Life is pretty much a waiting game

Life is pretty much a waiting game By Bob Karolevitz (Written in a hospital bed, this is Bob's 836th consecutive, unduplicated weekly column.)

When you stop to think of it, we waste a lot of valuable hours in our lives just waiting.

We wait to be diapered and burped.

We wait for the acne to disappear and for our first driver's license.

We wait for our final test grades to come in and for what seemed like an interminably long commencement address before we can walk across the stage for our diploma.

Through the years we've all had to wait in checkout lines, at barber and beauty shops, for the Thanksgiving turkey to get done, to cast our ballot and to mail a Christmas package at the post office.

But the worst kind of waiting is at the medical clinic and the hospital.

Waiting for the verdict from the gastroenterologist's report after you've drunk a gallon of sludge and suffered several indecencies is a time of apprehension, to say the least. Then, when the negative news is delivered, you have to wait for surgery to be scheduled.

(We were lucky because events moved swiftly, and the doctors responded with great speed.)

When you're anesthetically out of it, the wait in the recovery room goes pretty much unremembered; others have had to pace the floor for you. At last in your technologically versatile Stryker bed, sometimes you wait for a nurse to answer your call, but you soon learn they are busy people who can't always jump.

Next comes the wait for the pathology report and the followup regimen. Finally there are the days of waiting for the first solid food and the eventual good news that "you can go home now."

Those of us who have had military service know what it's like to "hurry up and wait." We've stood in pay lines, mess lines, short-arm inspection lines and PX lines. We've hurried to assembly points, and then waited and waited for the order to move out.

Waiters are called waiters because you usually have to wait for them to bring the menus, your food and the bill.

There are songs about waiting, like "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie," "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee" and "I Wonder Why you Keep Me Waiting, Charmaine."

During the Great Depression of the Dirty Thirties, men waited in bread lines and in lines seeking WPA employment. Their families stood in lines for government commodities, and we all waited for the rains to come.

Wait for Mommy. Wait your turn. Wait till the light changes. Wait till you're old enough. We've all heard these expressions many times.

So when it comes right down to it, I guess, life is pretty much a waiting game. Sometimes we even have to wait in vain, and it makes you wonder what is waiting for you around the next corner.

© Robert F. Karolevitz

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