An uncharacteristically disorganized and irritating follow-up visit with the neurosurgeon for the boys made for a very cranky mother today. Misplaced discs with MRI scans, missing physician orders for lab draws, and startlingly stupid questions from a social worker are just a few of the things that pushed my patience to (over) the brink. These visits are always accompanied by fear, anxiety and stress, but typically, the efficiency and professionalism of our caregivers instills some confidence and sense of control over the uncontrollable. But for whatever reason, with the exception of our incomparable surgeon, it just wasn’t happening today.
So between mishaps, I retreated to the lone piece of reading material I brought with me.
The book’s Exploration #1: Right where you are sitting.
“Write ten things about where you are sitting right now that you hadn’t noticed when you sat down. Use your senses. Do it quickly. Do not censor. Okay, begin.”
Begin I did, pushing my frustrations to the side. From my exam room chair, I noticed:
1. In five years of coming here, I’ve never been in this exam room before.
2. The bead toy on the wall is actually a face.
3. The chairs are all different colors – and so are the tiles on the floor.
4. The “transparent” wallpaper border seam doesn’t blend with the wall.
5. I’m guessing the laminated “no diapers please” sign above the trash can is placed on the wall due to a bad experience.
6. I’ve never seen anyone use the exam room computers.
7. Apparently I’m the only person in the world without netflix, as confirmed by the care coordinators chatting outside the door.
8. My kid has a great laugh.
9. Why is the alcohol foam dispenser next to the sink and soap dispenser? Why wouldn’t they put it by the door?
10. A child’s voice still sounds like a child’s voice even through exam room walls.
(That’s Tanner taking a nap. The room is shaped funny.)
“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something – because it is always before one’s eyes.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
The exercise didn’t remove the day’s irritations or inconveniences, but it provided just enough of a distraction to break the momentum of negativity — giving my blood a chance to return to a slight simmer instead of a full boil. We made it through the rest of the day and ultimately took home a very good report for both kids. It was a bumpy path, but we got there. And that’s all that matters. I’m grateful for the results and happy to have found a new exercise in awareness. What a nice little tool to have.