So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much!

p.s. my mom now refers to me as the family "chronicler" - getting down all the family stories. How I love that title!! :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sometimes we have to break the rules.

It was six thirty p.m. and dark outside N. Fulton Hospital.  I trudged down to the lower lobby wearing my mask to protect me from the polluted indoor air of the medical facility where I had been sitting with my sister in CCU or waiting in the family waiting room until visiting hours.

A man in a golf cart had earlier brought me from the parking deck and he told me someone would be available to take me to my car later. I stopped at the security desk and asked the uniformed young woman if someone could take me to my car parked on the second level of the parking lot across the street.

I explained to her, " I have respiratory problems and can't walk that far tonight."
"We don't have anyone to take you to your car. The shuttle stops at five o'clock. You should have been here by then if you wanted a ride." 
"I couldn't be here by five," I said. "My sister's dinner wasn't delivered until a quarter to six. She is 88 years old and has double pneumonia. I stayed and fed her so she would eat." 
The woman remained stoic, not one flicker of sympathy crossed her countenance.    

Because I was exhausted and broken with fear for my sister, I could not make that long trek to my car. I did something I'd not have done when I was younger - before I learned that I don't always have to take no for an answer. I dropped my bags on the floor, leaned back against the desk and said in an even voice, " Well, I guess I'll just spend the night here."

I did not look at the security officer, but stayed firm against the edge of her desk. The ball was in her court now. I could wait until she made her play. After a few minutes of silence she spoke.
"Can you climb up into a truck?"
 I told her I could do that. I heard her call on a radio and ask for someone to come and give me a ride to my car. She made a second call a few minutes later. Two large white pickups stopped out front, but picked up waiting passengers, family members it seemed. 

Another call went out from the woman behind the desk I partially occupied. Soon a tall, big-boned woman in black appeared at the desk.

"This is the lady who needs you to take her to her car," The security officer said.

She turned to me.  "They aren't allowed to drive you in the Security truck, but she can push you over in a wheelchair."

I was glad to see my helper was physically able to handle the job.
"Come on and get in this chair." She folded down the foot rests making sure I was comfortable and had my bags in my lap.
"Where is your car parked?" Her attitude was a nice change from the woman behind the desk.
I felt compelled to explain why I, a woman who looked perfectly able to walk the distance, had to call for help. Empathy softened the voices of both women, and they said I didn't have to explain. I was most appreciative of the ride, and my helper said she enjoyed the hike.

I learned two things that night. First, I would park illegally from now on so I wouldn't have so far to walk to my car. And secondly, it was  wise to throw myself into the hands of  the security officer because part of her job is taking care of visitors to the hospital, keeping them secure and safe while they are on the hospital grounds.

I look back over the past few years and smile at the new me. All of my life I was a stickler for obeying the rules, submitting to authority, any kind of authority. I often coerced Barry to obey  rules, although the rules might be dumb as dirt.

Living on my own for a while, I gained more wisdom about life. Some rules just don't work for me. In the case of this hospital, there are no handicap parking places within easy walking distance to the front door. Why would a hospital, of all places, have no handicap parking near the door? I think the staff understands this oversight by the powers- that- be. I think that is why no one gives me a ticket for illegal parking. Perhaps they know my car because I've spent many hours there in the past year. Perhaps some of the security guards quietly ignore my indiscretion because they see me come in and out alone and know I am there only because I can't stay away.

As long as my dear sister is inside the facility, I will be there to help her.  And until they give me a bed in the CCU, I'll be leaving there late at night or in the wee hours of the morning.  




Good for you, stand your ground. No one should have to go out in the night to a parking lot of a hosp. Esp one is isn't well. I've had security take me to my car many times and usually they're very glad to help.
Blessings to you and your sister and continue to grow strong in yourself and stand your ground!
Best always, Barbara said...

Thank you, Barbara, for reading and leaving a comment. And thanks for the encouragement to be strong. My sister will go into Hospice tomorrow. I pray I can bring joy to her last days.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

My heart goes out to you. I relate the the situation you were in at the hospital. Years ago when my brother-in-law was in the hospital in Charlotte, we encountered a situation similar to yours regarding it being pitch dark, having to walk for a long, long way to the parking lot. It sure is a frightening situation in a strange place.
I'm so glad things worked out for you and the security officer helped you.
When we get into the city, sometimes folks are not as willing to help others as the folks here in the mountains. I'm glad it worked out for you.
I hope and pray your sister will get better. I know this is just heart-breaking for you. I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. It's so very hard to have family in the hospital especially as the holidays approach. Blessings to you.

Glenda C. Beall said...

Hi Brenda,
Thanks for your comment. I hope your mother is much better from her fall.
Yes, the hospital in the city is not a warm and friendly place late at night.
We aren't in Hospice yet.Thanks for your prayers.

StaciB said...

Hi Glenda, just wanted to let you know, I'm thinking of you and your sister. Good for you standing your ground!! I'm sure you will bring her joy and love in this difficult time. Stay strong my friend

Love, Staci

Glenda C. Beall said...

Dear Staci,
Thanks for leaving your comment and thanks for your good thoughts. Today she told me she thinks it is time for her to go. Breaks my heart, but I support her and I'd want the same when it is my time. I don't want her to suffer anymore.