Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Horror on the Highway

Near the end of last month (January 2016) the Little Woman had a knee replacement. Her joint was badly damaged by arthritis; to the extent the surgeon said, "It looked as if a bomb went off in there; bits and pieces of bone everywhere." (Isis took credit for the attack.) It was so bad they had to saw off the ends of both her bones in order to put in the things they nail in there. The doctors couldn't believe she was able to walk at all, but she had.

The operation lasted just over an hour and half, assuming they started at the time scheduled. They had her up and using a walker by the same afternoon. Just several hours over two days time she came home.

Of course, it is after you come home and the hospital meds wear off that the real pain begins, so she had that to endure.

She was given home care as far as Physical Therapy, which was a blessing, although they want her to move to outside therapy soon and water exercises.

The real monkey wrench was not her wretched wrenched knee; it was she got pneumonia about two days after coming home. I also joined her in having a bacterial infection, although I escaped full-blown pneumonia. Nonetheless we prevailed. It seems now after the better part of three weeks that our diseased lungs are recovering and she is doing wonderfully with her knee. The doctors and nurses have been amazed at how well she has done.

I won't say this has not been a very rough month, however. It has been tough.

And so we come to the horror on the highway that occurred yesterday.

Anyone who has come through these kind of valleys in life know a lot of inconvenience comes along with the pain and wheezing and coughing and gasping for air. Having a triple whammy of my wife's repaired knee and both her and I being somewhat seriously ill means besides the body suffering one is back and forth between medical facilities, not to even mention the pharmacies. There has been such a tangle of specialists involved treating one or the other of us I need the computer just to keep them straight. Squeezed into this past month have been an orthopedist or two, imaging practitioners for X-rays, cardiologists and their technicians doing pre-op testing, a rheumatologist because of her arthritis, but also because she has been diagnosed with osteoporosis, laboratories for blood work, the primary physician,  nephrologist, urologist, visiting nurses, visiting physical therapists, three different pharmacies, memory specialists and a partridge in a pear tree. (I just threw that last one in to see if you were paying attention.)  I would say our interaction with all the medical professionals and their staffs have been 99% pleasant, I mean the people, of course, not the conditions that placed us in their hands.

And despite the spaghetti of offices and buildings we have been forced out to visit, not overly difficult finding our way and getting where we needed to be. That is until yesterday.

This was a post-op follow up with one of the orthopedic surgeons. It had actually been scheduled for a week ago, but the pneumonia intercepted that call and as a result the physical therapist that home visits got to remove her staples right here in our living room. But the surgeon still wanted to gaze upon her leg and take X-rays and so deemed her well enough to travel into the office this week of somewhat milder weather after the snow and ice. But the office scheduled us for this at a different location than where we normally go for orthopedic services. This office was an address on Ogletown-Stanton Road.

Yes, I know, some of you have no idea where this is. It is to the Southwest, I guess, of Wilmington, while we live on the Northeast side. Even though I worked near the area for a couple years, I have little familiarity with that area of the state.  I do know it has more traffic this side of the city and more lanes on I-95 and faster moving vehicles, which means it also has more accidents and delays.

But why fear, I can generally get about if I have an address, which I did have. Just a little Googling the map and directions made me feel set. Google said it was about a 25 minute drive, pretty much straight down I-95 jumping off at Exit 3 then going right onto Ogletown-Stanton Road. All I need do at that point is look for the address number, right?


Look at this mess to the right. It proved to be looking for a needle in a haystack with missiles hurling pass. I was on Ogletown-Stanton Road in no time, easy-peasee (my wife hates that phrase), but there WERE NO ADDRESS NUMBERS or few and far between.

I finally turned into a complex that looked the likely culprit, seemed to match the satellite view I'd looked at on Google, but no it 'tweren't the place. It was now 4:00.

I pulled up by a delivery man and asked if he knew where the address was. No, no he didn't. I parked and headed into a building, but the doors were locked on that side. I was also kicking myself because the paper I had printed out with the driving directions did not pick up the name of the facility or the telephone number. I couldn't even remember the name of the doctor we were to see.

As I began to traipse around this building, hoping for an open door and friendly face, that same delivery man called to me.

"Why don't I put it on my GPS," he said.

Oh, thank you.

His GPS couldn't find the place either.

My only hope lie within the building. I entered and there was a receptionist and she proved very helpful. She didn't know where the address was either, but was, after a struggle,able to find a telephone number for the orthopedic practice and gave me a phone to use.

And then, "Press 1 if...Press 2 if...Or Press zero for the operator."

I had to press zero and got, "All our representatives are busy helping other patients, please stay on the line and the next available representative will be with you as soon as possible."

I waited, I heard music, I hear the message a few times, I heard the clock ticking. It was now 4:10.

Finally a human and I explained our predicament. When I told her where we were she immediately knew the directions to tell me. We had passed where we needed to be. I had actually passed it just before 4:00. It had some landmarks that made it easy if I had known them. I remembered passing them.

I scribbled these down and asked if she could give them a message that I was lost, but about 5 minutes away. She apologized, saying she was not in that section, she would transfer me to Appointments.

And..."Press 1 if..." and then All our representatives are dead or whatever...and then if I wanted to leave a message. I left a message and hurried out to my car. It was now almost 4:25. We raced out of the complex and I thought we should go left and the wife thought we should go right, and we went right, and right was wrong and it was one of those highways with a big center cement barrier and infrequent places to get turned around and I was in a middle lane with bumper-to-bumper cars to either side of me. I took risks, like I was the baddest dude in NASCAR and somehow came through the massive traffic unscathed and got turned back the right way.

We got to the building. Here is the rub. The building sat at the back of a complex and that was where there was a sign with the address number, completely unseeable from the Ogletown-Stanton Road. What good is an address that is hidden away? What is it a secret CIA operative?

I sent the Little Woman in while I found a parking place, and then hurried to join her. It was now 4:35. I heard a receptionist say to another, "Their appointment was at 4:15. I don't think the Doctor will see her now. " I was determined that he would if I had to leap over the counter and break down doors. (Yeah, I'd probably see a doctor for my broken shoulder if I had tried it, not to mention the ankle I'd sprained trying to leap over the counter.)

We were lost," I pleaded. "I left a message."

At this point another lady had entered behind us. She was upset. "That's what happen to me. I couldn't find this place either."

So, the doctor did see us (and that other lady too) and he couldn't have been nicer about it. He was a bit ticked that the office had scheduled us to come to this office rather than the one near where we lived and he lay down the law they were to book us up north for future visits. Everyone admitted this getting lost was not an unusual occurrence.

Lois' knee is coming along fine. The doctor and the nurses were proud of her progress.

Now someone needs to do something about addresses on the roads where they are listed being posted in a way people can find them.

1 comment:

Ron said...

What a story Lar. Thank goodness you didn't have an accident trying to find this place.