Through the Chair to ?

June 4, 2009 at 12:05 am 7 comments

by Loraine Ritchey

chairs Source

Insignificant things – empty waiting room chairs- we pass them every day in one area of our lives or another; we don’t give them much thought unless you are in need of one.

The Cleveland Clinic has such chairs in all shapes and sizes and styles.
cleveland clinic SOURCE

They are found in common areas , as you come off of the elevators, in the test facilities.
Waiting%20room Taussig Center (SOURCE)

I seem to have sat in a great many of them in the past year. I have waited for good news and bad, read a little and sometimes had sustenance and then moved on to another chair , my heartache and hope going with me. For a brief moment in time a chair gave some comfort and held my tormented body and soul as best it could in the “worry rooms”.

Each day, as I made my way through the clinic to the Bone Marrow Transplant Center, I would pass one of the “chairs” upon which I had previously waited, serving as a reminder of the chapters and timelines of Cancer. As I passed there was usually someone sitting waiting, as I had done, – for what I wondered?

As I walked past thoughts would come “What news would they be receiving?” , “Why were they there?” Sometimes a brief smile would flicker across a face, an hello, a brief moment of communication in passing .

Sometimes, those that now occupied the chairs would tell their story- I never knew their names, who they really were , who sat in the chairs, we just shared a moment , reaching out , needing to say the words out loud, to be listened to for just a little while.

There was the mother whose daughter had had 19 holes drilled in her head, and had 213 leads attached. She would be going home for a week before another surgery .

The Grandfather, from Tennessee waiting for his grandson to recover ,who for three weeks had sat watching as his 21 year old grandson (who now weighed just103 lbs) as he recovered from a bowel operation and regained his strength. Would this last operation make his grandson whole again?

The daughter waiting for news of her father, the young mother waiting for the results of her twins. The wife- distraught over medical bills, fighting for her husband’s life.

They all sat in those self same chairs, not looking at anything really – lost – as I had been – in some parallel universe of uncertainty , grounded by something as simple as a chair.

I probably will never know what happened to my fellow travelers – will their news be good or bad, success or failure?

And the chairs wait– for the next story , the next person , the next “hope” – silent – as the prayers of their occupants

clinic chair PHOTO “The Waiting Room” -The Family Waiting Room at the Cleveland Clinic taken through frosted glass. View On Black PAUL CSIZMADIA

Note :in searching the web for a photo I came across the above by a young man PAUL CSIZMADIA- trying to contact him for permission to use his photo I was surprised to read his profile:

“I’m a 21 year old aspiring photographer from Lorain, OH.

My dad is P.Csizmadia
and he helped get me into photography. I am also currently enrolled with the New York Institute of Photography’s professional studies program.

Normally , I would not have tried through a Flickr upload , to contact the photographer, it takes some effort and waiting and I don’t usually have the time.

However, seeing as this ( of all the photos on the web that suited my post ) was taken by a young man from Lorain and knowing some of his Flickr friends as well as the fact the Chronicle Telegram had also used photos by P. Csizmadia

I thought therefore I would go the extra mile and I would try and contact him. Thanks to the Chronicle and also to the Flickr Friends and Paul’s Dad for all the information.

NOTE: another story from the “waiting room” with the chair as a common denominator.


Entry filed under: Brit take, health, medical.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. family manager  |  June 4, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I love reading your blog, and have been traveling with you and your family through your triumphs and trials. Praying along the way – this particular blog hits home as we too are starting a cancer journey sitting in chairs waiting. I am a daughter waiting with my mother in hopes of good news regarding my father. Unfortunately, we have only gotten bad new thus far. Cancer is such an ugly word/disease. May God Bless you and your family!
    PS I used my psuedoname because my father is very private and doesn’t want anyone to know what he is going through yet. He is still in denial.

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  June 4, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    If there is any help I can give you can reach me through – a trouble shared….Loraine

  • 3. Paula  |  June 4, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I’ll offer “our” assistance as well Family Manager, love the title, been there…. still there.

    The pictures of the chairs in the worry room…. never saw an empty one when we were going, in fact as time went on they seemed to multiply, very sad.

    As well all know it helps to know/have someone that’s been there, they seem to emphathize/understand.

    No one should ever hesitate to reach out, it’s good for both sides of the friendship.

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  June 4, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Yes Paula I agree just when you think you are at the lowest ebb you realize others are going through their own hell and you hope to hope as Denise would say

  • 5. Clinic – Chairs- Cells « That Woman’s Weblog  |  June 30, 2009 at 11:34 am

    […] always brings some dialogue with my fellow chair travellers. In one case it was from a woman who was just starting the journey we are hopefully finishing- she […]

  • […] I have had too much time to think waiting in hospitals and chairs lately. I do know that I read two books whilst in the transplant center last month and I have […]

  • […] , not to be back in this place of hope and death. We turned the corner and there it was the “waiting room” that same damned waiting room where just one year ago I had sat waiting for other scans and tests , […]

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