Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mother's wish

Since I have come across a post about giving up seats on a public bus, I decided to post this story. I have done my fare share of whining about rudeness of people on NY subway and how getting a seat while pregnant is not as easy as it should be on my old blog, dedicated mostly to my second pregnancy. However, I never shared this story, and I think it beats all of my previous posts on this topic.

I was blessed with severe morning sickness during one of my pregnancies and on a few occasions had to go to the labor and delivery ER for hydration. During one of those visits, I became quite ill and barely noticed anything around me. When we got to the ER, after a quick glance in my direction,the woman in the registration office waved us to go straight in, asking SubHub to come back at an opportune time and properly register. So we came in and immediately realized that that day was a very busy one for the ER staff. All six seats in the waiting area were taken, and there were several other preggies and their relatives walking around and expecting to be called in. I was lucky enough to get a seat as one woman was taken into the examination room as soon as I walked in, and SubHub left to take care of paper work. Next to me sat a woman in her fifties (I labeled her "mother") with a pregnant "daughter". Neither of them seemed particularly distressed, physically or emotionally, and were chatting away, waiting for their husbands.

A few minutes later a severely pregnant woman came in. There was no seat for her, so she had nothing left to do but to walk around the waiting area. I was a bit peeved that it didn't occur to my neighbor to give up her seat to that patient. But then I thought that I didn't have the full picture, and the middle aged woman might have a bad back or something else preventing her from getting up. At some point an ER nurse came and asked everybody who was not a patient or a "required" help to go wait in another waiting area, right outside of the ER and across from the registration office since space IN the ER was limited and people were blocking the way for gurneys and equipment. Not only the mother didn't leave, she was shortly joined by her husband and son-in-law. They discussed for about 10-15 minutes about who was doing what, and at the end it was decided that the older couple would leave and come back later. I threw a quick glance at a severe preggie who by now was just leaning against the wall right across from me and my neighbors and looking to be in quite a bit of discomfort. I thought to myself, oh great, now she will get a seat.

Not so fast. As the "mother" got up, the "daughter's" hubby promptly occupied her seat and proceeded talking to his wife as if nothing happened. If I weren't borderline fainting, I would have gotten up myself or given the "daughters" husband a piece of my mind. 1) The preggie was standing right across from him 2) I knew that he noticed her 3) For Goodness sake, this was a labor and delivery ER/Admissions, every pregnant woman there was by default either in distress or in labor and WAS TO BE GIVEN PRIORITY IN SEATING. THAT ENTIRE HOSPITAL WING WAS BUILT FOR PREGNANT WOMEN, and those seats weren't for twenty-something year old healthy jerks. Soon afterwards, SubHub came back and I even asked him to intervene and he agreed to. But then both I and the severe preggie were called in, so that was the end of this story.

It happened some time ago, but remembering this episode inevitably makes my blood boil. What is wrong with people? One of my most sincerest wishes and prayers is that I raise my children well enough so that nothing like this would be ever said about them.


  1. She should've asked for the seat. And, call ER personnel for help, if necessary.

  2. While I agree with you, I could see why someone might not have wanted to cause a scene. And truth is, she shouldn't have had to ask.

  3. Assertiveness (or assertiveness training) is what one needs then

  4. Sally, I think you are missing my point. Suggesting assertiveness training to a woman in labor, no matter how much she needs it, is not what this was about. For all I know, she might not have even wanted to sit. The point was that it occurred to no one in the blessed family to offer her (or any other pregnant woman on the floor) a seat that was rightfully hers to begin with.

  5. In these types of situations,I find it much easier to say something if I'm doing it for someone else, not for myself. if that makes any kind of sense

  6. Oops, I guess I posted the reply on a different blog. Oh well. Yeah, I totally agree. When you are doing it for someone else, it's easier to find courage somehow. Makes perfect sense at least in my world...

  7. When I had to take the subway while being pregnant, the only person who got up for me was another pregnant lady (who wasn't as far along as myself).

    The worst display of human heap of crap I've ever seen was when a young, strong looking Hispanic man was sitting comfortably in his subway seat while an old old lady was standing next to him, holding on to a poll. When her elbow accidentally brushed the guy's shoulder, he said very rudely "watch your arm, lady!"

    What I wonder is who raises people like him?


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