I took Rocky in for her 6-month check-up which ended up being a much bigger ordeal than I had originally suspected. I mapquested the address of the office just to make sure that I wouldn't get lost. The estimated travel time was 13 minutes. The appointment was scheduled at 10:00 and I figured that I should plan on arriving early to do any paperwork, and that I should be sure to leave a little extra time in case I got lost. So, at 9:05 Rocky and I headed out the door optimistic that we would happily and calmly use the extra time to relax in the waiting room. Unfortunately in the directions that I printed out, when it said to 'turn right' what it really meant was that I should go left. Because I have a long record of finding myself lost, I'm pretty sure that the error somehow belonged to me, and not Mapquest, but no matter who is to blame, we were lost. After some exploration and a lot of U-turns we got back on track. Unfortunately it took a lot of time.
At 10:00 exactly I had finally found my way into the parking complex. By this time I wasn't at all calm and I definitely was not relaxing in the lobby.
I wound around and around looking for a spot, which ate up another five minutes. I got out and found an elevator that would take me to the fourth floor. But, apparently, there is no access into the building from the fourth floor. So I got back onto the elevator and went to the first floor. I saw a woman holding a baby. She smiled at Rocky and I thought that I could probably follow her right to the doctor. I wasn't sure though if she was headed out or in so and I asked her if she was coming or going. She said that she was going so I asked her if she knew how to get to pediatrics. Within a couple of seconds it was obvious that she didn't speak much English. She was very nervous and tried her very best to give me directions. I told her that I speak Spanish and she immediately relaxed. Then she started rattling off all kinds of information and I was suddenly the nervous one. I nodded my head and acted like I had understood everything, like any self-respecting poor Spanish, and I was on my way.
I knew from our conversation that I needed to enter the building on the third floor. I was positive that I could surely find the office once I got inside. After taking the stairs up I found an entrance into the building. I was starting to feel better now that I had achieved such success. I was, officially, out of the parking area.
The good feeling, however, was short-lived. I walked around the third floor until I found a door to a stairway and entered. When I got to the fourth floor I noticed that it was locked. If I had known that the pediatrics department was Eugene's version of Fort Knox I would have left home earlier. I went back down to the door I had entered from, which was also locked. Apparently I needed to have some sort of hospital security clearance to get in. By this time it was about 10:25. I thought about going down to the first floor and leaving the place with or without vaccinations, but then I realized that even if I was able to escape my stairwell prison, I had no idea how to get back to my car. I reached the second floor and hesitated for a moment and was contemplating how long Rocky and I could survive on the contents of the diaper bag when a man noticed me through the little window in the door.
He asked if he could help and I said that I needed to get to my appointment on the fourth floor. He smiled at me and spoke very slowly and loudly, "Well," he paused, "This is the second floor. That makes the fourth floor would be two floors up."
I didn't think his exaggerated gestures were very funny. After I started screaming about security locks and confusing hallways he realized that I was not part of the personnel that were supposed to be able to access this staircase. He actually ended up walking me all the way to the pediatrics front desk. I'm not sure if it was because he was being nice, or he was afraid that I had become a security risk (poking around where I didn't belong.)
On the way we passed my Hispanic friend who was seated calmly waiting to see the doctor. She had beat me by about fifteen minutes. I realized that I had phrased my question to her in the worst possible way. She had told me that she was "going" and while I assumed she was leaving the hospital, she had been telling me that she was "going" to see the doctor. She gave me an encouraging little wave and I could tell that she was rooting for me. The support buoyed me up enough to show my tardy face at the check in desk.
I checked the clock and it was 10:30. The girl didn't even look up. "Did you get lost? Everyone gets lost. "
I wondered if I wasn't the first innocent mother to be swallowed up in the secret workings of the hospital. She gave me the paperwork and I immediately dropped the clipboard scattering health questionnaires and insurance information all over the floor. I could see myself in her eyes. Rocky was slung over one arm. Her hat had slid over one eye and she only had on one sock. My hair was all frazzled and my mascara a little smeared because of the drizzle outside. I looked like a train wreck. I just shrugged my shoulders and smiled. At least I had made it alive.
Through it all Rocky had just sat quietly in my arms with a look of mild interest.
After the trauma of getting there, the vaccines were a breeze. My little Rockstar took them like the champ she is.