Sales representatives at the various senior living communities mentioned that transportation for errands or medical visits could be provided. I paid little attention. Unlike the characters in the movie Trains, Planes, and Automobiles who had no ride, we had our own transportation. We were bringing our cars. Oh yeah, I had that all figured out.
And then there was the day in January - the day one of us was scheduled for important outpatient surgery. Freezing rain and snow were forecast. Caught in a COVID surge, we had waited weeks for the appointment. We would have to go.
The hospital is nearby, but both of us feared the early-morning drive on packed snow. Our car, protected only by a carport, would be ice cold. The windshield would need to be scraped. On our return to the apartment, the drugged and in-pain patient would have to navigate from car to exterior door on slick sidewalks.
Back in the summer when we signed the agreement and received information papers about the community, we were given a scheduling form for medical (and other) transportation. Now, in winter, I really looked at the transportation information. Four days a week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., transportation was available within a ten-mile radius. The hospital was within the radius. Surprisingly, a ten-mile area covered several hospitals, surgery centers, and medical offices. We signed up for a ride.
The morning of the surgery, Bob, a tall, congenial fellow who could drive any of the two buses or sedans, led us from the lobby. Under the portico, the warm, ice-free car waited.
Bob drove us up to the hospital outpatient surgery door and walked us both inside, and left us there.
When the surgery was over and we were ready to leave, we telephoned Bob and he returned. Warm car at the ready. He drove us back to the lobby entrance and hovered as we shuffled inside. (Remember, this is Independent Living. No holding, lifting, or major helping by staff.) Mary, at the front desk, lent us a wheelchair and walker for a couple of days.
Since then, we have used medical transportation on other cold or snowy days. Sometimes we went in one of the buses, and sometimes one of the cars took us; but the ride was always warm, prompt, and door-to-door.
Buses, cars, and wheelchairs: it’s not quite trains, planes, and automobiles; but it’s close enough. Actually, for us, it’s better.