Elevators (I Told You I was Sick S1:E3)
We heard the siren's whine getting louder and louder until the ambulance parked on the street just below our hotel room.
"They're here!" said Alan as he strode over to prop open the door of our room. Because our room was on the second floor, we both expected to see two EMTs immediately come crashing in to save the day. I mean, that's a reasonable expectation, right? An ambulance comes to a screeching halt beneath your window and a moment later there should be two guys throwing you onto a gurney. Nope. It was all - *crickets*.
The wait may have been five minutes on the clock. According to the seconds being thumped away inside my brain, it was closer to an hour and a half by the time an EMT strolled into our room.
Let's pause for a moment to consider why the second EMT and a gurney were nowhere to be seen. Below is an excerpt from the hotel's webpage. The red words are my own.
Built in 1910, the historic building was renovated in 2014 to become the "Fancy Hotel." Careful considerations were made to preserve the structure and legacy of the building with modern infusions. Inspiring works of art are displayed throughout the hotel; elevating style and sophistication while reflecting Houston’s eclectic personality. Guest rooms are adorned with elegant furnishings and include Netflix streaming access, stunning sculpted bathtubs and Nespresso coffee makers. iPads allow guests to order in-room dining or contact valet at the touch of their fingers. There are four elevators in the lobby that will send you soaring up to your floor where your room will be just steps away. Due to the preservation of the architectural integrity of the elevator shafts, the elevators are quaintly small. Of the three modern contraptions, only one will is large enough to hold an ambulance's gurney. Good luck with that.
The "preserv[ed] of the structure and legacy of the building" created havoc for Gurney EMT. To this day I laugh when I picture that guy trying elevator after elevator in order to find the perfect fit for "Cinderella's slipper".
The first elevator on the left at the "Fancy Hotel" will accommodate one ambulance gurney and one EMT with inches to spare.
Alas, the Gurney EMT pushed the hotel room door open either five minutes or an hour and a half later. He and his partner determined that I would be taking the "ride of shame" through the hotel lobby.
All loaded up (meaning Alan was carrying my purse), I was wheeled out of our room, down the hall, and to the elevators. Now, about the single elevator that can hold a gurney with a passenger and one EMT. Rule of Thumb: When the "down" button is pushed, you have no control over which elevator will come to your beck and call.
So, there we sat waiting for the "roomy" elevator. Ding! Here comes one! Wrong one. So, the down button was pushed again. Ding! The same elevator opens wondering why we didn't ride in it in the first place. Now there are four grown men - Alan, the EMTs and someone from the hotel - trying to figure out how to get rid of the useless elevator since they had already ruled out pushing the down button again.
"Someone needs to RIDE it down so that it has someplace to go!" There was a bit of discussion as they decided who would heroically ride in an elevator for no other reason than to keep it responding from the down button. Then, blah-blah-blah-yada-yada -yada, and I'm riding in the uber elevator on a gurney with one of the EMTs. And, the funny was about to get even funnier.
"Well, this is an embarrassing way to go through the hotel lobby," I said as I dry-heaved into the liner of a hotel ice bucket.
"Would you like for me to put a sheet over your head," the kind EMT asked.
Let that sink in a bit. Me rolling on a gurney in the hotel lobby with a sheet over my head?
"No thanks," I said, "I can keep this bucket over my face."
I imagined my sister, Kathy, in that elevator with me. She would have had the EMT recline that gurney so that I would be lying flat. A crisp white sheet would be ceremoniously draped over my body. She would have whispered instructions into my ear. "Wait until we get to the middle of the lobby. I'll tap your arm twice when the time is right."
There in the middle of the lobby with about twenty Looky-Lous sending up prayers for my eternal soul, she would tap-tap. On cue, I would slowly levitate my arms. It was then that Kathy would cry out, "SHE'S ALIVE! SHE'S ALIVE!"
I'll end today's story with a plea to all hotel web pages in cyberspace. Please add these words in your hotel description: "Included in the amenities are four gurney-width (or length) elevators." If there are no such elevators in your hotel, please add these words:
"OUR ELEVATORS ARE ONLY MEANT TO ACCOMMODATE HUMANS. TRY YOUR VERY BEST NOT TO HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY WHILE ENJOYING YOUR STAY WITH US."
You're welcome. There's another elevator story coming because we all know that lightning can strike twice.
In case you're wondering what was going on with me medically during this
episode of my journey...
The EMT "clocked" my BP going 200 (Systolic - top number) in a 120 zone. I can't remember the diastolic number (bottom) because the top number freaked me out. They said that I might just be having a "high BP episode" and that once the levels came down, I may be good to go. That's what I kept telling myself on the bumpy ride to the hospital...it's only an episode...it's only an episode. The EMT riding with me didn't help my state of mind because he was calling ahead to the hospital. Something about a 64YO female...possible stroke.