My nonagenarian friend Betty M has not been well for about three weeks. She's had intense abdominal pain, with an accompanying lack of appetite. Her primary care physician, (a good, competent, and caring man), has been unable to find the reason for her malady.
With no relief in sight, and at the urging of Betty's neighbour (Linda), Betty went to the E.R. yesterday.
Betty called me from the E.R. to tell me about this, and to let me know that she had been admitted to the hospital.
So, of course, I visited her today.
Today the "Front Desk" people at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital told me at first that that Betty was not in their data base; and then they said that she had had been discharged. This seemed to be very unlikely, so I 'phoned Betty.
She assured me that she had not been discharged, and that she was in Room 413.
I relayed this to the front desk staff member who checked the computer records again, and told me that Betty was indeed in Room 413.
I trudged endless corridors, took a lift (elevator), trudged more corridors and (almost) got to room 413. Except that 413 is in a section devoted for folks recovering from day surgery.
A staff member on that unit, trying her best to help me, called the admitting folks, only to be told that Betty was not in their data base.
"But she is", I protested, "I talked to her a wee while ago". The gracious staff member said, "maybe she is in a room near to the E.R. Some of those rooms have numbers in the 400 range".
I was grateful, so once again I trudged endless corridors, took a lift (elevator), trudged more corridors
until I found the E.R. There I had to wear a face mask in order to ask a simple question, viz "are there rooms in the 400 range near here?" There are/were not.
I loped back to the front desk, and asked again where I might find Betty. The young man on duty checked the data base, and told me that Betty M was not in their records. I protested and said "but she is here, I talked with her earlier".
He asked "could she be registered under her maiden name?" I thought this to be unlikely since she had tied the knot some seventy years ago.
He asked if I knew her date of birth - that being another way of checking the data base.
I responded by saying that I would check it by 'phoning Betty. That I did.
Betty gave me her d.o.b. and then asked "Michael, are you at S.M.H.?"
Indeed I was.
Betty said "but I am not at S.M.H., I am at Doctors Hospital".
DUH. The C.E.O. of "Stupid Inc." (one John Michael Povey) was in the wrong hospital,
He (I) drove to Doctors Hospital; had a great visit with Betty; and discovered that her pain and distress is real - she has colitis.
Nevertheless Betty was filled with gratitude, for two reasons.
First that, even though colitis is miserable, she does not have cancer,
Second, that she does not need surgery.