Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hanging Out at the Hospital

I'm spending a lot of time at the hospital these days. Not because I or anyone I care about is sick, mid you, but because it's convenient.

When my dad had his first heart attacks in 1997, he was sent to a cardiologist in Louisville. We spent the next several years doing appointments and such at the hospital where the doctor was attached. At one point in time, Dad needed some dental work done, and they actually had to admit him into the CCU here for monitoring because of the amount of blood thinners he was taking to prevent stroke.

Years later, when he had his heart/brain incidents that incapacitated and ultimately killed him, he was sent back to the hospital, where he stayed for almost a month before being released to the facility where he died.

The oncology unit that my mother was referred to for her chemo is in this same hospital. I've spent a lot of time there in the past decade or so. And I've actually grown a little fond of their cafeteria. The food is decent and reasonably priced. And the space itself is large enough to allow for some privacy while eating, which is kind of important to me.

My own doctor's office is right down the street, so the hospital became a regular stop for me on appointment days. When I had physicals, I would break the mandatory fast with a breakfast there. If I didn't have to fast, I would eat there before my appointment. Sounds weird, I know, but it was right on the way, and since I usually bike or walk or take the bus, I don't have to worry about parking fees.

My favorite thrift store in also just down the street, which makes the hospital a good place to hit afterward for coffee. My mother taught me the value of taking a break for coffee in the middle of the day, so I try to do that as often as I can.

I may be losing the thrift store as a reason to pop by the hospital cafe. They've got a for sale sign in front of the store. According to one of the cashiers, if the sales at this store don't pick up, then they're looking to move it to a new location to the east. I don't know if she means to the east part of downtown, which would be okay or to the east end of the city, which wouldn't be quite so nice. If they leave the downtown area, there will be only one thrift left in the downtown area, which is kind of sad. Louisville is on the verge of becoming thrift-poor.

Salvation Army closed their stores a couple of years ago, which left a big hole in the local thriftosphere. The official story was that the stores weren't making enough money, which is really kind of odd. After all, the merchandise is donated, which means that most of what they make on each item is profit. In a down economy, an agency dedicated to working with the poor closing an affordable retail outlet seems nuts to me. Having shopped at the Salv. stores, I think they could have been retooled, rather than closed. They were messy. The selection was poor. The prices were high, given the quality of the goods. All of those issues could have been easily fixed and the stores could have stayed open.

As far as my favorite downtown store goes, I'm hoping they'll turn around and be able to stay. Honestly, they dealt with their biggest problem recently by getting rid of two of the most unfriendly, unhelpful staff people I've ever seen anywhere. Who wants to shop in a place where the staff are always loudly complaining about each other, about the store, and about the customers?

It's only been a couple of weeks, but I already find it to be a much nicer place to shop now. I'm also seeing the manager there take a more active role out on the floor, instead of hiding away in the back. They've still got a way to go, but I think they may be on the right track. I hope so. I do like the place and would miss it if it moved.

Anyway, back to the hospital. Taking my new part-time gig has actually led to spending a bit more time there. It's got a nice covered bike rack area that is really secure and out of the rain. In the morning, I ride my bike there and then catch a bus across town to the NPTG. It works well for me, as I just don't feel like wrestling the bike on the rack on the bus in the middle of downtown traffic. And the bike stays nice and safe waiting for me to come back.

When I get off in the afternoon, I stop off and get a cup of coffee at the cafeteria before heading home. Gives me a chance to decompress and read a bit before coming home to do booth work.

It's not the strangest thing I do, I guess. But neither is it the most normal, according to some people. Nevertheless, I'm spending a lot of time at the hospital these days.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

"thriftosphere"? now, that's NOT normal! but hanging out in the hospital cafe - I say, whatever works!