Saturday, November 29, 2014


If there's one lesson I've learned over the last three years, it's how to wait. Waiting is interesting. People who are new at it are ill prepared, and spend their time shuffling their feet, reading three-year-old dogeared magazines, and huffing a lot.

I did that a great deal in the beginning because waiting can be frustrating. It's almost as if you can hear your life draining through the tiny opening of the hourglass. You look at your watch, and look annoyed as your wonder why it's taking so long for you or your loved one to see a doctor.

At first I would never make eye contact in the waiting room. Who in their right mind would want to talk to that crazy twitching man with the ill-matching sox and skin flaking from his forehead. He might want to start a conversation with me about his ailments, afflictions, or his life that is spiraling out of control. Who would want to hear about that?

 It took some time, but I don't shy away from those conversations now.

In fact, I've met some remarkable people. Yes, some of them are wacky, and only talk about themselves, but many folks have had life experiences not unlike my own.

I've laughed and cried, but I've also made fragile friendships with some of these patients. I've lost some to the grave, but held others longer.

Two of our waiting room friends joined us for Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday. It was delightful seeing them here instead of our usual place in the infusion room.

This week, Jilda takes treatment 36, and three years of waiting has taught me a thing or two. I take my own magazines and books so I stay current with my reading. I take a list of calls I need to make, and after finding a quiet corner, I catch up on my business and social calls. I also take my Macbook Pro and noise canceling headphones, so I can write when I need to.

And I've learned by the look on the faces of those around me, who wants, and needs to talk. When one of those people arrive in my life, I save my work, or place a bookmark in what I'm reading so that I can listen.

I've come to understand that in the scheme of things, I get about as much productive work done in waiting rooms as I do in my office, though it took me a while to get my attitude right.

I'm just sorry I didn't pick up on those lessons sooner.


  1. So true. Good reminder. Hugs for Jilda and you.

  2. I'm not a particularly patient person. This is something I should work on.

  3. Anonymous9:41 PM

    You are a remarkable man--so many people NEVER learn life's lessons!!

  4. I think my dad said, 'Too soon old, too late smart." But you are right, and a good explanation of same, "THE WAITING", it did take me awhile, but I am getting better at waiting. I do more note making and thinking, since the calls are out.(smile.) I liked this.

  5. I admire your tender heart and compassion, Rick. I also wish I had learned some important lessons much earlier in life. But once we learn them, we can put them to good use :)

  6. I have always been a patient person. I loved listening to people, looking at people. In life you have hustlers and watchers and I guess I am a watcher. I learned a lot from people and books.
    Today however I am not such a patient person anymore.
    I never was good at and still not good at saying goodbye and I guess I've come to a time in my life where I have to switch the TV off because there is just no sense in what is going on in the world.
    People are all talking, fighting. They don't seem to understand that they really have nothing to say because it takes more than a lifetime to learn and they are wasting it all, doing the worthless things they are saying and doing.
    In all the years that I've lived, at least I learned this. lol
    I hope Jilda is doing well with her treatments.

  7. It's hard to live in a microwave world...people want things to happen instantly! Also, not everyone is as patient and kind as you or as willing to communicate. Even with those they know! One night Jack and I were at a restaurant having dinner. We watched a couple having their dinner...she was reading on her kindle, he was reading a newspaper. They didn't look or speak to each other the whole time. Well, that gave us something to talk about!

  8. Sounds like a lesson well learned and one that came with some blessings as well, both for you and others. Great post!


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