Tuesday, 26 May 2015

8 floors in a glass elevator ~ things you hear when you're trying not to listen.

I have never really liked heights; I’m not petrified, but also not the girl you’re going to find hanging from the end of a bungee cord or jumping out of a plane anytime soon. It was pretty evident when riding the glass elevators at Lifehouse, that I am not alone. A high percentage of fellow riders, like me in the beginning, always seemed to gravitate toward the doors so as not to feel like they were standing on the edge of nothingness as the lifts busied themselves between the floors.

As interesting as it was to see people shuffle around so they didn’t have to look out at the great expanse that is the atrium that the lifts nestle into, it was the snippets of conversation that I was unavoidably privy to, and the human interaction in these small spaces that were the most fascinating and every so often a little frightening. Here are just some that I remember…

There was the tall well dressed man with slightly greying hair, but plenty of it for his age, that was discussing a patients diagnosis and possible outcome with who I was guessing was a colleague on the other end. Not something you want to hear when you are there as a visitor.

Then there were the two women from resources that had just finished interviewing for three new nursing positions; of which two were possibilities but the first was a definite no …because they were a no show.

The attractive couple; one with a stethoscope around their neck, that were standing closer than they may have needed to be, as there were only three of us in the elevator that is built for 18 and comfortably fits 6. Although fairly easy going, even I was starting to feel awkward for being there as their noses almost touched when she leaned in closer to intently listen to what he was saying. Work romances, very exciting I’m sure...but not always a good idea.

The young woman that looked like she was ready to burst into tears as she said into the phone that I think she may have been ready to throw at the glass elevator wall, “ How can you do that to me? What sort of person does that? What sort of person are you?” Exiting very quickly when the doors opened, before I could offer any help.

The man that quite loudly and in a very matter of fact manner was discussing with the woman with him how young patients rarely fared as well as the older ones when it came to cancer! Are you shitting me; I obviously don’t look like a doctor or nurse, I’m in a cancer hospital so there is a great possibility I am a patients family member, worse still imagine if there had been a patient present. As the doors opened and the pair got out I was left frantically wondering where my husband stood in that equation, young or old! Young or old!

And then there was the team of four men with clip boards that were discussing the lack of digital emergency call displays, and how if they aren’t installed it’s a liability. “Were they talking about this hospital?…because I only heard 30 seconds of the conversation and my husband is on ward 8!”


So here is my small piece of wisdom, passed on freely for anyone tempted to continue a conversation in an elevator with a stranger present. I can hear you. It is not a cone of silence, I can hear what you are saying and if you are in a hospital you may be accidentally scaring the crap out of me. If you are the stranger in the elevator and it has glass walls, step close to the edge press your forehead against the glass and look down…that will at least give you something else to think about.

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