ICU Waiting Room

Posted: June 21, 2019 in Poetry
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My wife and our three Okinawan grandkids in the ICU Waiting Room hoping for good news about their Dad.

ICU WAITING ROOM
By David Allen

It’s the waiting
that gets to me.
Watching the unresponsive
body on the intensive care bed,
multiple tubes inserted
into veins, nose, mouth, and brain.
Hoping for a raised thumb
or hand clutching mine.
But he sleeps a drugged rest
and I shuffle to the waiting room.

Sitting with family and friends.
We’re running out of caring talk.
Some check smart phones
for word from the outside world.
I listen to the prayer circle
in the next family space.
A minister prays for Jesus
to intercede.

In another space, a tv plays
a hospital show. The sound is muted,
but blood clearly drenches victims of a car crash.
It makes me scratch my head.
Watch a hospital fiction while
the real drama plays out
in a dozen rooms down the hall?

There’s a lot going on
in the waiting room.
A young girl combs
her Barbie’s hair,
while her brothers
play with plastic Xmen.
Their mother is curled up
asleep in a recliner.
Behind me, a bottle of soda
is dispensed with a bang
from a drink machine.
Three middle aged men
in black biker vests
look for a seat, find none,
and walk away.

It’s the waiting that gets to you.
How long should you stay
until you feel like you paid
your respects, prayed
and delivered words of caring?
Even though you’re not sure
if they are heard?
Only to drive home to wait again
in more familiar surroundings,
until it’s time to drive back
and wait some more.

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