Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Pt 19–Waiting for Someone at the Hospital

My husband and I are at an age where going to the hospital for tests is an occupational hazard of growing old. From blood work to emergency room visits, we have waited anywhere from chairs perched along the walls of busy emergency room hallways, where we dodge patient-filled guerneys and phalanxes of medical staff to private waiting rooms with a television and light refreshments. These are part of the experience within the University of Virginia medical complex.

Then came COVID…

If the patient is having a procedure which requires anesthesia, he or she may be permitted to have someone accompany them into the hospital. Otherwise you can drop the patient off or wait outside on a bench.

Today, I waited on a bench. Fortunately it was a lovely fall day, about 70 degrees with a light breeze. There were benches in both shady and sunny areas. I don’t know what the answer is if somebody has to go to the bathroom while they are waiting. Fortunately after a two hour wait, we left before I had to find out .

I was wearing my mask which meant my glasses kept getting fogged. I could not read very long through the foggy lenses which meant most of my entertainment was taking off my glasses to watch them defog then putting them on again and try to read an email before they once again got too cloudy.

Occasionally I would get up and walk around the front of the hospital and the building across the street. No smoking signs are prominently displayed every where on the hospital campus including the parking garages. I smelled cigarette smoke on the stair of the parking garage and saw stamped out stubs on the cement between the parked cars. One 200+ pound woman was lighting up while sitting on a bench beneath two large Smoking Prohibited signs. While she was smoking, she obviously was not wearing a mask.

Bench where the woman was smoking during my first walk.–Note the cigarette butts under the bench.

The shuttle between the hospital and a nearby medical park runs every twenty minutes as does the JAUNT bus which offers point to point service for people with mobility or vision issues.

Valet parking has been replaced with electric golf carts that will take people to/from the parking garage and between the hospital and the Emily Couric Cancer Center across the street. Hospital staff in scrubs walk back and forth between the two buildings to go to the cafeteria, take a break, or carryout missions that are not discernible to the idle watcher.