I remember when they put the chairs in the hall.
Word was, they were only going to be there until the chemo infusion room remodel was completed. With all of that construction, the waiting room was filled with equipment and building supplies, so there wasn’t much space left for the people waiting for their chemo that day, or for their caregivers along for treatment day.
So we waited in the hall. The overflow was huge. So many people waiting with the hope that this chemo drip would be the one to chase away the cancer.
That was a few years ago. The new infusion waiting room came out nicely. The chairs were more comfortable. The big screen TV added some distraction and there was just more space, so you didn’t feel like you were sitting on top of anyone.
But the chairs are still out in the hall. When I walked by there today, one man was staring out into space. His newspaper had fallen in folds on his lap. I don’t think he even felt it. He was so lost in his thoughts with sad eyes and not a trace of a grin. I couldn’t read his mind, but if I had to guess, he was wondering what the next step would be for a loved one getting treatment inside the infusion room. Maybe he was wondering, “Is it working?” “Is that chemotherapy doing anything to kill that cancer?”
Sitting next to him, was a woman with no newspaper, no book, only her hands holding her head: sadness hiding inside ten fingers.
Inside the waiting room, there were plenty of empty chairs, so these caregivers made the choice to sit in the hall. There was more room for their feelings out there.
The chairs in the hall give a mind a chance to breathe.