Waiting for the Optician (or someone like him)

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Friedman Optical, Culver City. March 2014

When I was working full time for a major post-production facility, one of the benefits was full medical insurance including optical. The photo is of the last time I visited this optician with my insurance for my free eye exam and pair of glasses. With the loss of my ‘vision’ insurance, I now see an ophthalmologist for my eye-care needs which is covered by my current medical insurance. I buy the glasses and the packs of contacts at Costco.

I began wearing glasses at age 10 when I realized that by squinting, the writing on the blackboard at school became clearer. In high school I sported old fashioned wire rimmed spectacles with rose-tinted lenses. I looked like a cross between Jerry Garcia and John Lenon. Later I graduated to soft contact lenses which gave me my peripheral vision back, it was nearly as much a revelation as when I put on glasses for the first time and the world snapped into clear focus.

For the past many years I have worn “disposable” lenses which advertise the ability to sleep with them in. One of the things I hated about contact lenses, in fact the only downside, is having to take them out and fuss with them. In the early days, we would have to remove them nightly, put them into a special appliance and disinfect them by heating. What a royal pain.

Now, with this latest breakthrough in optical science, I could go for weeks without having to touch them; my ophthalmologist was horrified to learn that. She has gradually convinced me to take them out every couple of days to clean and disinfect with a new all-in-one solution. No heat necessary.

 

Scottsdale Medical Care

We visited my cousin in Phoenix, well, actually Scottsdale a few times during 2014. Both she and her mother had some medical challenges and we found ourselves spending a bit of time in hospitals. Fortunately, nothing serious. Mostly testing.  As I have observed, hospitals are rich sources of material for the Waiting Room Project. From cavernous waiting arenas, to a couple of chairs and a plant, you can find plenty of variety, with and without people. There is a lot of waiting going on all over the building. My favorite of this series is the first one in the upper left. Which one do you like?

Kaiser Medical Center, WLA

I had taken my mom to Kaiser for some tests before a minor procedure she was having. While she waited, I prowled the halls looking for some of the multitude of waiting areas found in any hospital. These are two of the most interesting photos.

The West LA medical center is huge. Several buildings cluster around a central courtyard: the main hospital, medical offices, gift shop, cafeteria, parking structure – all the usual suspects. More buildings lurk behind the main wing. It serves thousands of people daily many of whom will wait in these rooms, or ones just like them.

Cedars Sinai Emergency Room

Late in July, while we were having lunch, Jake complained about pain in his legs and  back. It became so severe we ended up in the emergency room late that afternoon and into the evening. Once he was seen, tests proved inconclusive, and in the interest of caution, they admitted him to the hospital pending more tests by the neurosurgeon. After a couple of days, they couldn’t find anything specifically wrong with him other than his chronic disk issues, and discharged him. But during his brief sojourn we had ample time to explore the vast and varied waiting areas in the hospital. The top three are of the emergency room proper and an adjoining area. The bottom two are late the next night as we were leaving the hospital. The photograph at the bottom right pretty much sums up the entire hospital waiting experience. A long lonely dimly lit corridor stretching into the distance, a solitary figure hunched over his phone waiting for …

5th Floor Elevator Lobby

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Medical Building, Santa Monica. July 2013

I spotted these two chairs outside an elevator in my oral surgeon’s building. What struck me as odd was why do you need such comfy chairs to wait for the elevator? Actually, why chairs at all? Are the elevators really so slow that you might want to sit down for the minute or so it takes for the doors to open, or did the designers of this building know that it would take far longer? At least there aren’t any magazines on the table. That would bode ill for anyone in a hurry. Is the elevator ride so exhausting that you will have to sit a moment to catch your breath before venturing down the hall to your appointment? It’s only the 5th floor. Someone sat there long enough to drink their water. But for how long? Just another ‘Waiting Room’ mystery.

USC Downtown

This is where Jake received treatments for his back. The USC Spine Center east of Downtown LA. We were there for his first treatment early in the morning of April 15. There wasn’t a soul in the huge waiting room. It was kinda eerie. While he was getting treated with an injection to his spine, I took these photos and several more. There are dozens of little waiting areas scattered throughout hospital along with larger rooms. When you go to USC, plan to wait for a while, wherever you are. If you look closely at the TV on the wall,  notice it is reporting on the Boston Marathon bombing that had happened just hours earlier. Odd how one can capture a bit of history inadvertently. We went back several times for more treatments, but the waiting area was always teeming with people. In these photos, the space waits expectantly for the rush of people that will fill it in just a few moments.

Convenient, Affordable, Quality Care

At some point in each of our lives, a doctor will prescribe a medication for us. That means you have to go to the pharmacy to pick up the filled prescription. Happens I have a few prescriptions I take regularly, so I am a frequent filler. At least once a month I make the trip for refills; I have spent an inordinate amount of time in the pick-up line at our local CVS, and other nearby pharmacies. At CVS they have the actual pick-up line, marked by a carpeted red arrow on the floor, and, if you want to wait while they count the pills into the bottle,  the waiting area, which doubles for the pharmacy and the “Minute Clinic”. At the Minute Clinic you can wait to get flu shots, wait while your kid gets a physical for sports or summer camp, or wait to have a Physicians Assistant or RN treat any number of minor ailments. Of course timing is everything, some days the line stretched halfway down the isle. Having a 24 hour pharmacy is handy for those 2 AM pickups so you can avoid the wait altogether.