Thursday, December 19, 2013

Self Absorbed Woman

You sit waiting to be called in for your turn at the surgery center. You have not eaten in more than 24 hours. You need to keep getting up to use the bathroom because that just keeps happening even though you are sure there could not possibly be anything else in there. Half the people in the waiting area are sharing the experience with you today as they, too, are there for a colonoscopy. The other half of the people in the room are the designated caregivers - those people who drove us to the procedure and will take us home afterwards. In this center the caregiver MUST remain on site the entire time. They cannot leave and pick you up. There is coffee available for the caregivers but not has broken ranks and gone for a cup. They are all in solidarity with their hungry loved ones.

Enter the Self Absorbed Woman (SAW). She is both noisy and flashy. She is slender, well proportioned and dressed casually, but with lots of jewelry and accessories (purse with scarf swag). It is all about her - and just so you have the correct vision of SAW she was the caregiver, not the patient. Saw is a woman in her late 40's who is there with her husband and son (the patient). He is mid-20s. Saw is not all happy that they will not take her son immediately. She has a tennis game later and has to get her nails done. SAW sits in a chair right by the door into the surgical waiting area to make sure they do not forget about her (her son and her husband are obviously trying to sit quietly and be unobtrusive). SAW is the attention squeaky wheel in this family.

Saw sends her husband back out to the car. He returns and hands her a bag and walks away. SAW opens the bag and pulls out a doughnut followed by a danish. She eats them with gusto, smacking her lips and licking her fingers after each bite. More than half the people in the waiting room are staring at her. I am watching the people staring at her. I think that if I call for a flash mob to trample SAW we will have a stampede just from the people in this room.

Her husband whispers something to her about consideration for their son, who has not been able to eat. She shrugs. Husband looks embarrassed. I text a friend and tell her I feel like slapping SAW. My friend texts back that she supports my decision to beat SAW senseless. Luckily they call me in next.

Murder averted.



Laura said...


That's what me and my sister say all the time. We know what the other on is thinking once we make eye contact and just quietly say "wow".

I would have sent money for the bail if you decided to haul off and beat the donut out of this woman's mouth.

PJ Geek said...

I'm the quiet sort, but occasionally I get a bit of the beyatch in me. I think I might have had to make an out loud comment about donut whores.

Vickie said...

She does sound self absorbed, not arguing.

Adding, there have been times that I have said and done things which a stranger watching me would not have understood, that were ANXIETY RELATED. In other words, it was me, wrapped/buried in anxiety. The real me was not showing. Anxiety so high that I didn't really even know what I was saying/doing.

HappinessSavouredHot (Julie Saint-Mleux) said...


I have no other word.

Jane Cartelli said...

Vickie - Thank you. I appreciate the suggestion this woman could have been acting out due to her anxiety. It is very hard to live in someone else's shoes, sometimes even for a few minutes, but by doing so we can gain understanding and perhaps even compassion. Perhaps if she were not enjoying her food so much or if there had been anything in her eyes that suggested struggle. . .
Alas, what is important here is that I am willing to see that another interpretation of this woman is plausible and therefore it does help me to let go of wanting to thrash her with the waiting room magazines.

Karen said...

I've seen some strange things in the waiting areas of hospitals. They train health care workers in evasive maneuvers if the visitors/patients go off the deep end.

There was a wall outside the Adult intensive care (large regional trauma center) that had a hole or recent hole repair, where someone punched the wall- usually a male. I've had to run (not walk) from the craziness more than once and call security.

I think I would have asked the nurse/admin to ask the woman to eat outside the waiting area by slipping the person managing the room a note. Even if the eater had said no, I would have felt like I had set a boundary for myself/family. A little less self stew, but it sure is aggravating to try to center after that happens.I often provide feed back to the suggestion box at the medical center, knowing that they all get read.

There is a ton of competition for insurance dollar these days- so customer service is getting a bit better in health care where they are going over the top to please. Not all places are like this, but I've learned how to leverage the places that are.

I remember my Mom and I both wanting to just spew at people in the waiting room who were complaining about minor issues when my dad was getting a brain biopsy and the news that he either had a brain tumor (to find out later he had MS). I had gotten some hospital training by this point so I had the sense to pull her out if she got to agitated. I was only 20 at the time.

I'm SURE that I binge ate afterwards. I can't remember specifics, but I remember my age and I would have soothed with food.

Great topic, as usual, Jane!

E. Jane said...

Glad your procedure turn out okay. Having such tests is always so anxiety provoking for me that I seem to tune out what else is going on. You're wise to take care of your health. Happy Holidays to you and yours...

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

I know exactly the scenario you are describing! I'm always amazed at some of the behaviors people exhibit in waiting rooms.

Good for you on getting the procedure done and that it all turned out well!

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

I know exactly the scenario you are describing! I'm always amazed at some of the behaviors people exhibit in waiting rooms.

Good for you on getting the procedure done and that it all turned out well!

Maren said...

Haha wow. Some people really live in their own little worlds huh. You described this so vividly I felt angry at her myself!

Hope the procedure went well (as well as it can go!)