I spent a few hours in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) waiting room on Wednesday night. My wife’s grandmother (on her father’s side) had some sort of cardiac arrest. So there I was in a room not totally unfamiliar to me through the years. Not too long ago my wife’s grandfather (on her mother’s side) was in the ICU after an emergency stent . Also not too long ago a young lady from our church was there after pregnancy complications. The room is familiar, too, from just plain old growing up with a mom who was an ICU nurse.
I take the room for granted, I guess. It has great lawns and a view of the river right outside the windows. The room has magazines, puzzles and crosswords. The room had recliners and blankets and all the things families need for a prolonged stay. But I was thinking last night, 24 hours after sitting there myself, what if that room could talk? It seems a very emotional thing, so I’ll try to keep myself composed as I type this from work.
If the ICU waiting room could talk it would have many tales to tell. It could tell of the dogged determination of families looking for hope in every report a doctor comes out with. It could tell of the heartache of families waiting for news on a terminal loved one. The room could tell of the laughter of a family remembering the “good old times” with family members now on life support on the other side of the doors.
The puzzles have been used by young children whose mommy is sick in the other room. They have felt the hands of the elderly whose life companion is in their final hours. They are a distraction for the man whose wife was in a horrible accident.
Those rugs soak up tears of anguish and tears of love. The chairs hold people sitting on the edge in anticipation and people sitting back in defeat. The coffee tables hold the caffeinated drink of those who don’t want to chance missing a single moment. The walls hear the prayers of the desperate and the sobs of the hopeless.
If the ICU waiting room could talk, its stories would break your heart. You would love and laugh and lose a thousand times.
Today I’ll say a prayer for all of the friends and families in every single ICU waiting room in the world. I pray that God will give them the strength and comfort they need in trying times, times that no one can ever be truly prepared for. Thank God for the life you had with your loved ones, and trust Him with their future.