Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nana Visits a Waiting Room and Writes About It

This morning I had to go to the lab to get blood tests done.  I stood behind the sign that said “For patient privacy please wait behind the sign until you are called.”   The three foot space between the sign and the receptionist window wasn’t much of a sound buffer; I listened in to every conversation between the receptionist and each patient.  I know that the woman in the clean white sneakers and navy plaid shirt last took her medication at 11:00 last night and that the small Asian man ate breakfast this morning.  I finally turned in my paperwork, quietly answered each question lest my privacy be invaded, and then took a seat to wait for the lab technician to call me.

An elderly couple entered the waiting area and took their place behind the sign.  The tiny woman was hunched over with Dowager’s Hump obvious under her Alfred Dunner shirt.  Her husband slowly made his way to the waiting room chairs using two canes.   I was far enough away that I could no longer hear the conversations with the receptionist.  The elderly man was comfortably seated by the time his wife finished with the receptionist and turned to walk the ten feet to the waiting area.  He looked up and saw her heading toward him and he struggled to pull himself up using his canes.  He remained standing until she was seated, and then he sat down again.

…and that’s something that you don’t see much anymore.  I can’t remember the last time anyone stood up when I entered a room.  It was a small gesture, but even though it was difficult for him, he struggled to his feet to show his respect to his wife. 

Today I had a glimpse of what was once commonplace…good manners.  Perhaps I’ve grown used to incivility, but that elderly couple stuck in my mind all day. 


  1. You are absolutely right, we have got used to incivility.

    I pooped into somebody's house the other day for half a minute, I thought. They took me into the kitchen and all three of us stood around the kitchen table until I got the message, sat down, when she also sat and he promptly offered me a cup of tea and a biscuit.

    Like I said, we got used to . . . . . . .

  2. popped, idiot that I am, popped. . . .

    Now that would have been very bad manners, wouldn't it. And they certainly wouldn't have been glad enough of my company to offer me refreshments.

  3. I wonder how this elderly couple views this world of ours today? It must appear a very alien and hostile place to the one in which they grew up in.

    Another excellent post, dear Nana.

  4. What a sweet picture of an elderly couple, and the gesture of respect. I had to laugh at Friko's comments, both of them. I enjoyed this story very much.

  5. I was in last Friday for lab work... could hear the receptionist before I even opened the door. Before I was done, I knew all about her operation, the six-week recovery, and her grandchildren.
    Nobody stood up because they were afraid they'd lose their chair.

  6. Lovely story. Reminded me of my parents in my mother's last days. She had a variety of tubes to drag everywhere she went. She told me when she had to get up in the night my father was always standing by the bed when she returned, holding the sheet back for her to get back in bed, and him to help her arrange all the tubes again.

  7. This is the sweetest story. It made my day. No, we certainly don't see that kind of respect these days.

  8. lovely story, which reminded me of my grandparents. My grandpa, with a bad back and Parkinson's in his later years, was always so solicitous to my grandma. He always opened the door for her, seated her at the table, etc. The were both very proper and respectful, and I consider myself blessed to have lived with them. (He also cooked breakfast on the weekends so she could sleep in!)
    This story will stay with me; thanks for sharing and brightening my day.

  9. What a sweet story, and a lovely reminder of the power of good manners.


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