Going to doctor's appointments is just a normal part of our week, and because of the various needs of various children, we see a lot of different doctors. I have it pretty much down to a science of where to park and what vehicle I need to park there. Some offices have a great parking situation and others not so much. Some involve low ceiling-ed parking garages that our little sedan barely seems to fit in and others have wide open parking lots. I've learned which car I need to drive to which appointment and J. and I plan ahead accordingly, constantly switching cars. As much as I like to drive the little sedan, it also means that it will be a day where we cannot all go together as a group since we don't fit. It's pretty much a first world problem and not one I spend thinking too much time about.
Well, until this morning.
H. and head out to her quarterly eye doctor appointment in the van. This office is in a suburb and has no parking garage. I have never thought twice about taking the van here and it has never been an issue in the past two years we have been going to this particular office. I do a quick trip around the parking lot to see if there are any open spaces because then I do not have to wait around for the valet guy to bring me the van. As usual, no open spaces, so we head to the free valet parking. So far, nothing about this visit has been unusual. We do this little dance every three months.
I pull up to the curb, turn off the van, hop out, and prepare to give the key to the valet guy, when suddenly, I feel as though I have fallen down the rabbit hole. "We can't park that," Mr. Valet Guy helpfully tells me.
"There's a spot right over there," I say, pointing to the valet area, thinking he didn't think he had an open spot.
"No, the van. We can't park it there," he tries to clarify.
"Um, it will fit. Trust me," I reply, thinking to myself of the hilarity involved when the short almost-50 mother-type can park the giant van better than the very large, macho-type valet guy.
"No. We aren't allowed to park that here. It is too long. You can't drive that here." The light dawns. It is not that he can't park the van, it's that he won't.
At this point, I will draw a veil over the next little bit of conversation where I strongly pointed out that a) if this is the vehicle I had available to drive, what exactly did he expect me to arrive in? b) I have been coming here for many years and this van has never been an issue (besides 'no vans' is not even on the sign) and c) the van most certainly will fit in just about every spot in the lot. I may or may not have raised by voice, and by the time the attention of everyone at the curb was caught, another valet guy hustled over, took my key, and said it would be fine.
But I'm still annoyed. So, NorthShore University Health System, let's really stop and think about what your valet guy was telling me. When there is no physical reason why I can't park my van (a too short parking garage, for instance), it makes me wonder why your representative tells me I can't drive my van. It's not as though I look at the multiple vehicles in my driveway and say, "Gee, I love driving 15-passenger vans. I'll leave the Mini Cooper or the Maserati at home and drive the fun car." No one chooses to drive a 15-passenger van for the fun of it. We who do, drive them because we have to. We either have too many children to fit in a more acceptable vehicle or it is because a family member has a mobility issue and the larger vans work well for a wheelchair. If we are to travel together, it must be in a big van. To say my van is unacceptable is to say my family (and its need for a larger vehicle) is unacceptable. Do you really want to go there? (And for the record, I could have easily parked my van in the open spots available in the valet area. They were exactly the size of parking spot I park in all the time.)
OK, vent over. Here is the good news from H.'s eye doctor appointment. First, she is stable enough that we now only need to back once a year from now on. Hooray! I'm always thankful for fewer doctor's appointments. Second, the astigmatism, which was significant, is now nearly gone from her eyes. This is pretty amazing. Third, oddly, her prescription has now moved from a near-sighted prescription (in the -2 range), to a far-sighted one (+2). The doctor agrees that this is more than a little odd, but not something to be alarmed about.