Tuesday, April 5


I was walking my dog and, out of boredom, I thought we might try a different route. We found ourselves passing Doctor's Hospital, a small neighborhood medical center I hadn’t been around in quite some time. I was always amused by the redundancy of the name, wondering if there was also a Lawyer's Court or a Banker's Savings and Loan. Still, I had many - I won't say fond, but interesting - memories of this place.

When my father, visiting from California, got food poisoning from some questionable shellfish, this was the emergency room we rushed to. When I fell in a snow bank while chasing a bus this is where I had my meniscus ‘scoped. And during a recent blackout, this was the only place where you could find a flushable toilet.

There was a fence of large, blue planks surrounding the place. "Must be renovating", I thought but my heart sank as I looked through a hole in the fence and saw only a pile of rubble. They had torn down my hospital!

I am used to the changing architecture that is common in any urban center. I've seen a favorite news stand replaced by an upscale coffee shop. I've seen an inexpensive ethnic restaurant replace by an upscale ice cream shop. I've seen a barber shop offering $12 haircuts replaced by an upscale fingernail painting concern. These things I have seen and I have accepted. But a hospital is one of those buildings I don't think of as transitory. Like a church or historic government building, a hospital should stand for a thousand years. My God, if they can tear down a hospital, what's next? St. Patrick's Cathedral?

I'm eager to see what replaces the hospital. Maybe a Starbucks Medical Center offering blood pressure tests for three sizes of patients - Tall, Grande, and Humongo. Perhaps a Pinky's Nails and Surgical Suite offering the Gall-Bladder-Surgery-And- French- Tips combo. Or the Cold Stone Creamery Hospice where the feeding tube includes your choice of toppings.

Someday I hope to see an upscale coffee shop replaced by an upscale nail shop. That will be the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it.

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