Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hotel Hospital

Today I was leaving work around noon to pay the guy that cleans my house every other week and dole out his birthday bonus - I should have written his name on my arm in permanent marker like I was telling myself on the way home from late frozens last night. "No, you'll remember in the morning." We are all self delusional. So after 5 hours of OR coverage and 10 frozens this morning I raced to my house. It was nice to get out of the hospital for a few minutes - my head was spinning - I was excited to grab my lunch in the freezer that was also forgotten.

As I was exiting the doctor's parking deck I approached the armed entrance (one of those same construction arms I encounter on the walk to my car that I fantasize might fall on my head only when I go under this one I'm in the car so less anxiety). I stopped right before I got to the trigger point to plug in my Spotify and hook up my phone to the speakers. A hospitalist who owns my second to last house in my former marriage walked up - I had already opened the window. He smiled in recognition and asked, "You coming or going? I've got a great spot right next to you you can have it if you want." I smiled, "No thanks, I'm going to run an errand. Just trying to get some music going. It's more complicated than it used to be, but it's worth the instant gratification."

He walked over to his car and having completed my mission, I pulled up to the trigger point. The arm did not raise. Backed up and tried again. Twice. Nothing. Unprecedented in my seven years here. The hospitalist got out of his car, having witnessed my plight, as I was now trying to manually raise the arm or find a bypass switch. He said, "I think we're stuck. I'll try the security phone."

After he called he informed me, "They said they'll be right here. This is crazy. Like Hotel California - 'You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.' Maybe this is why every other year you see the arm is torn clean off - someone must have gotten frustrated and plowed through." I laughed, "Yeah, imagine this happening in the middle of the night. When you were trying to get home and get to bed." We both went back to our cars.

Five minutes later nothing was happening and I was getting frustrated. I was so busy with frozens this morning that I had a lot of casework to come back to. I have a four wheel drive, I could go around the arm but it would require jumping three big curves and the first level of that deck roof is low, would I shave the top off of my car?

Another doctor walked up - he is tall and thin and youngish with dark hair I recognized him but have no idea who he is or what he does. He saw me sitting there, surmised the situation slowly, walked to his own car and back to my window. I told him, "We called security five minutes ago they should be here soon. I'm kind of nervous to jump those high curbs. Do you have a four wheel drive want me to back up behind you so you can get out?"

He said, "Your car is bigger than mine. Here I'll help you I think you can make it." He stood in front of my car and directed me as I slowly and bumpily made my way around the arm and over the curbs. I hesitated and glanced up at the deck overhang while I was in the middle - I was so close. I glanced at my helper who saw my concern and looked up to assess then gave me visual confirmation that I could clear it. He stepped out of the way and I waved my thanks and drove on.

When I left again today at the end of the day the arm was parked up. I hoped my fellow prisoners didn't have to wait too long.


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