The Waiitng Room: A Sooke Experience

It’s Friday, the one Friday a month that a certain surgeon visits town to screen patients who may require some sort of surgical procedure.  This visit saves a lot of referral time to the specialist not to mention eliminating the drive to town on four lanes.

I walked into the waiting room, thinking I might just be on time, for once not late, and the room was full. Oh, oh, there is going to be a wait I think. Oh no, how will I juggle those two other things I planned to do this morning. All before lunch.  Surprisingly, I knew mostly everyone there, and there was still one chair.

In the greetings and catching up it became clear the doc was perhaps two hours behind. What was rather astounding (and pleasing) was everyone’s attitude. “Oh don’t you know about Fridays. Sometimes the line up goes out onto the sidewalk, even into the parking lot. This guy is so thorough, time doesn’t matter. You just come prepared to come and go, wait, wait some more, get a book, coffee, maybe a meal, and eventually you will be seen. You don’t need a number…..they know when it’s your turn. This is worth a wait, on a Friday. “

Now, living on an island we are used to “waits” – traffic tie ups, motor car accidents, ferry line ups. This was different though as the conversation was engaging, we weren’t in a car; we were in waiting room sharing stories of what’s been happening. Conversation at first, because there is a realtor in our midst, is all about who is moving in or out of your neighbourhood.

Then it gets a bit more risky, some of us thinking it would be good to invent some stories and see how fast it gets around Sooke. We don’t go there. We go many other places but the one thing we are not sharing is WHY we are in the doctor office.

There must be about 12 of us now….sitting down, standing, somewhat like a bakery deli or shoe store, but with no ticket, and another comes in the door.

“How are you Harry?” – Reply is not as cheerful as the question – “well, do I need to answer, I am in a doctors office?”

A woman is knitting squares for an afghan, another is reading, only one is texting, no cell phones, no lap tops. One of  us is searching for cards, going out to the vehicle glove compartment, thinking a kitchen sink kind of bridge game is in order, anther says “no bridge” lets do a simple game…blackjack. Another is selling chocolate bars, these are no ordinary chocolate bars, they are Purdy’s. One patient arrives who is known to play the cello. Wouldn’t it be nice for if her cello is in her car, and we get a cello recital in the waiting room. Not everyone may agree, she doesn’t stay. Rats.

Conversation flits back to gardens. What’s growing, what isn’t?  The weather, brrrr.  I offer to go do a coffee run, and maybe we can eat some of the chocolate now tucked into bags.  I never do get out the door to get the coffee.  Somehow the unspoken belief to drink coffee and eat chocolate in the doctor’s office might be as bad as bringing in the chips from the fast food joints nearby. No one is really sure. After all, the chocolate is the good kind over 70 per cent cocoa.  And really good coffee has less caffeine. Ask the STICK, they will know.

The conversation gets a bit silly. We think that is good to bring down blood pressure for those with white coat syndrome, or would it make it go up? One gentleman has his heart monitor on. Can we spike the monitor with his laughter?  Several of the waitees would like to go to a funeral in the afternoon, someone well known in the community.  They think they might not make it as there are still two or so hours to go for their turn. We suggest we could sell our waiting places or barter them; we should really let Jim get to his buddy’s service. Silence. The idea of bartering your spot in the surgeon’s day is not being embraced. It could be a fund raiser. Nope, still no takers.

A lonely voice pops up… I know now why this place is called the “waiting room.”  It’s more than waiting for your turn, it’s waiting for good news, bad news, worrying news – we are all in this together. And we still haven’t shared why we are there. Good, there are still some boundaries that we all respect. No facebook , blogs in this room, the need to tell all.

I came away from this morning thinking —  hey, Sooke is still a small town, in spite of all the bustle of development and certain inconveniences. The community is about the people, how we connect, or don’t connect and take an ordinary event on a dreary gray day and talk to each other and share some stories and chuckles. I still made it to a late lunch with dear friends, and by leaving the wait room for 30 minutes, knowing I was still four places away for my turn,  looked after the other task I had to do. Thanks Sooke for being such a fine place to live and be.

Phoebe Dunbar

Just Posted

Number of SD62 kindergarten registrations about same as last year

Approximately 850 kindergarten registrations for 2019/2020 school year

Missing: 12-year-old girl last seen in area of Shelbourne and Hillside

Victoria police ask for public help in locating girl

VicPD faces ‘significant pressure’ following Victoria’s 2019 budget decision

Chief Const. Del Manak says council continues to micromanage his department

Work set to begin on removing Sooke’s derelict boats from waterways

Seven boats earmarked to be removed this spring

B.C. researcher says device mimics parent’s touch to help babies cope with pain

Calmer device is a rectangular platform that replaces a mattress inside an incubator

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Wildlife activists slam B.C. business, clubs for ‘wolf-whacking’ contests

Chilcotin Guns, Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club and West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club under fire

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Vancouver Island motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash

Collision took place west of Whiskey Creek; man in his 70s died

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

Most Read