Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bad Fun, or the pleasures of a remote door control

In a building where sometimes I work there is a back entrance that is for ambulances, mortuary drivers, deliveries, etc. There's a doorbell thing back there so that the arriving driver can alert the desk, and there's a security camera system so that the desk staff can see who's there and then remotely open the double doors with a switch.

Late at night in a high-stress job, lots of things seem really entertaining. The other night a mortuary driver arrived, his first visit to this particular building. Typically the drivers back up to the ambulance entrance, finish a bunch of paperwork (you don't do anything in this life including leave it without generating paperwork), and then exit their vehicles, remove the "cot," and ring the bell. We can watch them from the desk. This new driver didn't know the drill, so he called the main number on his cell phone. We told him we'd let him in. He didn't get out of his van, though--he started on the paperwork. Oh, joy--we hit the switch, and the double doors swung majestically open. They're on a timer, so about the time he opened his door and got out of his van they swung equally majestically closed. He looked a bit nonplussed as he got the cot out, and we timed it perfectly, opening the door again just as the second set of wheels hit the ground. Now he thinks the building is psychic, because at night you really don't notice the security camera. I guess if you time it just perfectly, you can have the doors swinging closed as the unfortunate soul outside is grabbing frantically at them. We ARE a simple people, we are, and easily entertained in the middle of the night.

Recently I saw my favorite mortuary driver, the one who loves to drive in rain and snow. It was a beautiful day and so he was a little bored with the road conditions, but he did entertain us with some rather remarkable retrieval stories. And one crucial piece of information which should perhaps be stencilled in lime green on every piece of rental medical equipment. If your loved one is ailing at home, and you are setting up a room in the house for your loved one's care, think about this: If it is ALL BUT IMPOSSIBLE to get the hospital bed into that room, it is going to be ALL BUT IMPOSSIBLE to get the loved one OUT of that room. Especially if said loved one is, not to put too fine a point on it, At Rest, Deceased, In His Glory, Merely Sleeping, etc., etc. I am advised that locations which require negotiation of spiral staircases, and basement locations, and locations down long twisty halls, are popular but not logistically sensible. I know, I know, it seems weird, but just let Great-Uncle Cuthbert snooze in the middle of the living room in his rental bed and recliner. Great-Uncle Cuthbert will enjoy the 52-inch flat screen TV same as anyone; the presence of the TV will encourage friends and relatives to keep him company, and all KINDS of things will be made more simple.

No, don't thank me, passing along these little tidbits of advice is just one more service I offer on this poorly-updated blog.