Monday, March 26, 2012

Unfamiliar Journeys

The ice cream took effect the minute we entered the hospital. Ignoring the odd looks, we led a jumping, hopping, running HB out of an ancient parking garage, up an elevator, through a breezeway over the street, into a long corridor, up another elevator, and down a long, severe hallway.
Like airlines, hospitals have those personnel for whom the environment is regular, stable, and expected. One of them declined taking the elevator with us after glancing sidelong at HB. Most of these people are meant to comfort and instruct those persons for whom the environment is foreign, difficult, or frightening.
I struggle with hospital visitations. I don’t really know what the etiquette is. I can count on one hand the times I have been to a hospital, one of which I stayed for a week when HB was born.
I fly frequently, usually solo, and have an airport routine, despite my general loathing of such predictability.
Prepare for departure
Today, after crisscrossing Clemson Road looking for temporary housing, we made good on the ice cream promise and then took HB to Providence heart center to see Grandaddy.
As we visited with Mr. Charles the flight attendants arrived to check his blood sugar.
I fought HB for the aisle seat while Cuk settled in by the window. The screen above played FOX News Channel but the sound was muted.
Mr. Charles spoke to his attendants and I could sense the establishment of a brief friendship like fellow passengers sharing a voyage, the only connection being mutual interest in arriving safely at the final destination. He asked about one lady’s schooling; she attended Clemson. He directed her to Cuk, who, he noted, also graduated from Clemson. And now sells tires. More about that in a future post.
I wondered if I should have powered down my phone and iPod. I checked my watch and did a brief calculation of how long it would take to be home. I occupied myself keeping HB quiet.
Ensure your tray tables are in their upright position
Hospitals are very clean and airplanes are not at all. The recycled air, the foreign sounds of whirring and beeping, and the thick paned glass on the windows create a foreign environment. Most travelers pretend planes are clean, and I am no exception. The terror of falling from the sky is enough, germ-phobia cannot compete. (Told you I’d write about actual fears at a later time ;-)
Airline security is much stricter than hospital security. Odd looks and hallways that are difficult to navigate are not security. But add to that one’s own sense of dread and there are few more effective deterrents. The FSA’s scanning devices create the illusion of safety, not actual safety, but do manage to remove suspicion of bouncing children.
Prepare for arrival
It is some kind of coincidence that on a day we looked for temporary housing we visited Grandaddy in his own sort of temporary housing. Coincidence, too, that all of us felt some tugs on our hearts, some literal and some emotional. I don’t know what literary minds name coincidences like that. But I know the hospital-to-airline thing is a metaphor. Make familiar what is foreign by using similarities.
I also know the ice cream didn’t hurt what shaped up to be another kaleidoscope day.

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