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Time In The SNICU Waiting Room

SNICU= Surgical Neurological Intensive Care Unit

It’s amazing how fast time flies in the SNICU.  We don’t have limitations on how much time we can spend with Dad or how often we see him, so we can be back there as much as we want. However, it’s hard to be back there as much as we want because the nurses are always doing something in his room it seems.  It’s hard to find alone time with him back there so we do a lot of sitting here in the SNICU Waiting Room.

So, like I said, time seems to really fly sitting in here.  All of a sudden it’ll be 11:00, next thing you know it’s 4:00 in the afternoon.  And then your start to feel really tired and realize it’s already 8:30.

There are always people coming in and out so lots of people watching to do.  There are no TV’s in the actual seating area (there’s a ‘kitchen’ that has one in it).  That’s not a bad thing – can you imagine having to watch something you despise because it’s been turned on and you have no other choice? 

Sometimes it’s noisy in here, depends on the different families you have in here.  It’s amazing how, the first night in here, we felt so shell shocked and scared and didn’t know how it all worked.  We tried to be quiet so as not to disturb other families.  By day 2 we had set up camp in ‘our’ area, had a ton of family coming in and were finally able to laugh with them a little, be more normal.  And now we’re regulars in here with ‘our’ area and we’ve gotten to know some of the other families and their stories.  The poor gal who was crying so hard that I mentioned in my last post is now my SNICU ‘friend’.  She’s from Green Bay and her poor brother, age 37, stopped taking his blood pressure medicine.  He ended up having a sort of stroke and is in here.  He’s doing fairly well, can communicate with writing a little.  She’s heading home to GB today, I’m going to miss her. 

You get attached to some of these familiar faces.  You may not know why they are here, may not talk to them, but having this horror in common links us to each other.

I try to make sure to smile or say hi to the familiar faces, hoping it gives them a little bit of sunshine on their cloudy day.

When you see a family come in carrying a UIHC plastic draw sting bag you know they are just starting their journey.  This bag is what the patient’s ‘personal effects’ are put in when they come in to the ER and it is given to the family. I hate that term, personal effects.  Isn’t that what they give a family when someone dies on a TV show?  How about just “Here are their belongings”?  Sounds like they are still there with you.  So in walks this poor, scared family with their bag of personal effects, and they have no idea what they are in for.  Eventually they find their ‘spot’ and get settled in for this journey they were thrust into. 

Going through this makes you finally understand wholly what those other’s were talking about when telling their experience of being in an ICU with their loved one.  I’ve always felt the compassion for those people, always wished I could take their pain away but now I really  understand just how it feels.  I think of Lora with her sweet baby Harper.  I think of the family I heard about on the news who is sitting in a waiting room somewhere after their loved one was in a terrible accident.  I think of the family who’s scared to death, sitting, waiting, while their loved one battles cancer.  I get it.  I understand.  And it’s horrible.  There are so many things I’d do if it meant this all just went away and we were back to normal.  But I can’t do that.  I wish I could do that. I wish with all my might.  I just don’t understand this.  Why do we have to suffer through this?  My dad has never done anything in his life to deserve this, so why?  Another why in my life that will never be answered.  Another why that I will constantly question for the rest of my life and never get answered.

The sun is shining today, although here in the SNICU you can’t see it.  It’s a new day, but a day that we will never fully experience because we are here, in the SNICU.  Yes, time flies here but it’s not time that you are enjoying and living.  Sitting here doing nothing would drive my dad absolutely nuts.  He wouldn’t want us sitting here ‘wasting’ these days, especially today, the first 40 degree, sunshiny day we’ve had in weeks.  What would Dad be doing today?  He’d be outside working on the farm, tinkering around, maybe bring the sheep home from the West Farm to the main farm to get them ready for lambing next month.  He wouldn’t be sitting around wasting this beautiful day.  But now he is laying in a bed, not even aware of how gorgeous today is going to be. 

Today I am going home for the first time in 4 days.  It will be extremely hard to leave.  What if he wakes up when I’m not here and I miss it?  What if something scary happens and I’m not here for my mom?  The walls of our home, my safe place, will feel like they are closing in on me.  It’ll feel like a vice.  No school for my boys tomorrow so we will spend the day together, that will be good for the three of us.  But will I really be there? Be present with them?  I know I can’t neglect my boys, my dad would be so mad about that, but how do I just walk away from here?  Besides Andy and the boys my dad is my most favorite person on the earth, the person I love the most, the person I want to be with the most.  How do I just abandon him?  And my poor mom, she still  needs so much support, what if people stop coming to see her and she has to be here alone?  This is so much harder in so many different ways than I could have ever imagined. 

I hope none of you ever EVER have to experience this.  Please continue to say prayers for my dad.  It would be so great if he could just wake up.


P.S.  I’m not going back through this to re-read it and proof it, I apologize for any confusing areas and typos, it’ll be too hard to read it right now.  Thanks for understanding.


  1. Thinking of you friend. Still praying!

  2. My heart is aching for you! While I'm over joyed to hear that dad opened his eyes and is showing some emotion to things, I wish things weren't this way. I pray for your dad and family many many times a day. I wake up thinking about all of you and fall asleep praying. Try and enjoy your day with the boys tomorrow! {{HUGS}}

  3. Erin I've been thinking about you and your family so much lately. I just want to let you know that you are so strong and such a great daughter. Your dad would be happy that you are headed home for a bit to take care of your family. You are such a caring person and I know if the rest of your family is like you your mom will never be alone in the waiting room. I'm glad he is making some progress.
    Please take care of yourself and try not to stress too much. Please remember you have so many prayers for your father. We all are here for you love!

  4. Oh Erin! I just decided to check in on you and I'm so sad to hear about your dad. This is not the hospital visit I was hoping to read about on your blog! I really hope your dad recovers quickly and smoothly. I'll definitely keep him and your family in my prayers.

  5. My heart breaks for you and your family.
    Sending hugs and prayers, friend.

  6. So sorry for what you are going through Erin. Prayers continue!

  7. Oh Erin, such a beautiful post. About understanding what others are going though.and never think you're abandoning your dad. You need to be home right now. Your dad would understand, and you'll be with him again very soon!! Hugs my dear friend!