A few weeks ago, I visited a dear friend who was in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital in her hometown. After lengthy and difficult travel most of the day, my husband and I finally arrived at the hospital around 10:00 pm. Because it was after hours, I had to submit my driver’s license at the security desk to get a security pass, go to the elevator and use the security pass to get access to it, wait for the elevator to arrive and go to the appropriate floor. The elevator opens to reveal a receptionist desk not more than 12 feet to my left and a large waiting area past the desk. As I walk up to the desk to get further access into the ICU and my friend’s room, a young adult female, I’m guessing in her early 20’s, standing to the side of the desk announces to me, my husband and the receptionist that she wants to get on the elevator, push every floor button and ride the elevator up and down for an undetermined period of time. I did something so uncharacteristic that my husband did a doubletake. I calmly, and with a deadpan expression, looked at her and said, “Don’t be a pain in the ass. This isn’t about what you want.”
My reaction was based on an immediate understanding of how this “play” could negatively affect people getting to the ICU at a time they were already stressed. If I had been on the elevator when it hit every floor as the seconds ticked by merely to amuse this bored woman, I would have been very irritated and distressed. I am on my way to possibly say “good bye” to someone who is teetering on the brink of death and the last thing I need is to be a passenger on someone else’s elevator joy rides delaying my arrival even more. 0211-13
Stress and grief make people say stupid things. I would have been sorely tempted to have said the same thing to her as well.