Pat was sick. Pat's been sick since early Sunday morning. It's now Monday afternoon and Pat decides to go to the doctor, meaning the emergency room. It's 3 p.m. and fortunately the hospital is only about 4 blocks away.
I drive Pat up to ER and drop him off to find me a "free" parking place a block away from the hospital. When I return to the emergency, Pat is standing outside waiting for me.
"Unimed (our health plan) doesn't attend here anymore," he said. It's in the new Marcelino Champagnat hospital next-door.
We walk down a short hill to said hospital, but we are at the back of the hospital where the parking ramps are located. Pat is weak from losing liquid all day long and from not eating anything. It takes effort to walk.
We look at the signs and walk through the parking and find the reception area at the front of the hospital. Inside we're told we are on the wrong floor! We can only get to the right floor by returning to the parking area. We retrace our steps looking for signs to indicate the right entrance. We walk up two flights of stairs to no avail. I try a third flight. Finally we find someone we hope might know and he directs us to the right entrance. First victory.
It's now close to 3:30 p.m. There is a long form the receptionist fills out and finally tells us to take a seat and wait to be called. This is a holiday weekend and it seems there are few people on duty. We sit in comfortable chairs and start the wait. Four p.m.-- Finally we are called into the "Risk Management" room where a nurse takes his blood pressure and his temperature. We are told to return to the waiting room to be called by name. The doctor is attending someone in an emergency situation and there are two others ahead of us.
We return to our seats. We wait. People come and go. I go to the drinking fountain for water for Pat several times. He sits. An ambulance drives up and wheels a lady into the hospital. One gentlemen is waiting for his wife and I overhear him say he is upset because 'they' took so long to start medicating her. Five o'clock comes and goes. We both take short naps sitting in our chairs, but Pat mainly sits quietly looking very weak. About 5:30 Pat's name is called. I am in the bathroom and miss the call. So, I sit down to wait. It shouldn't be long now. A storm starts brewing. Dark clouds swirl in the sky and the wind picks up. Suddenly, buckets of water pour down as if a heavenly dike has burst. Then the lights go out! This is no little rainstorm. Fortunately, it doesn't take long before the lights come back on and soon Pat leaves the doctor's office with a prescription in hand, but it is raining hard and we have no umbrellas. We sit back down to wait some more. Finally, I think the rain has lessoned enough for me to go ahead to get the car and on the way my plan is to stop at the drugstore for his prescription.
I head out the door with my purse on my head to keep from getting totally soaked. At the drugstore I'm told their system is "off the air" because of the storm and they can't sell me the antibiotic. I buy the other things that don't require a prescription and head down the street to pick up the car.
As I approach my car, I can't believe my eyes! The street is a lake and my car has water up to the door! I take off my socks and shoes and start treading through the water toward the car. I see a stranger walking through the water, too, and ask him what I should do. He was kind enough to ask some guys to push my car out of the "lake" and onto higher ground. (Nice people still exist!!) When I open the car door, I can't believe what I see: water has filled up the inside wells! I find that car mats work as scoops and start the process of emptying the car of all that water!!
Thankfully, as I turn the key in the ignition, my car leaps to life! Now to pick up Pat. I head up the street, turn right and after several blocks turn right again. I turn right again on the street I think will take me to the front entrance of the hospital, but no! I end up at the back of the hospital and those parking lots. Oh, but I can probably go through the parking lot to get to the front of the hospital and drive through the ticketing stall only to find myself on the wrong floor. After getting directions I head back to where I started and leave the parking lot. I do eventually find the front of the hospital and happily turn in and go up the ramp! Foiled again! I have turned into the maintenance entrance. I'm told to retrace my steps and turn into the second ramp! It works! Pat is sitting in the waiting room, head down and looking very weak. We head home and decide to try another drugstore hoping upon hope that not all drugstores are "off the air" because of the storm. Our first stop proves to be a bad choice. Their system is not working either. Pat walks across the street to another drugstore and Yes! he is able to buy his medicine.
When we finally get home and walk in our door, it is 7 p.m. It took 4 hours of our time and about 12 minutes of the doctor's time. There seems to be something wrong with this picture or is this normal for an emergency stop at the hospital??