Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why me?

Yet another funny story to relate today: Yesterday, I traveled to Tulsa to be with my wife's parents as my father-in-law had a minor procedure to replace the battery in his pace maker. (That's not the funny part) Just after they had taken him into surgery, I asked my mother-in-law if she had had lunch yet. She said "no", so I offered to go get her and my sister-in-law something from the hospital cafeteria.

Let's just say it was an adventure.

St. Francis Hospital is quite large and has many banks of elevators and several different 'hospitals' or 'clinics' within the complex. We were in the Heart Center. I tried to make my way to the cafeteria, but I found myself outside at entrance to the Heart Center. I decided that instead of going back through the maze of corridors, I would simply walk around to the front main entrance where I could find my way from there. I forgot that it was 100 degrees and the short walk was quite hot!

I finally found the "Food Court". I guess modern hospitals are too fancy to have cafeterias. This one sells Starbuck's coffee... In any case, most of the courts within the Food Court were closed. All my in-laws wanted was a nice ham or chicken sandwich. The Deli Court was closed. As was the Pizza Court, Mexican Court, Soup Court, and one or two others that I can't recall.

The only "court" that was open was the Grill. They had one woman working as hard as she could frying burgers. The line wrapped around the salad bar and the donut cabinet. I had passed a vending machine room, so I thought I might try my luck there.

As I found the vending machines, I was happy to see one that sold sandwiches. Since it was about 2:30, there was only one sandwich left in the machine. It was $3.75. All I had was a $20 bill and the machines didn't take ATM cards. There was a change machine that said it accepted all paper denominations up to $20. I honestly figured that if you put in a $20 bill, you'd get back $5 worth of quarters and paper money to make up the difference.

Boy! Was I wrong!!

As I finally got the machine to accept my $20, it started spitting out quarters. It threw quarters on the floor and finally stopped. Just as I had retrieved all the quarters out of the holder and off the floor, it started spewing coins again! Fortunately, some of the coins were dollar coins, everything from Susan B. Antony, Sacajawea and the new Presidential dollars.

I finally recovered from that, then tried to buy the lone sandwich. I punched the buttons and made the sandwich come around to where I could pull back the little latch and get my goods. I dutifully deposited 3 dollar coins and 3 quarters.


I tried pulling on the little latch, but it kept saying "off line". I honestly had no idea what that meant, so I kept pulling latches and pushing buttons. Finally, I decided I'd start over, so I hit the "coin return" button.

I got exactly .55 back. Five dimes and a nickel. Go figure.

I thought about giving up, but then I remember my mother-in-law and that she was hungry, so I decided to try it again.


My sister-in-law also wanted a sandwich, but she wasn't going to get one. She did say she'd like some plain potato chips. Wouldn't you know that the vending machine didn't sell plain potato chips?!?

BBQ Fritos, BBQ chips, wavy Sun Chips, Funions, Doritos were all in abundance. But no Lays...

So, I buy her the Dr. Pepper she asked for and a bag of Cheese-its. I get my mother-in-law the bottle of water she requested. I take the $10.95 worth of vending machine lunch back up to the Cardio-Out-Patient-Surgery-Waiting-Room (after I had to stop and ask directions twice) just in time for them to call and say that my father-in-law was out of surgery and we could come back and meet him in the recovery room!

They drank the Dr. Pepper and water. I don't know what happened to the sandwich and Cheese-its.

Why do things like this always happen to me?


Monk-in-Training said...

WOW, what a mess.

I know there is a cafeteria there, I have eaten there many times, though it can be hard to find.

Rick Boyne said...

What I really want to know is if they have "clergy" parking!

Anonymous said...

Twenty years ago my Mom had to spend 5 days in the hospital. Dad discovered that their cafeteria was not only good, they didn't charge sales tax! So for the next 10 years, until Mom died, they ate Sunday lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Just to save sales tax!