Friday, January 25, 2008

Enough, already!

Hey, SoCal, what’s with the whole “weather” thing??

This morning the California Highway Patrol re-opened the 5 just north of LA in the Tejon Pass after it had been shut down for two days due to snow.

Say what?

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.

So what?

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 U.S. would buy one.

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.


Grant Miller said...

A motherfucking rainbow. That'd piss me off too.

Hospitals smell like hospitals and I hate it.

sv said...

I just want to see the pot o gold. I digress. Hopefully Spooney's doing OK (your digressions didn't specify his current well-being).

On yet another subject, I always try to schedule doctor's appointments for the first thing in the morning. I figure that's when they're the least far behind. By mid-day they're usually at least an hour behind, unless it's at a hospital, in which case they might be two hours behind!

Anonymous said...

Hope your guy is o.k.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Spooney's fine. He's flying high right now on some choice painkillers, which is SO MUCH FUN FOR ME, but enough about me. He will be fine.

RandyLuvsPaiste said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Doc said...

As much as I enjoy your political pieces, I really love it when you tell us about what's going on with you and you take the various jerks of the world to task! By the way, don't worry about Spooney. It is a proven fact that men with one testicle lead healthy, happy lives, not to mention their pants fit better.


deadspot said...

I saw one of those in my rear view mirror not too long ago while driving to work. You want to know how cold it is here? It was caused by ice crystals suspended in the air.

I saw it and I was like "Oh, hey. It's a ... what the hell is that doing there?"

Hope you're both doing well.

(And don't get me started on the word cafetorium.)

Larry Jones said...

Good story, Vikki. You were duped, of course, because despite the Mask of the Cynic that you often wear, you want to believe the best about people. Also that woman was totally in cahoots with the surgeon.

SkylersDad said...

Sorry you had such a crap time at the hospital. We were treated so good at Children's I was amazed!

By the way, did Spooney finally get the remains of that vestigial tail removed?

GETkristiLOVE said...

I've seen plenty of rainbows in L.A. - on bumper stickers.

Give my love to Spooney.

dguzman said...

Wow, and it's even a double--see the fainter rainbow out to the right of the regular one? Beautiful.

Man, I hate what happened to you, but I sure did love reading your blow-by-blow of it. That Stepford Volunteer at the "Surgicenter" (WTF?) should be ashamed.

Dave said...

So? What, is he down to only 12 toes now?

Chris said...

Since there's no new post, I'll wish you a Happy Birthday here.

dad said...

I love to by-pass hospital security bull shit as much as possible and perfer to always find my own way peering into rooms as I go.

Jess said...

Words cannot even describe the hatred I have for hospitals. 'Course, I almost died in one (and that was the LEAST of it)... so that might have been something to do with it. Since my experience, however, I have heard all sorts of horror stories of infections, etc...

When I went into premature labor and called my doctor, he told me to go straight to maternity (in the hospital). When I got there, they told me to go to check in at the front desk (several floors away on the other side of the hospital). They wouldn't even look at me until I did this. I basically refused and threw a tantrum until they said Pibb could do it for me while I waited in maternity for him. It took him about 1/2 an hour to 45 minutes to check in. Then, it was several hours later that they said "Hey, you have 9 blankets piled on you and yet you're shivering wildly", took my tempurature (104), and realized I had an infection. Nice.

I hate hate HATE hospitals.

Jess said...

Oh, also I hope Spooney's doing OK.