Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sights Seen at the Surgical Center

I had to bring Carl in to the Surgery Center of Arlington for a little hand surgery today. He has something called "trigger finger" – the layman's term – on his left hand. This causes two of his middle fingers to bend inward, creating something of a claw. Or as he likes to say, his hand is permanently bent into the "hook 'em horns" symbol. I prefer to say it's the sign for "I love you" but of course I am overruled. He's a tea-sipper all the way.

This surgical center is tucked back in an unobtrusive area off of Matlock Road and Orthopedic Way. I've driven by it many times and never even knew it was here. It's a nice building. The waiting area has lots of space, lots of nooks and corners. The carpet is a charming taupe and beige plaid and the chairs are maroon and metallic taupe – an interesting fashion choice. A flat screen television blasts the Today Show to the room, and the scent of the free coffee is tempting.

When you are sitting in a waiting room, you get to see all different segments of society. There is the dude against the wall reading an instruction manual for a computer application. It totally fits him too. He looks like a geek, so I am assuming that this is what geeks do in a waiting room. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

There is the couple from the low-rent side of town. He wears a three-day growth of beard and is dressed in camouflage and a gimme cap. She is in stretch pants and a wind-breaker. They are hard-working, salt-of-the-earth people, the kind that cities are built on and farms are run with. They smell like cigarette smoke.

The well-dressed couple in the corner are dressed in high-dollar track suits (this is an orthopedic surgery center, and you are asked to come in for your surgery in light, comfortable clothes). He has nicely trimmed salt and pepper hair and sports sandals that have probably never been used for any sort of sport. She is well-coiffed – not a hair out of place – as she gently places her French-manicured hand on his thigh and tells him everything will be all right.

In another corner of this oddly shaped room, we have a group of Mexican women – looks like two sisters and the daughter of one of them. They are quietly speaking Spanish and drinking coffee. There is worry etched on their faces, like this surgery may be a life or death situation. But since it's an orthopedic center, I doubt that's the issue.

There is the single, older woman sitting alone. She is wearing a Dallas Cowboys track suit and holds her cell phone tightly in her hand. She looks a little nervous about her procedure. Or is she waiting for someone already in surgery? I'm not really sure. Her eyes are darting around the room like she's looking for someone to tell her it's going to be okay.

There is a young black man, waiting to have his surgery. I don't know what it is, but he is also alone and he looks nervous.

I just got to go back to see Carl before they take him into surgery. He is wearing a cute little pink and blue gown and his hair is up in one of those little shower cap thingies. He's nervous too, because he was talking a lot and loudly. He makes sure the anesthesiologist knows that he can't take a lot of pain and he better ensure that his arm is completely asleep before they even consider cutting on him. Bless his heart, he's scared. They don't let me stay, I just get a quick kiss, a laugh with the surgeon and am booted out to the waiting area with the rest of the families.

I haven't seen Channel 5 morning news in some time. Looks like Tammy Dombeck let her hair grow. It looks pretty good!

I shoulda brought a book.