Of Hospitals and the Deep Dark Woods

Oct 30, 2017 | 1 comment

SAT Test?

Easy to get into and hard to get out of – hospitals are just the opposite of most things.  Except maybe the forests of the Northwest.  At least, that’s what my experience has been.

Take getting into college, for instance.  There are tests to take, applications to fill out, money to procure and, sometimes, interviews to accomplish.  Or how about getting into a restaurant?  Some have only certain days and hours that they are open for business; some require reservations; some might even have a dress code.

But hospitals – no muss, no fuss.  Just walk in (or go in an ambulance), state your business if you are able, and you are in.  The deep, dark woods are even easier – you don’t even have to have a coherent reason for entering.  In you go and the devil take the hindmost.  It’s getting out that’s the difficulty – with both of them.

Not that hospitals really want you to stay.  It’s just that once they and you agree that you are ready to get out of there, it seems to take forever for departure to take place.  It is mostly a paperwork thing.  First, there has to be authorization from the doctor who might be otherwise occupied.  For hours.  Then there have to be orders printed out for follow-up care and prescriptions to have filled at your local pharmacy and finally, if the hospital is large enough, a specialist arranges a follow-up appointment with your doctor of choice.

As far as I know there’s no paperwork about getting out of the forest.  You are on your own.  Best to go with a companion,  take a compass along, and remember your water flask.  Forget the bread crumbs, though.  In our northwestern woods, the undergrowth is thick – no way of leaving a carefully marked trail behind you unless you are handy with a machete.

Years ago – maybe 40 – Marta and I thought we’d cut across the woods at the Point where long before, each of us had gone frequently as campers (me at Dorothy Elliott’s Camp Willapa; Marta at Alan and Barbie Greiner’s Sherwood Forest.)  We knew, unequivocally, that the bay was “right over there.”  Hours later, Marta finally climbed a tree as high as she could to see if she could spot water, a road, a building… any landmark at all.

Today, Nyel is scheduled to be at OHSU for two early afternoon appointments. Under ordinary circumstances we’d never get out of here (Emanuel) in time but nurses, doctor, pharmacist and who-knows-who-else began working last evening on getting us discharged in a timely manner today.  And then… homeward bound!

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    What wonderful news!


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