Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Good Job

"Hi! How are you today?! SO good to see you!"

The italics and the exclamation points don't come close to describing her smiling face and happy-to-see-me cheeks and her dancing eyes taking me in.

"Look at how well you are doing!"

And she knows, because she saw me at the very beginning.  She's part of the free-for-patients-and-visitors Valet Parking service at UAMC, the hospital that saved my life. 

"Has it really been three and a half years?  It feels like yesterday..... and forever ago"

And she's right.  I look at her face and I'm transported back to being driven, to needing a wheelchair, to lowering myself with exquisite care into the passenger seat, my injured leg following slowly, carefully..... and her body right there, between the open door and anything which might bump me.

She never looked worried but she was always alert.  She was happy to see me, but aware that some days my smiles were harder to find. 

"Look at you getting out of that car!" put a grin from ear to ear on my face.  I had been practicing fluidity as I exited The Schnozz, but she was the only one who'd noticed.  Of course, our realm is fairly constricted; it extends no further than the pick-up-and-drop-off sidewalk and driveway area in front of the hospital's main entrance.  I do the same thing every time she sees me; I'm just impressed that she keeps me in her mind.

And, it's not only me.  It's not only she.  It's everyone who wears the red polo shirts or scrubs out there with her. 

It's the twenty-something man wheeling the elderly, oxygen-dependent, frailer than frail woman over the ramp... backwards... slowly and gently and all the while murmuring something in her ear so she didn't experience that gut-wrenching-oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-fall feeling I remember so very well.  He was totally present in that moment.  His eyes were not wandering, he wasn't chewing gum, he was in no hurry. He was there.

It's an eastward facing series of benches up against the wall, and, covered by the portico, it's as shady and cool as an outdoor waiting space can be in Tucson in June. The car keys are separated from the house keys, the door is held open as you exit and enter your vehicle, parking is haphazard and uses all three or four lanes so no one can zoom through and create chaos. 

It is the most organized disorderly process I've ever seen.  It answers to its own rhythm, set in the key of smiles.

Oh, did I mention the best part? 

There is no tipping. 

They are professionals, just like the staff inside the doors.


  1. I love that the valet parking at one of the hospitals in our area (that also has doctor's offices in it) is free and no tipping. It's all paid for by the hospital. It's really great when it's very cold out and you have a sick little guy. I love most people in the medical profession--at least the ones I see. They are thoughtful, kind and soothing. Makes going to the dr so much better. My kids love their pediatrician. They love her so much that whenever they get a minor scrape, they want to go see her. Makes me laugh 'cause it's hard to get kids to the doctor.

    Hope you are having a great day.

    Megan xxx

  2. One of our hospitals has this service and I utilized it yesterday with yet another friend who cannot manage for herself. I drove her there for a heart test, but it's her hips that are worn out and no longer of any use. The young man who valeted my car got us the wheelchair, a new one with a different steering and braking system than I've used before so he had to demonstrate. He waited, conscious of my friend's very slow, deliberate removal from the car. I love this service and wish the big downtown medical center also had it as the parking there is unbelievably bad.


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