This week marks my twelfth anniversary of living in Los Angeles.
And what better way to celebrate that than doing something new!
This morning I visited LA County/USC Medical Center to pick up a friend being released, and these are the wonderful things I learned that you might find useful:
1.) Be prepared to be searched and go through a metal detector. Be prepared to do this several times – I kept going in and out the wrong doors and had to be cleared many times.
2.) It’s confusing. They have so many colored lines on the floor and so many places you have to check in before visiting someone, I wasn’t sure which one I was following. I never left the first floor and I never did figure out where I was.
3.) For some bizzare reason “Psych Ward” and “Jail Ward” are the only words visible to a patient being wheeled in and out of the trauma ward for x-rays and other tests. Keep that in mind if the patient you’re visiting is acting particularly sheepish.
4.) In order to verify a patient’s identity at release, the cashier got the patient’s wallet out of their possessions bag from the safe and found his ID and made a photocopy of it. With him standing right there on the other side of the glass.
5.) Parking is free.
6.) Nobody there knows where they are. Several patients asked me where they were; it’s not like they were out of it, they knew they were in a hospital, they just didn’t know where it was.
7.) Not only do patients get little ID bracelets, so do the visitors, color coded by the ward you’re visiting. Mine was Hazard Orange (which only reinforces #3).
8.) The nurses were great. Actually, it’s not that I didn’t know this, I hoped this, and I’m glad it was true. In fact everyone was really nice and patient with me as I tried to muddle around and figure out where I was going and check my friend out.
9.) Breakfast was vegetarian.
10.) There is a health food store on site.
11.) Finally, assume they cut up the patient’s clothes and plan on bringing clean ones with you.