A New Place

corridorEveryone has been to a new place, a college campus, a large mall, or a large building where you didn’t know your way around or how to get to where you want to be.

I knew how to get to my daughter’s hospital room from the hospital admitting office as that was the way I went the first time. After that, it all became very puzzling and confusing, like a cornfield maze.

There were corridors this way and halls that way, corners that stopped at locked doors and signs that said “no admission.” Even when I knew exactly where I was going, I didn’t always end up there.

There were at least four parking garages, and probably more that I have not found. The first time I went there I found myself in a parking lot reserved for doctors. Around the corner, I found the entrance to the parking garage. It was plastered with signs that said “no visitor parking.” I parked there anyhow as it was the only garage I knew.

After I parked, I followed the signs that said “hospital entrance” across a bridge. I came in on the second floor of the hospital, which is the first floor of the garage. The admitting office is on the first floor of the hospital, but you could not get there from this area of the second floor, so I had to find an elevator down to the first floor.

From the first floor, I was directed to the waiting room on the fifth floor via elevator B. I’m still not certain how I got there. I was afraid I might never find my daughter as I had no earthly idea where anything was at this point and was feeling a little dizzy.

From the fifth floor, I went up to the sixth where her room was. That was easy. Except the only way I knew to get back to the parking garage and my car was from first floor where I could get on elevator A to go to the second floor where the exit to the parking garage was found.

On day two, I parked on level four of the garage as level one was full. Since the entrance to the hospital was on level one, I had to take the garage elevator down to level one and enter the hospital on the second floor close to elevator A. But it is elevator B that goes to the sixth floor as well as to the cafeteria on the first floor in case you have to stop for nourishment while wandering around looking for elevators.

It seems that new wings had been added through the years as the hospital grew. Eventually, it became a conglomeration of old sections, new wings, additions, subtractions, divisions, multiplications and a bit of geometry. None of the floors for difference sections seem to match up with each other. Everyone else seemed to know exactly where they were going and rushed by like they were late for an appointment.

There has to be a better way, I decided, after taking elevator B down to the first floor, where I got on elevator A to the second floor, and exited to level one of the parking garage where I caught the garage elevator to the fourth floor. If the car would have been missing, I wouldn’t know whether it was stolen or if I was on the wrong level.

Then I found out that I could park in a different garage for visitors and take a crosswalk to the hospital from level three of the garage to level two of the hospital. I would come out at elevator B, which I could take to sixth floor. If I followed the signs and didn’t go to the wrong wing, I could find my daughter’s room close to the nurses’ station or at the end of the rainbow, whichever came first.

I’m telling you, parking gets more complicated every day. At this rate I will be in the hospital myself soon, mumbling incoherently about alphabetical elevators to nowhere.

Copyright 2009 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
This entry was posted in Health, Humor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A New Place

  1. drooger says:

    I enjoyed your hospital story. May I be so bold to share a story I wrote a few years ago about the same dilemma? It’s called The Hospital Tour

    Gay Lynn got a call. Her oldest brother, Myron, had gone head over teakettle on his moped and was in the hospital about to undergo emergency surgery. Because everything turned out well I can write this story.
    I got home from work around eight. Gay Lynn came later. “I’ve got some bad news,” she said, slumping against the wall in the hallway. She had just returned from watching her daughters play softball. I thought perhaps our vehicle’s windshield had been smashed by a foul ball. It was worse than that.
    Myron had hit a pothole with his moped and he lost the battle with the ground he landed on. He had broken his collarbone, cracked some ribs, and had bleeding on the brain. “Will you go with me to Sioux Falls?” Gay Lynn asked as I sat down in my recliner with a bowl of ice cream. I wolfed down my ice cream, getting an ice cream headache before putting my shoes back on so we could go to Sanford Hospital.
    We parked on the north side of the hospital, walked past the Sanford statue, and entered the lobby where we were greeted by a security guard. “May I help you?” he politely asked. Her sister had told Gay Lynn we needed to find the surgical tower. “We need the surgical tower,” Gay Lynn told the security guard. “It’s quite far. Do you want to drive or walk?” the guard asked. He wasn’t kidding when he said it was far. He gave us directions, most of which I forgot before I had taken one step. We proceeded to the tower. “Did you get all of that?” Gay Lynn asked as we started to walk away. Once I figured we were out of the guard’s earshot I said, “No, got confused after the first fifteen turns. But we’ll just head in the direction he pointed.” Sanford Hospital, we discovered, is one really big place, covering a large portion of Sioux Falls.
    We took the elevator up a floor, headed west, took a flight of stairs down a level, headed south, looped around the Empire Mall, and saw the lights of Wild Water West. We happened upon a little old man who trying to read a sign in the hallway through his pop bottle lens glasses. “Can you tell us where the surgical tower is?” Gay Lynn asked. “Nope,” he replied bluntly. “Got troubles of my own. Been here since the fall of ‘75. Each time I think I’m near an exit they build a chunk on.”
    We stopped for a break at the 10-mile marker, called Gay Lynn’s sister to tell her we were getting close (at least we thought we were getting close), and then got back in the elevator.
    We went up two floors, stopped for a midnight snack at the McDonald’s on Minnesota Avenue, watched the airplanes land at the airport, and then took the stairs down three levels. Gay Lynn’s sister called. “Where are you guys? Myron is about to come out of surgery.” Gay Lynn covered the phone with her hand and asked me if I knew where we were for sure. “Tell her we just passed the airport and now I can see Canaries Park. We’ll be there soon.”
    We got in the elevator and went up a floor. When we got out we saw Gloria waving at us. Was it actually Gloria or a mirage? We had been walking for quite some time and had become somewhat delusional.
    Thankfully, surgery had gone well although Myron’s wife, Judy, was somewhat disappointed. She was hoping that since they had done surgery anyway, maybe they could tweak the part of his brain that controls the desire to do housework. Unfortunately the doctor that specializes in housework brain tweaking was busy altering another patient and couldn’t be bothered.
    We stayed until Myron was out of surgery. A nurse led us to another waiting room. “Follow me,” she instructed with a wave of her hand. “Here we go again,” I whispered to Gay Lynn. The nurse led us down the hall to the north. Then we turned east. We went up a floor and looped around the Statue of David. Good thing we were on his backside. We went down two floors, waved at the inmates at the State Pen, and finally found Myron in the recovery room. He looked pretty tough and felt even worse.
    Then it was time to find our car. We retreated following the cotton balls I had dropped.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sheila Moss says:

      Ha, ha, very funny piece! Guess hospitals are all pretty much the same. We have a number of large hospitals in Nashville, and they are all awful. This one is St. Thomas Midtown, formerly Baptist. A big corp. bought up a bunch of hospitals in town and named them all St. Thomas, as if things were not already confusing enough. Now you not only can’t find a room, you can’t even find the right hospital.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. cat9984 says:

    Your hospital sounds like the one my husband was in. The day after his surgery turned out to be employee appreciation day and the parking garages were full of employees. I was almost in tears by the time I got to the garage for the cancer building. You’re only supposed to park there if you have an appointment. Luckily, as I started to tell my story, the guard let me in. The hospital’s in a large college town and there was no place to park outside the (very large) hospital complex

    Like

    • Sheila Moss says:

      That’s horrible! Around here all the big hospitals are in town and you either park in a parking garage or you don’t park. They keep building more and more garages and since you are not there every day, you never know where to go.

      Liked by 1 person

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