You Can’t Sleep in the Hospital Parking Lot


Last week I showed up 15 minutes late for my physical therapy appointment. Not surprisingly, the desk clerk quickly turned me away as my appointments only typically last 30 minutes. While I understand the concept – show up on time or don’t show up – morning traffic on 280 is nothing if not unpredictable, and I was more than a little irritated to make the drive to the hospital only to be crisply rebuffed. To compensate, this week I got up a full hour earlier and was out the door for my 8:30 appointment by seven sharp. This put me in the Kaiser parking lot by approximtely…7:15. (Remember what I said about the traffic?)

What’s a girl to do with a full hour plus to kill in a hospital parking lot? Knowing that the office didn’t take latecomers, I assumed the runes would be much the same for early-birds. With my luck, turning around and going home would likely net me the same result as last week. So, I went for the next best thing. Sleep in the car. Mind you, sleeping upright for me is a challenge. Sleeping upright with a broken collarbone is even more so. Sleeping upright, with a broken collarbone, in a tiny Beetle convertible? Nigh on impossible. (Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that the sun is out and shining?) But I had over an hour to kill and figured, with any luck, I could net a full 10-15 minutes of sleep when you account for the time it would take to get to sleep and the time it would take to walk into the office. I even set the alarm on my iPhone in anticipation.

Back support pillow in place, windows rolled up, head lolling to one side, I attempted the impossible. Car nap. I tossed and turned a bit – as much as is possible in the front seat of a Bug at least – and eventually found a comfortable-ish spot. I started to doze.

Taptaptap.

What the heck? Must be imagining things in my pseudo-sleep state. Grunt and turn head.

Taptaptaptap.

Open eyes…slooooooowly

And there he was. Hospital parking lot security guy. He seemed friendly enough. Something akin to my grandfather when he was young-ish. I cracked the window.

“What’s up?”

“Are you OK?”

*Checks self over* “Yeah, fine. Just catching a nap before my PT appointment at 8:30.”

“OK, I just had to check because…”

At this point he launches into a story about how someone died (or might have died. He can’t really give details) in the parking lot of the hospital. They’d come for help, but couldn’t get out and the guards just through the person was asleep and never checked. It was hours later… And now the policy states that… and so forth and so on. You get the idea. And while I was completely sympathetic to his plight at having to follow policy (and was utterly polite during the whole conversation. A huge feat for pre-eight am talks), I have to confess to being just a twinge annoyed that I somehow missed out again on the elusive experience that is car nap. I tried (unsuccessfully) to reclaim the sleep that I almost had, but eventually gave up in favor of watching Hospital Parking Lot Security Guy interrupt other people’s naps. It sorta made me feel better to know I wasn’t the only one suffering.

And this whole story prefaces what was an otherwise uneventful physical therapy appointment. I started strength training, which involves me standing in different positions and pulling on an over-large rubberband. And, for the record, I am on the level ONE rubberband, which is not the level zero, which makes me feel better. The physical therapist can’t clear me to ride, but she did say that my progress is excellent. My arm is straighter than ever, and hopefully the strength training will bring back enough stability that my arm raises start improving. Overall, good news, but uneventful. Hence my lesson for the day instead – you can’t sleep in the hospital parking lot.

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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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