friday night - 11:30PM, - and busy - car accidents, and people coming in in ambulances. I registered - talked to a nurse, got a band on my wrist. Then sat, head mostly bowed in pain, listening for my name. Watched people come and go - sick people and friends and relatives, going two by two to visit briefly with the person they'd brought in. A few people being released - I watched for that almost as one watches in the queue in a restaurant for other diners to finish and free up their table.
When my name was called I was taken back to a bed (a very narrow movable one) in one of the curtained bays. The nurse was kind and patient, helped me off with clothes and into the hospital smock. The bed was a high one and a job to get into, but it felt very good to lie down.
Drifting with tiredness and pain - listening to the people around me: a child mauled by a dog and being stitched up; later a man with a broken collar-bone, and an old woman with an infection. Marlene, who came with me, talked some, and rested some. I had a book, and I think I read a bit - but that's no longer clear.
I speculated on what I might have. And what effect it would have on my knee surgery scheduled for the following Monday. I concluded pretty early on that the knee surgery would have to be cancelled. And considered that in fact, I might be facing a different sort of operation much sooner. I was scared. A very handsome young man came and took some blood - did a very good job of it. The doctor came and spoke with me - asked questions, poked my stomach.
Then a CAT scan - and the necessity of drinking a quart of contrast liquid over a two hour period. More time to think. I prayed some, I think, saying mantras for the others there, and myself too. Reflected a bit on uncertainty - but pain, and what might happen to resolve it formed very close boundaries. No real thoughts of next week or next month. Just tonight.
Finally - the diagnosis - diverticulitis - a great relief since it was treatable with no knives, no hospital stay. So a first dose of antibiotics, a pain killer, prescriptions and instructions for a liquid diet for a day or so, and I was discharged.
Walking back out into the waiting room, I was startled that it was light out. Six AM - now Saturday morning. We drove home,talkative and happy to be done with it.