Automatic sliding doors, beat-up chairs (filled with people who have: broken limbs, cuts, red noses, bruising, scrapes, holding garbage bins to throw up in, are wearing surgical masks, are crying, have been beaten, are holding onto the person next to them for support, reading magazines, books, clutching at purses or holding tight to jackets slung over an arm, leaning back in their chair asleep), overflowing garbage bins, half finished coffee containers, piles of newspapers and magazines, nurses, orderlies, janitorial staff, dividing curtain for people with airborne illness or contagious diseases, glassed in admitting area, glassed in reception area, nearby bathroom, vending machine, signs to other hospital areas, stretchers zooming past with paramedics, blood pressure monitor stand near the ER, sliding doors to the ER, doctors in scrubs and white coats passing through the area, people in wheelchairs, intoxicated people, worried parents and friends, small children huddled in parents arms, kids playing handhelds or listening to ipods, Cabbies coming in for pick ups, wristbands on patients waiting to see a doctor, ice packs, bandages, stethoscopes hung around necks, people whispering, security personnel, police officers, hand sanitizing stations
Whispering, crying, uneven or distressed breathing, the sound of someone throwing up, moaning, groaning, whimpering, pleasing, praying, newspapers rattling, arguing, magazine pages flipping, the papery slide of a book page being turned, the pop and fizz of a pop can being opened, the rattle of candy and chip wrappers, glass doors sliding open and shut, names being called to admitting and the front desk, security and paging over intercoms, static-y police & security radios, the calming voice of a nurse, the rustle of paperwork, pens clicking on to fill something out, people talking on cels, footsteps pacing, swearing, drunken slurring, coins clinking in the vending machine, the thunk of a candy bar or pop hitting the tray, sirens, squeaky wheel on a crash cart or stretcher zooming past
Antiseptic, cleaning products, hand sanitizer, vomit, BO, sweat, booze breath, coffee, taco chips, perfume, hair products, cough drops, air conditioned & filtered air
Coffee in a container, pop, juice and water from a container, snack foods from a vending machine, mints, gum, nicorette. Most people try hard not to eat in the waiting room because of the risk of exposure to airborne and surface contaminants.
Thin padded or plastic seats offering little comfort or room, metal arm rails digging into forearms, making oneself ‘small’ and holding self straight to avoid touching those to either side, twisting the admittance band on wrist, rolling shoulders, crossing and recrossing legs, cracking knuckles, glancing around, standing up to pace, walking over to browse the vending machine, digging in pocket or purse for change, the cold, dewy bottle of water against the palm or warmth seeping out a Styrofoam coffee container, flipping through a magazine or paper, checking watch or phone for time, texting, scrolling through iPod, going out into the lobby or heading down the hall to find a cafe/gift shop/cafeteria, talking quietly on the phone, pulling tissues from a tissue box, tapping foot impatiently, twisting hands together, fiddling with purse straps, buttons on a coat, twisting a wedding band, rubbing eyes, pinching bridge of the nose, rubbing arms and shaking self in an attempt to stay awake, leaning back against the wall and dozing, fanning self with a magazine, tapping a magazine against the leg, standing in line at the reception to check on a patient being seen by doctors, trading encouraging smiles with others who are waiting, or initiating small talk to make the time go by faster, blowing nose, wiping at tears, getting up to use a washroom or put hand sanitizer on
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
I stared down at my hands, twisting and knotting them as if doing so would hold back the turmoil inside me. Despair roamed the room, expelled on the breath of worriers like me and those doing their best to bite down on the pain that brought them here.
Hannah sagged in my arms, her feverish warmth making me wish I’d taken my coat off before she’d fallen asleep. I pushed a clump of damp blond hair off her flushed cheek and she moaned softly, a sound common enough that no one else in the waiting area even looked up.
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile)
After the symphony of coughing, hacking and wheezing that greeted Becky in the ER waiting room, she found the closest antibacterial hand dispenser and starting working it like a gambling addict hitting up a VLT machine.
Example 2: (Metaphor)
During Rick’s six hour stint in the ER waiting room on Saturday night he learned two important things: first, all the crazies really did come out after midnight. And second, there was a very good reason for the plexiglass fortress that surrounded the receptopn desk, and for the armed guard standing in front of it.
About ANGELA ACKERMANAngela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
View all posts by ANGELA ACKERMAN →
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
The Waiting Room Essay
Peter Nicks and William Hirsch’s 2012 documentary film, The Waiting Room, follows the lives of patients, doctors, and staff in a hospital in California. The hospital is a safety net hospital meaning that it provides care to low-income, uninsured populations. The documentary examines the obstacles faced by people who live without healthcare in addition to showing the public what goes in a safety net hospital. The Waiting Room fits into the finger categories of government and politics and science and technology. The most relevant category is government and politics. Healthcare and insurance have played large roles in the government for years. In fact, ObamaCare, the president’s plan for health care reform was one of the root causes of the 2013 government shutdown. This draws attention to just how large and important the congressional healthcare debate truly is. The documentary also fits under the finger category of science and technology. The Waiting Room discusses the technological and scientific innovations found in today’s hospitals. Additionally, it references some of the new methods being used to treat diseases that are prevalent in society. This is particularly significant because these new technologies and treatment methods are being used to save lives every day. The implications of the Waiting Room and safety net hospitals are not limited to finger categories; they are evident in tens of thousands of hospitals throughout the world.
The influence of safety net hospitals is seen largely throughout our local community and state. Attending a Title I school (a school where forty percent or more of the students come from low-income families) myself, I am very familiar with people who live under the poverty line and the struggles they face on a day to day basis. Additionally, I personally know many students who come from very low-income families that heavily rely on government welfare. Some students cannot remember the last time that they saw a doctor. Others have been extremely ill and still been stuck with over-the-counter medications. This is because their families do not have healthcare, so they cannot afford to see a doctor, nor afford a prescription if a doctor was to prescribe one. Safety net hospitals are meant to solve this problem by providing for those who live below the poverty line. There are twenty one of these hospitals in Florida, ten of which are located in South Florida. However, there are no safety net hospitals in Palm Beach County compared to six in Miami-Dade County. This can be explained by the fact that only fourteen percent of the Palm Beach County residents live below the poverty line compared to twenty percent of Miami-Dade County residents. This is significant and causes one to question the state-level healthcare system. Although “only” fourteen percent of people live below the poverty line in Palm Beach County, that is still a very large number; over two-hundred-thousand people to be exact. How can those...
Loading: Checking Spelling0%