The resuscitation rooms were both occupied. An unconscious lady in one, and an asthmatic in another. I went to both, to source out what was happening, and to find out if there was anything i could bug the nurses or doctors to let me do do to help. I placed ECG leads on one lady, and spoke to the other to find out the cause of her severe asthma attack. When there was nothing left to do, i exited the resuscitation rooms.
As i came out, i saw a solitary man sitting quietly in one of the chairs provided. I did not take further notice of him; he was most certainly a relative. Except, it was one of those times when my sensitive radar pops its head out, and i looked back and i saw the man very subtlely use his sleeve to wipe his eyes. He was crying.
So silently this man was crying that no one else noticed. I stared at him forlornly grieving but i did not approach him. I did not understand why he was crying. The asthmatic lady was not in any immediate life-threatening danger. I did a mental shrug and bustled on with my other activities.
But that image of the man crying silently bugged me. He appeared really alone and lost. Something was not right. It was not until the next day before i put two and two together and i understood. That man was not the partner of the asthmatic lady. He was the husband of the lady who was brought in unconscious, a suspected stroke leading into a coma; a very bad sign. He was seated in front of the wrong resuscitation room.
And i felt sickened with myself. For letting him sit alone in his grief. For not providing an iota of comfort. That man found his wife unconscious and he called the ambulance. An abrupt end to an obviously wonderful relationship. He was shedding tears of helplessness, of grief, of bewilderment, of fear. And i stood there, just watching cruelly, not offering even a minute of support.
I should have been more careful. No one deserved to suffer through grief alone. I apologize sincerely. You taught me a lesson that day, even if you did not know it.