1. The people in this room aren’t just family and friends. Everyone in this room is a former or future CVICU patient. As someone who is conservatively a good 15 pounds heavier than they should be, I am willing to be annoying by saying that everyone in this room is or will have their health affected by lifestyle choices. While the waiting area in other hospital spaces is diversely populated, this room is filled with heavy and obese people. The trash cans overflow with McDonald’s bags. Funyun and Cheetos wrappers are scattered everywhere. My own idea of fun is sitting, listening to music and writing. I am the poster child for sedentary hobbies. The obese man eating a Big Mac reassured me that he’s had Premier Image Cosmetic and Laser Surgery twice and it didn’t change anything in his life. He is a former AND a future patient.
2. CVICU has two waiting rooms. The private CVICU waiting room is an isolation box. The walls are bare and the room has no television. Cell phones don’t work and the hospital’s wi-fi refuses to cooperate. The room temperature is so low that ice cream would not melt on the table with the magazines from 2003. The main CVICU is the place without secrets. Teenagers in jammies, fresh from the shower, play games on cell phones while their hair dries. A woman makes multiple calls to give concerned people updates while complaining about the “Bearden pusherman” who she blames. Strangers weave in and out of each others’ conversations with words of experience, compassion and reassurance. Sometimes, the layers of human suffering get too dense and everyone laughs at something that really isn’t funny. “They threatened to put a lien on her condo over a $40 fee she can’t pay because she is unconscious? Ha-ha.” In the evening, a group of homeless adults wander through in search of an empty recliner for an evening of safety. They know the main waiting room is better than the private room.
3. The Whip It soundtrack and a cup of caffeine are your friend in the CVICU.