Memories and Musings: Checkin’ In . . .

Published 2:01 pm Monday, March 23, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Gene Gallelli 

As if it isn’t annoying enough to have a three-hour drive to check into a Raleigh hospital for surgery, they “frosted the cake” by insisting I be there by 7:30 in the morning. It forces the question: When was the last time you had a medical, dental, ANY appointment that was on time? Usually, you just lose sleep and miss dinner.

So . . . the choices became to leave home at 4 a.m. or stay in Raleigh the night before, somewhere. We chose the latter thanks to a granddaughter with an apartment in the city.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

Of course, I had already been given my “shower kit” — two gift-wrapped hygienic, soap-filled sponges — for use in the shower the morning of check-in. (It’s difficult trying to shower while trying to read the directions that came with the soap kit.)

Directions for checking in were very specific: “Enter the hospital and take an immediate right! If you pass the reception desk, you’ve gone too far.” Was this some sort of directions test, I wondered, or was it Medical Monopoly? It made me wonder if I would collect $200 for passing the reception desk.

Anyway, I made the immediate right turn and found myself in a space with two manned booths and a small waiting area. I sat down and waited, and waited, and waited.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. — I had been there since 7:20 — a nice lady came over and asked me what I was waiting for! When I told her I was scheduled for two surgeries, she replied, “Did you sign in?” Sign in! What! Where? We’re they having some kind of surgery sale or inter-hospital competition?

After I signed in — by the way, there was only one other name on the list — the same nice lady called me to her cubicle so I could verify my name, birth date, billing address, and enough additional, personal information to validate that “they” already know more about me than I know about myself.

After being directed to another rather large waiting room, I picked up an old copy of “Sports Illustrated” and while flipping through the pages a door opened and I was beckoned by a reasonable facsimile of my last name into a small office with one other door. Once inside and after being told what was going to happen, the nice lady asked if I had any questions. Suddenly the “other door” opened and a smiling nurse appeared.

It was finally game time!

I was escorted to a small room, where another nurse was waiting, and given a small plastic bag — think grocery store — in which to put my shoes, socks, pants, shirt, shoes, and coat and then helped into an air conditioned hospital gown.

Before I almost froze to death, the clock on the wall said it was almost noon.

The rest is history!

Gene Gallelli was Associate Superintendent of the Dare County Schools for eight years. He received his Doctor of Education degree from East Carolina University, where he taught and supervised students studying to become school administrators.



Guest Opinion: Hoarders and helpers have emerged as a result of the COVID crisis; be one of the good guys