My mom went in for surgery last Wednesday. Dad and I were hanging out in the Surgery Center waiting room while Mom went back for soundcheck. (I know it's not really called "soundcheck," but it's the surgery equivalent to soundcheck. You know, when they check everything out and make sure you're ready for the show.)
In general, waiting rooms are not so exciting. Maybe in the Delivery Waiting Room people are joyful, but in the surgery center, it's a lot of families sitting around biting their nails, staring at the hotel-like pastel framed posters on the walls. There's coffee and the requisite AARP magazines. Surprisingly, the hospital has Wi-Fi, and I was able to get some work done.
Then comes the Old-Lady-with-the-Trolley. You might be imagining the Honeydukes Hogwarts Express Tea Trolley from Harry Potter, with Chocolate Frogs, and Pumpkin Pasties, and Bertie Bott's Every Flavored Beans. The hospital trolley is nothing like that.
"Can I interest you in a Bible? Or a Rosary? Or perhaps a Prayer Card?"
My dad and I had seen her coming and prepared ourselves for the uncomfortable moment of declining her kindness. I suppose Hospital-Trolley-Lady doesn't consider that -- and I know this is a totally crazy thought -- the patient might be Jewish. Or anything else for that matter.
I'm a little trickster, and I thought my dad would be amused if I told the old lady I wanted all of those things for Mom. But then I realized I didn't have any cash, and that might be awkward.
So I asked, "What's a prayer card?"
Old-Lady-with-the-Trolley responded, "You write your loved one's name on a card and someone prays for them."
I thought that seemed rather lazy or just covering all your bases, and instead just said, "No thank you."
I think we were the only family in the Surgery Center who declined the Old-Lady-with-the-Trolley's goods.
Dad told me it didn't cost anything, but I'm not sure I believed him. He tricks me a lot.
Later on that evening, Friend-with-a-Truck came over to hang out in the green room with me (or recovery room, whatever). We saw a sign on the first floor that said "CyberSpace Cinema."
Obviously, I had to know what that was and how I could be a part of it.
"What's CyberSpace Cinema?!" I asked the Old-Lady-at-the-Information-Booth. She was not amused by my enthusiasm.
"You can rent a DVD player and movies. But you have to be waiting on a patient here in the hospital, young lady," she warned me, as if I was a passer-by hoping to watch a free movie on a random Wednesday afternoon.
"Cooooooool, thanks," I responded and skipped away.
Mom's been here a week now, and I have yet to partake of the CyberSpace Cinema. But between my laptop and my Hulu account, there really hasn't been a need.