Don't be alarmed but I spent last night in the Emergency Room*. It won't surprise you to hear that they continue to be horrible nightmare places.
One woman had been there for 9 hours when we walked in and had yet to be treated. She was crying her eyes out and dizzy with 'is this real life? will i ever leave this room?' kind of existential despair. It did not bode well for the rest of the visit.
Because few things are treated like emergencies in emergency room, you're left waiting for hours for any kind of human interaction let alone problem solving. Your mind has plenty of time to wander (harmless and unavoidable) and horribilize (harmful and likely when you're in pain). I kept thinking of Thelma Ritter's "Clancy" . Sometimes all you need is someone to hear your out, put a hand on your shoulder, and talk you through it. Someone to fetch a distracted doctor with a prescription pad at least. Nobody was doing that!!! Every hospital needs a Thelma Ritter. Thirty of them, even, but they're in short supply.
Live this truth. Be your best Thelma Ritter for a loved one who needs you this week. Offer a firm kind hand and listening ear. When needed set your internal timer to redirect their self-pity if it gets out of hand. Be that steadying Supporting presence. You won't win an Oscar for it, true, but public adulation isn't everything. Private gratitude is also golden.
*I am fine. As you may have figured, I was playing the poor man's Thelma Ritter role in this scenario. It's harder than it looks!