As my fellow country folk were celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of our very gracious majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, I was working. I did watch as much as was broadcast on BBC America, but I was not given any compassionate leave! My anticipation that the first full week of school holidays would be quiet, was not to be so. The traffic was much lighter, but the work, fortunately, was flowing. Apart from the couple of occasions when I had to accompany Matnee (my Samamtha) for a couple of appointments, I was chained to my desk.
During Wednesday afternoon the roar of engines filled the air, and the highways were beginning to show signs of the weekend to come. The ROT (Republic of Texas) Motorbike Rally was about to begin, and by Thursday evening, the four wheeled vehicle was in the minority.
Traffic on Friday morning was virtually non-existent, and we drove to Joe for our morning fix. Our very in depth political twenty minute conversation came to its usual abrupt end, when we had to leave for the office. As the afternoon approached, the phones stopped ringing, constantly, and there was a sense that things could slow down before the weekend. However, just as I had managed to create a space for lunch, it was announced that someone would have to go and pick up some medical records from the hospital, as all the process servers were out of the office, and not due back in the foreseeable future. Samantha offered to drive me! Realising that this was an opportunity to leave my self imposed prison, and have a change of scenery, I agreed to be the courier, and we attempted to find the address Dana had provided, which was about twenty minutes away. As we arrived at the facility, I called my contact, Anna, to see which would be the most efficient entrance to use, in order to access her office. She told me that I could enter at any point, and take the elevator down one level, and follow the signs to 'Medical Records'. The first elevator I came to did not have the ability to 'go down', and I walked through to the other end of the hospital. The elevators at the 'North Lobby', were also not equipped to descend. I found signs for 'Medical Records', but they stopped abruptly as I reached the end of the corridor. Feeling helpless, I called Anna, once again. Her response was very curt. 'I told you how to get here. Take any elevator, and go down one level. You will see the signs!' I explained that all the elevators appeared to be going in one direction, and that was 'up'. I can only assume that Anna came from a military background, as her orders came across loud and clear. 'All the elevators go down. I told you what to do!' I mumbled something that was not, 'Yes ma'am', and scurried off to find an elevator that would conform to her command. As I was wandering the deserted corridors, I happened upon a door that was clearly marked, 'Medical Records'. I deduced that I must have, somehow, made my way to the lower level without using artificial means. Relief soon turned to disappointment. The personnel in the room did not know Anna. However, she could get my medical records. Explaining that I was not a patient at this hospital did not sit well with the overly helpful lady, who had permitted my entrance. I realised, all too late, that visitors in this particular area of the medical establishment, were few and far between. 'Don't go', she demanded, as I neared the door; 'I can look for the records you need. Who is the patient'. I had absolutely no idea as to the identity of the patient. I had merely been told to ask for Anna. Questions came at me like arrows from a bow. Why was I there if I was not a patient? Why was I looking for records of someone I didn't know? What was I looking for? Where was I a patient? I thought it was only in the movies that people backed up, and tried to find the door handle with their hands behind their back. The words, 'Don't go!' once again boomed through the closet that was her office, and she once again insisted she could find my records. Stepping out of the twilight zone, I felt the need for therapy, and wondered if I would, indeed, become a patient before my task had been accomplished!
Fortunately, I had not been transported too far beyond the universe, and espied two humanoids coming towards me. In response to their comment that I looked lost, I explained that I was trying to find Medical Records, and was rather concerned that I was losing my mind. 'You are in the right place', was not a very comforting reply. Putting my trust in this young couple, I told them that I needed to get down to the lower level. It appeared that I was as low as I could get. 'Aint that the truth', was what came forth! They were prepared to be my guides, and took me back along the corridor to a different 'Medical Records'. All was well, until they realised it was not the right place, and I needed to go along to the next door. How I restrained myself from huddling in the foetus position on the floor, is beyond me. All I could say was, 'Please don't send me back in there. She is mad!' My perception, apparently, had not been one of over-reaction, as they looked at each other, nodded, and knocked on the door which had first been suggested. I was welcomed, not as enthusiastically, but kindly, into the room. Sympathy was forthcoming, and pity taken upon me, as the receptionist called the number I provided for Anna. 'Where are you?', she spoke into the moutpiece, and then, after a couple of 'uh huh's', and 'hmmm's', she looked at me, and repeated, 'does she have an accent?' Emphatically, I responded, 'Yes! She does have an accent!' Anna was at Breckenridge, the facility that is less than five minutes drive from the office. Relief was evident, as I knew I could leave without having to attend outpatient rehabilitation, and it had all been a terrible mistake!
I walked back down the corridor, called Dana to let him know we had been on a wild goose chase, and as I told him, 'Anna is at Breckenridge', the nice young couple who had helped me earlier appeared around the corner. 'Ahhh', they said in unison, as I smiled and mouthed a 'thank you'. Leaving the hospital was effortless. Finding Samantha was less simple. I had exited into the waste disposal courtyard, and had to establish a route back to the main path. With my battery signal blinking orange, I called Samantha, who told me not to move; she would find me. Having received orders for the second time that afternoon, I was not in a fit state to argue, but then spotted the mini, with the bobble on the Ariel, heading in the opposite direction. Insisting that Samantha 'stay put', I ran, in my new red heels, to the car, fell in, and told her to 'get out of here!'
We drove to the 'other' hospital, and she pulled up at the entrance. I was greeted by one receptionist, who asked if she could help me. 'Medical Records!', I exclaimed. Her assistant, smiled, and said, '2nd floor'. My outburst was rather shocking, for both him and for me. 'Noooo', I cried. 'It's down a level'. The receptionist smiled, slightly, and told me to take the elevator to 'LL'. I obeyed. The signs were very clear, and I found Anna, who was less than congenial, until I showed her the note on my paper, which had a completely different address. She handed me the records and apologised for my being given wrong information, but not for shouting at me! I accepted what she was willing to give, and left the building, mission accomplished.
Over an hour after we had departed, we arrived back at the office. Samantha left early and I was once again chained to my desk, as the mailman had deposited another pile of post for me to deal with.
I did manage to leave the office, while it was still Friday, although we were slightly later than the usual quitting time. My outing did nothing to aleviate the work, and the change was not as good as a rest! However, at 87, her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, carries on with a smile and a wave, and I should follow her example. Well done ma'am! (and that is ma'am as in calm, rather than ma'am as in ham). I did actually leave the office on another mission of mercy, towards the end of the afternoon, but enough is as food as a feast, as the saying goes, and that particular outing really is....another story.