I’ve spent a fair chunk of my life the last two weeks visiting either hospitals or medical clinics.
What’s the difference between the two? Basically, a hospital doesn’t smell as good as a medical clinic, and a medical clinic is always running out of things compared to a real hospital.
The hospital where I receive most of my major medical interventions, as they deem necessary, of course, is a bit of an older place, just slightly run down, yet always in some state of renovation. And the renovators never quite seem to catch up with making the place nice and whole. As soon as they get one corner squared away, they’re tearing down another.
So I was a bit surprised earlier in the week as I walked up to the main entrance of the place. Usually there’s a clutter of folks in wheelchairs being shepherded around by family members, and there’s always a few cops loitering around. I’ve never really seen the security people there do much of anything, except park their vehicles in the handicapped zone out front which makes the real handicapped patients move farther down the curb to unload.
But I’m sure we’re all safer because of the
rent-a-cops police presence.
Anyway, as I approached the sliding glass doors at the front, I was met with the sound of keyboard music.
“What’s this?” I thought to myself. “They’re now piping Muzak in the lobby to try to make us all feel better than we really do?”
If only that were the case. As the doors shushed open, a little old lady was planted in the vestibule, sitting in front of an electronic piano, dressed in a shabby caricature of some kind of tuxedo, and banging away on the keys.
She only hit a few wrong notes during the three seconds I walked by.
I guess it was the institution’s attempt to add a little joyousness to the day, but it had the exact opposite effect on me. For some odd reason, I felt like a prisoner at a concentration camp headed to God Knows Where, receiving a send off from my fellow musician inmates.
I half expected someone in a white lab coat to be waiting ahead, separating the
prisoners patients, as appropriate:
“You. Left. You. Left. You. Right.”
“Wait a minute. Why am I going right? Audiology is to the left. Please, I want to go to Audiology. I won’t cause any trouble.”
“You. Right. Get the dogs.”
Of course there was no selection, no Sophie’s Choice, but it sure put me in a spooky mood and set the tone for the morning.
Later, after my appointment was finished and I received a relatively clean bill of health, I decided I would take the stairs down from the third floor rather than the elevator. Might as well get some exercise, I reasoned.
But I vaguely remembered trying the stairs on a previous visit, and I reminded myself they weren’t a straight shot down to the ground floor. You had to criss-cross a couple of times to different ladderwells before getting spat out at the bottom.
What the heck. I went for it. I mean, how lost could I get?
The next thing I knew I was wandering around the second floor, looking for that elusive express stairwell, when I stumbled into some kind of controlled access area. Well, it was really more like a holding cell or jail. There was a pleasant-looking courtyard, except that it was fenced and surrounded by barbed wire.
And then there was the posted sign: “Danger of Elopement Present.”
What the what? Where was I?
Wherever I was, it was eerily quiet and deserted. There were a few lights on in the corridor, but I had a bad feeling I was about to run into an Eloper at any second.
Either an Eloper or Sasquatch.
I tried retracing my steps back while I looked for another stairwell, any stairwell, which I fortunately soon stumbled upon.
Eventually I made it back to the ground floor, and I hurried my little self out of that place as fast as my sore feet would carry me.
The little old lady pianist was still seated in the vestibule, but she was taking a break and talking to one of the
I hopped in my car and departed the parking lot post-hates.
Next stop: foo-foo coffee.
I figured I deserved some, because even though I really didn’t dodge any sort of bullet that morning, I sure felt like someone was taking aim at me.
Nothing that a little caffeine and a chocolate croissant wouldn’t take care of, however.