This morning the California Highway Patrol re-opened the 5 just north of LA in the
First of all, to understand how important the 5 is to SoCal, you should know that in the Golden State, which is full of freeways, it’s called the Golden State Freeway, and the 5 is the only interstate so called.
Well, freeway names in LA are typically not so much an alternate moniker for the numerical designation as they are an idea, or a concept of where you’re going.
For example, the Ventura Freeway is the 101 N. Except when it’s the 134E.
The Hollywood Freeway is the 101. Except when it’s the 170.
This is a difficult thing for the uninitiated to grasp. That, and the fact that our city planners, in their infinite wisdom, have decided that freeway entrance and exit ramps should cross one another, creating crazy, “anything goes” zones in the middle of each that have been known to elicit yelps of alarm in freeway newbies. Imagine that you’re easing onto an exit ramp, slowing rapidly as you eye that red light a mere 50 yards away. Now imagine that as you’re doing this, a BMW is hurtling toward you from behind, vying for your lane as he accelerates to normal BMW freeway speed, i.e., 85 mph.
But I, as I am wont to do, digress.
So the singularly-nomenclatured 5 freeway was closed for two days, thousands are evacuating in recent burn areas due to the threat of mudslides, cars in Hancock Park are floating, the Sepulveda basin has flooded, water spouts are tearing off roofs in Ventura, the snow line has dropped to 3000 feet, hydroplaning has become the hot new mode of transportation, and if my pond does indeed overflow, my fish will still be able to swim freely in the 3 inches of water standing in my backyard.
Spooney, lover of rain, hail and thunderstorms, is home for all of this, recovering from a recent operation, the details of which I won’t go into. Let’s just say that, apologies to Randy and any others of the fine nursing profession that might be reading this, but I FUCKING HATE HOSPITALS.
You know why? Because they…well, Christ, they’re just so barely holding onto the whole thing, aren’t they?
When they wheeled Spooney away into the OR, I was told to go wait in the first floor lobby, and to tell the front desk that I was family, and the doctor would come to the lobby and talk to me after the operation.
So I go to the lobby, and there’s nobody at the front desk. There continues to be nobody at the front desk for 2 hours. Spooney’s surgery is supposed to last an hour. Finally, the security guard, mumbling something about a shortage of volunteers (the hospital’s front desk is manned by VOLUNTEERS???) takes pity on me and calls up to the nurses’ station. He tells me that Spooney is still in surgery, but I should go to the 2nd floor “Surgicenter” and wait to talk to the doctor there.
So I go to this “Surgicenter,” and of course there’s no one at that desk either, only an elderly woman dozing in one of the pleather chairs. And what is the point, by the way, of mashing the words “surgery” and “center” together like that? Is the hospital thinking of marketing a 10’ x 12’ waiting room with one television blaring E! and no coffee or water and bad magazines? If not, they should. Because every hospital in the
At this point, I would like to voice my objection to the recent change by all medical waiting rooms everywhere from Good Housekeeping to Parenting as their go-to boring magazine of choice. Please, take pity on me, medical waiting rooms everywhere, because as little as I care about low-cal holiday cookie recipes, I care even less about how to “tame the terrible twos.”
Uh, where was I?
Oh, yeah. So finally this woman shows up the Surgicenter desk, and I tell her why I’m there, and she calls the OR. And guess what? The doctor has left already. The woman delivers this news with a shrug and a shake of the head, and she confides in me that doctors never move so fast as when they are ducking the patient’s family, post-op. I am somewhat disturbed by this admission, as you might imagine, but before I can voice an objection, or ask to see the woman’s ID to prove that she is indeed an official spokesperson and not just some random roving doctor-hater, she announces to me “Here’s what I’m going to do.”
“What?” I say.
“I’m going to call the doctor and tell him to call you. I’m going to call the doctor’s office and tell them that they have to call you and tell you when the doctor is going to call. I’m going to call post-op and find out if your guy is still there, and I’m going to talk to the nurses in recovery and tell them to call you here to let you know when he gets back to his room. Do you have your cell phone on? Good. Give me the number.”
So I say “Wow, great!” and I give her my cell number, and she walks out the door and is NEVER HEARD FROM AGAIN.
Eventually, embarrassed by how completely I was duped by the Surgicenter lady’s ability to mimick the behavior of helpful people, I just say fuck the rules and seek out the secret elevator that takes you to the floors they don’t want you going to without their permission, and I find the room that Spooney is coming back to and I just wait there for him. Nurses walk by and stare at me, and I just wave and go back to the article I’m reading, “Making Time for Family Time-Outs.”
They say more weather is on the way. But I don’t care, ‘cause you know what I saw this morning as I stepped out of my front door?
A freaking rainbow, y’all.
Do you know how many years it’s been since SoCal saw a freaking rainbow? Too many, my friends. Too damn many.