Los Angeles. It's the place I used to call home and it's the place I avoid at all costs unless I'm down for a family issue (good or bad) or business (also good or bad).
Even though my mother was asking me every other day for the past month when I was coming down to visit her, I wasn’t planning on a visit to the City of the Fallen Angels for a long time. Unfortunately, last week I found myself high-tailing it down U.S. 395 because of a family issue (bad).
I have to say that one of the perks about working where I do in Mono County is that if something comes up for one of us coworkers, we all cover for each other. We have a very understanding boss and as long as the daily routines of the job are handled, it’s usually no problem. I have lots of friends who have jobs in places where it’s not so easy to take off when necessary, even for a family emergency.
Most of my time down there was consumed by health and hospital issues for someone other than myself and I spent about 15 hours a day at Cedar’s Sinai Hospital. I’ve never done that before … making sure that the nurses and doctors all stayed on task and asked question after question about this medical condition and that pill or this treatment and that prognosis. The experience confirmed the fact that if a family member is ever in the hospital they have to have an advocate who can ask the right questions, question what seems wrong and not let emotions run over the logic.
When someone you love is in crisis and if you can’t pull it together, find someone who can. I know Cedar’s is a great hospital. I was there almost four years ago with that cancer-thingy and had the best care but this time I was on the other side of the hospital bed and I couldn’t believe some of the incompetence this time around. And the more doctors that are attending the patient, the worse it is because they all have to “confer” and inevitably information gets misconstrued. Most of the nurses were okay but there were a few I questioned how they even graduated nursing school.
What I found really unamusing was how many doctors, nurses and hospital personnel had their heads down looking at their iPhones and Blackberrys when they were on the elevators, walking down the halls and standing in line for coffee. I must have had to say, “Excuse Me!” out loud over a dozen times because they were not looking where they were going. One white-coat even had the audacity to get an attitude with me when he bumped into me as he was getting out of the elevator. I was going in the elevator and he apparently was so distracted by what he was doing on his not-so-smart phone that it never occurred to him that people might be getting into an elevator.
It was about the fourth day for me spending from dawn until dusk on the sixth floor of the North Tower and I was a bit frazzled and worn out. I was getting into the elevator to go for a quick walk under the sun. Several people were visiting my family member and I needed to breath some fresh air. I had my headphones on and was listening to Tom Petty but at least I was looking up and not down at something in the palm of my hand.
He literally walked right into me and said, “Most people move when they see someone walking at them.” Being that he was rude and I wasn’t in the best mood I replied, “Maybe if you paid more attention to your surroundings instead of a piece of electronic equipment and then you wouldn’t run into people.”
What a jerk.
I finally got the fresh air I craved and walked down the expensive streets, window shopping and wondering who would spend $75 on a little dress for a toddler. I went into the Prada store in the mall because since the “Devil Wears Prada” I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. The Devil must be a millionaire.
I finally ended my walk by going up Robertson Boulevard and had to squeeze myself between a bunch of paparazzi who were fixed in front of The Ivy Restaurant. Just for the record, George Clooney looks the same on film and in person. And just for the record, the family member in question is safe and sound at home where she belongs.
Stacey Powells is a local writer and radio host. She hosts the Exhausted Parent Network Radio Show every Thursday night at 6 p.m. on KMMT. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . For more of her work, visit www.exhaustedparent.com . Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of the Mammoth Times.