Thursday, January 15, 2015

Requiem for a Pile of Concrete

 My hospital is being razed, turned into a pile of rubble, which in turn is being transported to parts unknown.

No, I do not own the hospital, but over the past forty-five years I have developed some strong connections here.

The building which is going away is laid out as a giant

These views are from the south, as though you are looking at the two bottom legs of the above diagram.

During recent years, additions have been built, growing a much larger building than the original. As time went on, portions of the old building fell into disuse, and finally the entire thing was considered no longer viable for the practice of modern health care.  Goodbye. 

I have sat beside my dying wife in a room in this building on two separate occasions, nineteen years apart.  My children have been transported here for emergency care when kidhood booboos occurred.  

My first grandchild was born in this hospital, but transported immediately to the city for specialty care.  Two days later, my son-in-law and I came to my daughter still lying in a room in this building to tell her that her firstborn son did not make it.

I was in the delivery room holding my younger daughter's hand while she was in labor, long hours of labor, with her first child.  She was not saying kind and loving things about her husband. The good news is that she and her hubby raised that child and two others to adulthood and are now the loving grandparents of four.  And I was in the maternity ward again when this daughter of theirs gave birth to her first child.

I have myself been the recipient of "inpatient care" at this facility on two occasions, the last time during the earthquake that disrupted the World Series.  I have taken BBBH here on numerous occasions for treatments, and probings, and proddings, one test or another.  Over time, those services have been moved into the new facilities, and I got these pictures on a trip to the phlebotomist to relieve the lady of several vials of blood.

I have had some interesting doctor-related experiences here.  I once got into a rather loud exchange of opposing ideas with a cardiologist who was caring for my mother-in-law.  On another occasion, I had taken an injured student from school to the ER.  The physician would not touch the child without parental consent, whereupon I assured him that I stood "in loco parentis" to the child, and he informed me that he could not care less.  And that exchange got loud.  Two young professionals over-zealously guarding their turf.  He is now a good friend of mine, and like me, retired.

I was having a stress test on the treadmill one time, and the cardiologist was an old guy who should have been, and soon was, superannuated.  The oscilloscope flatlined during my strenuous exercise.  Doc got quite excited, and I said, "Looks like you lost me, Doc."  He was not amused.

When my second wife died, my doctor, who was not the attending physician to the late patient, came to me to console me in my loss.  She hugged me and comforted me.

The beginning of life, the end of life, the best efforts to maintain life while it lasts, the very essence of  "hospital."  I did not say that the memories I had were all happy ones, but they are important ones, and that old building, which I will no longer be able to see except in my mind's eye, has been a vitally important part of my life.

 On the lighter side, click on over 
to Bob Warr's  blog.
I just realized that last Sunday's "Regrowth"
is post number 2000 on STSTT and I let it
pass without comment.


Grace said...

I haven't had much truck with hospitals or any other medical facilities so I can't imagine being nostalgic about one but it seems a lot of your life is tied up in that building.

Actually any memories I might have of any building in particular that I was intimately connected to would probably all be on the negative side.

(As for hospitals - a pox On Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia)

vanilla said...

Grace, you did note my disclaimer: that not all the memories are happy ones. Sometimes I write stuff just because I need something to write about. I won't be shedding tears over the removal of the building

I am not fond of hospitals, either, but I surely am grateful for their existence.

Jim Grey said...

What an interesting reflection. Place connects us to memories, good and bad. How strange when a place with memories isn't there anymore.

Lin said...

You certainly have had lots of experiences at that hospital. While you may or may not miss the building, there were many memories tied up in those walls. I can see why any action on that building would drum up memories--good and bad.

I'm glad it was there for when you needed the care. What will they replace it with?

vanilla said...

Jim, in a sense the place will always be "there," for the memories are embedded in my mind.

Lin, to have such facilities is a good thing. Replacement? Landscaping, I suppose, in that the new building is directly to the left in the picture and parking is already adequate.

Vee said...

Life's experiences, both good and bad make us who we are. It's always sad to see the old buildings go, but memories remain with us.

Secondary Roads said...

Isn't it interesting how we build those memories and associations? Good to see that they are rebuilding to accommodate newer technology.

Sharkbytes said...

Dang. I hate it when buildings that are important to my life go away. I understand it with my head, but I don't like it. Wonderful telling of your associations.

vanilla said...

Vee, we are shaped to an extent by our environment, and we pin memories to locations. But, things change.

Chuck, keeping pace with technology these days is a challenge in so many fields, and to so many people!

Sharkey, some of us do like to hang on to the old. The key is knowing when and how to let go.