We were packed and well stocked with Very Vanilla Soy milk. The car was gassed up and I had even been to the Bank. Arrangements had been made for Jimmy to spend a couple of nights with a friend so that he could get to school. One laptop and $1000 later, I was ready to work remotely, all necessary preparations and precautions had been made to ensure smooth sailing.
We left extra early to allow for traffic during this wet, miserable day.
The Doodle began getting sick last night with a fever…a little gift Jimmy brought home from school last week. I can tell when Dom is feeling icky, because he gets even more unbelievably clingy. With one hand in my shirt for comfort, if I even think about getting up to pee, he cries. Not just any cry or sickly whimper, but by the time I have wiped he is in full-blown hysteria.
Being the smart, forward thinker I am, I called Stanford this morning and spoke to a woman in Admitting. I told her Dominic had a 100 degree fever and asked should we still come in for the appointment? The perky voice on the phone assured me, “Well, I don’t see why not…” And so we were off. 3 hours to get to Palo Alto, we made it just in time for our appointment. The Valet took the car and I loaded the Doodle into a familiar red Radio Flyer wagon, like the kind he loves so very much at home.
We made our way into the hospital and were immobilized by a very vigilant Security Guard who I will call "Lupe". Lupe and his associate Nurse began asking us a barrage of health related questions before they would allow us any further into the hospital. Now the Doodle was crying. Again. Lupe wanted to know if anyone in our family had been sick with a fever, cold, sore throat, stuffy nose, rash, vomiting, etc. I explained that Dominic had just began getting sick the night before and had a fever. At that moment, you could see the look of terror and excitement in Lupe’s eyes. This could be his big break he thought to himself. I could see his chest puff up a little bit when he insisted that the Doodle and I get a mask on immediately. He quickly phoned his Supervisor and started speaking in really fast Spanish.
The Nurse just stood there and stared at us with wild eyes. She told us to have a seat and not touch anything. For the first time in my life, I felt what it might feel like to have the Plague and not figuratively speaking. I thought the next call might just be to the Center for Disease Control and that we would be featured on KGO News later this evening.
One hour later, after Lupe and the Nurse quietly consulted with the highest of higher management, a woman came down to the lobby wearing a too small Ann Taylor suit and bad shoes, where we were sitting and told us to "Go Home". Dumbfounded, I had to ask her to please repeat herself, because I thought for a moment she was sending us home-- After we just drove 3 hours and after I had confirmed that we were still supposed to come in for our long-awaited appointment.
“Come on, I’m being Punked right”? I said.Any minute, Ashton was going to peak around the corner with his camera crew and Lupe and the Nurse were in on it the whole time. What kidders.
“No”, she said flatly, “We can’t take any chances here, and don’t have a private
room to quarantine you in, so we have to ask you to leave”.
“Ummmm. Maybe I’m in the wrong place? I thought I was in a hospital,
you know, for sick people??? Did I accidently end up in a bank or the DMV or
something?” I snapped.
At that point, I was at a complete loss of words and for me that is a rare moment. Before the tears could well up in my eyes, I drug the wagon full of our crap out the lobby door and waited another eternity for the Valet Guy to bring me my germ infested car.
Now, I’m a smart person, I am aware of the whole Pandemic Swine Flu going around but shouldn’t they have at least tested us first before they sent us home? Is that really very responsible on the part of one of our country’s finest hospitals to turn away a sick child? A child they assumed might have the Swine Flue? WTF?
2 ½ hours and one poopy diaper later, we made it back home. Oh, the irony.