Monday, August 29, 2011

Hospital visit

            Today was Ella’s payday.  That meant that we picked up the check and drove into Des Moines to deposit it.  We do this every two weeks.  And every two weeks as we are pulling out of the credit union drive, I ask, “Is there anything else we need to do while we are on this side of town?”  Every two weeks we sit at the edge of the drive trying to think of anything that needs to be done prior to driving all the way back home.  (I don’t know why we wait until that moment each time – we just do – okay?)
            Well today, we DID have something to do on the eastside of Des Moines.  My niece had a mild heart attack a couple of weeks ago and is still in the hospital.  She is waiting for transfer to a rehab place. 
            We got to the hospital and found that the handicap parking was cordoned off.  They were using a high pressure water hose to blow the gunk from the pavement.  I suppose that they are going to repaint the lines to the parking spaces.  At any rate, I drove into the parking garage hoping to find a space within limping distance to the front door.
No luck.  So I circled around through the parking garage and out into the parking lot and back around to the front door.  This time we pulled into the spot marked, “Valet Parking”. 
            Here we sat for several minutes.  As no one was arriving to take the truck, we began to wonder if we had to get out of the vehicle and into the building to notify them that we were in need of assistance.  Eventually an elderly gal (our age) came out with a form and wrote down our license number and name.  She gave us a portion of the form and said, “Please retrieve your keys before five o’clock.”  Since it was only about nine-thirty in the morning, I assured her that I had no intention of staying that long.  She responded with, “I don’t blame ya.”
            Just inside the door we found a wheelchair and headed for the main entrance.  We stopped at the information desk to verify that we had the proper room number.
            A quick elevator ride to the sixth floor and a short trip following the room number signs got us to her room.  As the nurses prep station was just outside her door, and a nurse was suiting up in a paper gown, I had to wait for her to move so that I could get inside the room.  While she was gowning like she was getting ready for surgery with gown, cap and gloves, she was answering questions for another nurse who showed up.  Eventually they finished up and I was able to get inside to visit with my niece.
            A couple of minutes into the visit, she got a call on her cell.  I visited with her husband and found out that she was stuck in the hospital until they had a spot for her at rehab.  The big concern isn’t her heart; it is the fact that she is unable to walk.  And the longer she lies in the hospital bed the less strength she has in her legs.
            About this time she calls for a nurse and said, “I need the bedpan.”
            Well, that was the end of the visit.
            Back down the elevator and wait in line behind several other people who were waiting for the valet to retrieve their vehicles.  While I waited, I thought of telling the gal that we had indeed made it back before five o’clock to retrieve our keys.  However, when I saw how harried she looked, I decided to just be glad that it wasn’t me driving and walking in and out of that garage all day.  So all I said was, “Thank you!”
            All in all I am disappointed that we didn’t have a chance to visit longer.  However, sometimes it is the visit that is important, not the length of the visit.

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