Just What the Doctor Ordered


Just What the Doctor Ordered

My latest adventure is knee surgery. A torn meniscus has created joint instability and must be fixed. As much as I dread going under the knife, I am looking forward to walking normally again in 4-6 weeks.

Appointments, x-rays, MRIs, pre-op visits; calls to the surgery center, my insurance, and the anesthesiologist; and mandatory blood work, Covid testing, and an EKG are now completed and surgery is just three days away. I enjoyed an array of medical facility parking experiences. The surgery might turn out to be anti-climactic. 

Watching my family try to do my job of feeding them and keeping the house from spontaneously combusting will be interesting. I’m sure it will all turn out great and I’m expecting whatever pain meds they give me will also support patience and acceptance for my temporary immobility.

Today was the last of my mandatory tests – the EKG, which required a trip to one of our two local hospitals. I’ve been a patient at both of these hospitals. Once each for the delivery of my daughters. Another time for the removal of my gallbladder. I usually arrive in a flurry of crisis during either the dead of night or by ambulance, so I’m not very well acquainted with the parking options. 

I know there’s usually valet, and one hospital has multiple parking structures. That’s where I went this morning. It’s important to note that I’d never want to criticize either facility. We are lucky to have great hospitals nearby.

But the parking situation is about as confusing as it gets.


Never mind the complex layout of the facility with all its towers and elevator banks. The hallways start out north/south then switch to northeast/southwest, then jog around to east/west, I think. Around every bend is another front desk for some department or another. My appointment was in the basement.

But first, I had to get into the right parking structure and, from there, into the right building. I got lucky and parked in the structure nearest my destination. Valet was closed due to Covid19. 

I could find not a single directory, although the emergency room was clearly marked, and that’s the only reason I didn’t wander into that doorway.

I limped through the dim garage in the direction of another entryway I only knew was not the emergency room. I traversed a stairwell, a convoluted walkway, crossed the ambulance lane, and went the wrong way into a set of doors clearly marked enter and exit. There was not a soul, besides a brave and defiant squirrel on the stairs, to watch my journey or offer guidance.

There’s nothing a little signage, and maybe a strategically placed security guard or candy striper couldn’t improve at this parking structure. All in all, it was a challenging 15 minutes that should really be much easier given the strain already included in any medical experience. 

At least, I didn’t have to pay for this expedition. But I lived to tell the tale and am all systems go for surgery.

Article contributed by:
Melissa Bean Sterzick
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