Day 248 – The Emergency Room
As I sat waiting in the ER waiting room I consciously made a point of not diverting my attention to my phone. I really, really, really wanted to check Facebook and my email, but with all the ‘No Cell Phone’ signs hanging up around the room and the fact my name could be called at any time to see the doctor I took it as an opportunity to simply sit and be.
I paid attention to my thoughts that drifted from paying attention to what other people in the ER were doing to judgements about the people working in the ER to worst case medical scenarios in terms of what could be wrong with me. Oh, and to how much this uninsured medical visit would cost me…
Ultimately, I was helped efficiently and quickly by very friendly and hardworking ER staff. I also found out I have an acute case of tonsillitis, but nothing life threatening. I didn’t find out how much the visit would cost me. That will be a lovely Christmas gift to receive!
While sitting waiting, wondering and thinking in the ER I began to question how I would feel when it was my time to die.
How I would feel at the end of my days if I was wheeled into a hospital room where I would spend my final hours? How would I feel about dying? How would I cope with the inevitability of my own death? Would the location help me in the dying process? Would I feel comforted to be near medical staff who could help me and relieve my pain? Would I wish I was somewhere else or accept the situation? Would I die quickly or slowly? Would I be prepared?
I stared up at the wallpaper border at the top of the examination room walls. It had a coastal theme with boats, beach houses and grass. It felt peaceful. I believed that if I was dying in that room I could take solace in the nature that graced the walls, even if I couldn’t see outside or touch the earth, for example.
The decor of the room definitely took away the edge from the starkness of the equipment all around the room. The plastic and metal didn’t seem so daunting, threatening or impersonal. However, I still didn’t know if I would be happy dying in a room like this.
I guess it would depend on the situation. If I was simply dying of old age, or from a terminal illness that had dragged on, I believe I would feel happier dying at home, surrounded by family and nature right outside my door. I would feel close to the people and things I loved and could therefore die more peacefully. If I had been severely injured in an accident or for some reason only had a few hours to live, it’s possible I would feel calmer in a hospital surrounded by people who knew how to take care of me in the few hours I had left on this earth.
It’s so hard to say how I will feel or react to dying, never having been close to doing so. However, taking the time to think about it and figure out how I may feel about dying in different situations opens my eyes to the one thing I know for sure – I will die. It also gives me empathy and compassion for the people around me, all of whom are also dying. It gives me renewed joy for the moments I am blessed with on this earth for we never know if tomorrow will really come.
Thinking about dying keeps me grounded in the present and makes me thankful for this life that I’m living no matter if my opinion of it is good or bad. What does the thought of dying do for you?
May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families wherever you are.