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As Russ Sees It

Jun 11, 2018 07:24AM ● By Russ Carroll

Russ Carroll

As a result of some health issues, I have spent an inordinate amount of time at the hospital and doctor appointments. Fortunately, these visits are located at the same facility. My first few visits were dedicated to discovering the nuances of the facility. The typical early visit found me waiting in a long line of cars for the valet since open parking was simply not available. The valet line reminded me of the line of cars at In ‘N’ Out Burger at noon, only there was no double double awaiting me at the end of the line.


Each early appointment included waiting in yet another line to speak with the nice volunteer lady at the “information desk” in order to discover the route to my destination. I learned that without this stop I would wander the hospital like my first trip to Costco. Now, this nice volunteer lady had only one speed and it in no way resembled the hustle of the valet guys. She would greet each guest while standing up only to return to her seat to search the computer or a three-ring binder the size of an NFL playbook. She did so with a smile and a speech pattern similar to Abe Lincoln in his show at Disneyland.


Once equipped with my map, I would set out on my safari by waiting on an elevator. I always used the little hand sanitizer machine, as did everyone wearing a smock printed with smiley faces, scrubs, or a long white doctor coat. This made me feel like part of the team. I found it interesting that on each floor there was signage stating that if you had a cold or cough you were not to enter the hospital. My thought each time? If you are reading this, you are already in the hospital. How many folks read this and think, “Crap, I better get out of here before anyone hears me sneezing or hacking up a lung.” There are little pictures showing how to Dracula sneeze onto the sleeve of your folded arm. Now, I am simply not going to sneeze onto my own sleeve. I would rather infect someone than walk around the rest of the day with sneeze “residue” on my sleeve.


Eventually, I would find the location where X marked the spot on my little safari map and approach the check-in desk only to find what looked like the same nice volunteer lady from downstairs. How did she do that? After gathering enough info from me to qualify for identity theft, she’d inform me, “You need to go back down to the first floor and check in.” Breathe, Russ, breathe.


Well, I am pleased to say that after several months I have this facility completely figured out. The valet guys know me by name. I no longer wait in line. I simply pull to the front of the line like I am at a country club and one of them will race out to get my golf clubs out of the back of my car. We exchange pleasantries and I simply park my own car in the valet lot. I am there so often that one of the guys asked me if I was coming to the employee picnic. I saunter by the info desk where the nice volunteer lady stands up and very slowly says, “Good morning Russ.” I would bet that I am in her three-ring binder somewhere.


In the vampire chamber (blood testing unit), my file goes on top of all the others, waiting with a cute little wink and a smile from the women behind the bulletproof glass. The receptionist at my doctor’s office asks how the kids are. The technician in the X-ray/MRI/CT scan offices offers his concern that by now I am probably sterile. I offer directions to folks who are obviously lost. Perhaps I should get a job behind the information desk, but I hesitate as it requires a lot of sitting and standing. Plus, I talk too fast.


I try to find the bright side of my current health issues. After all, when life deals you lemons, make a lemon drop. But...that’s just how I see it.