Posted by Kim Leonard
I’m not a hospital person. I have some friends who are the first to show up with flowers and cards to visit pals when they’re attached to an IV, but that’s not really my jam. I’ll be the one to call or write a silly limerick or haiku and have it ready for them when they get home.
Of course, one can’t always avoid hospitals altogether. Whether it’s for the joyous occasion of welcoming a new baby into the world or the heartbreaking trial of saying a final goodbye to a loved one, there will inevitably be a time where you find yourself in one, sometimes for days or weeks on end.
A few months ago I found myself stuck in the hospital after my husband had a stroke. It was one of those “How would you react in a crisis situation?” moments where, as I was with the EMT’s loading him into the ambulance, they asked “Which hospital?”. Instinct kicked in and I heard “CRMC” come out of my mouth without thinking. Just the month before I had taken a tour of Community Regional Medical Center with my Downtown Academy class and I had been blown away by the facility. Top notch trauma, heart and ER- this is where hospitals from all over California send people who need that extra level of care. The ER is massive. We’re talking like multiple football fields worth of space to treat everything from a boo-boo to cardiac arrest.
So the ambulance hurtled toward CRMC with my husband in it, beginning what would become the scariest week of both of our lives.
When you go to a hospital you expect a certain amount of surprises- like “Whoa! That ambulance joyride is gonna cost me HOW MUCH?” or “Surprise, we suspect meningitis so you’re on lockdown!”
What I wasn’t expecting was to find some good surprises, too. So here they are- in case you find yourself stuck at CRMC for any length of time, walking the halls while your loved one is in surgery.
First off, there’s a Subway in the cafeteria. I’m not a die hard fan of 5-5-5-dollar footlongs or anything, but when your mind is racing with “What if’s”, the familiarity and knowing what to expect from a Veggie De-Lite is a huge relief. Also, I was just not having the “choose your own adventure” nature of the cafeteria.
Second, and probably most importantly, THERE IS A PEET’S COFFEE IN THE GIFT SHOP.
SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP. A PEETS. RIGHT HERE IN DOWNTOWN FRESNO.
Seriously, how is this not front page news? I visited the coffee shop at least twice a day while he was in there. Shush, it’s the little things.
Finally, across the street from the hospital is a teeny little sandwich shop called Big D’s Tri Tip at Tuolumne near the tracks on this funky-shaped little lot.
It’s super cute, fast, affordable and will fill you up with a perfect Turkey Bacon Avocado while you’re waiting for them to return from an MRI. Just getting out of the hospital for 30 minutes can be such a game-changer for your mindset when you’re absorbing all of these new terms and information as the doctors work through what the cause of a problem might be. Walking across the tracks offers just enough separation to better process things.
Plus, the food is GOOD.
I sincerely hope you don’t find yourself in the hospital, as a patient or as a patient’s loved one. In case you do end up with hours, days, weeks wandering around CRMC be sure to check these things out and always look for ways to step away from the situation and regroup. The staff, nurses and doctors are amazing so you can know you’re in good hands.