Thursday, December 6, 2007
Meals on Wheels
All joking aside, I think I just had the most awful, stressful 2 hours of my life? I thought you were supposed to feel "good" about doing volunteer work? I'm sure that's typically the case. Unfortunately, that's not the feeling I had today. Last night, as you may recall, I mentioned that Emma and I would be delivering Meals on Wheels today. I went onto mapquest and printed out all of the maps and directions I would need to deliver the meals on my route. We left plenty early to be sure to allow ample time for terrible road conditions, since it was snowing. I was too early for meal pick-up, so we circled the hospital a few times in hopes of getting a good parking spot when it was time to get the meals. Well, unfortunately, we didn't get the good parking place, but I found one nonetheless. I parked and told Emma I would be right back. On my way in to the hospital, I saw a lady from church (it's our church delivering meals all this month)come out with some coolers with #3 on them. I thought that was a bit strange, because I was delivering route 3. When I got inside the door, my coolers were not there. I quickly ran back outside to stop the gal and tell her she had my coolers. Well, she too, had route 3. I saw her sheet, and it was identical to mine. I was a bit confused and told her I would go in to check. She said she would wait and see, and to let her know. So, I went in to find out what the problem was. Well, the ancient, shriveled man that was sitting at the desk, shouldn't be sitting at that desk unless of course he wants to "help" people. I wandered through the hallways of the hospital until I found someone who I thought could help me. I stumbled upon an office of two RNs. I told them my problem and they looked up a number to call the man in charge. They had him on the phone and handed it off to me. I told the man who I was and what the problem was. He said he would call me right back. Before he hung up, I said, "Well, do you know this number?" He replies "Yes". I'm assuming he must have caller id. Anyway, it was taking forever, and I'm getting nervous because I still have Emma sitting outside in the car, which I know I shouldn't have, but I left running. I told the ladies I needed to run outside to get my daughter and they said they would take a message if he called back while I was gone. When I got outside I told the gal from church that they had mixed up the coolers and to go ahead and take that one and I would figure out what I should do. I then went to get Emma and we went back inside and wandered back through the halls to the office of the 2 nurses. They said he hadn't called back. I think Emma and I waited there for at least 5 minutes, maybe close to 10? Now, I know that doesn't seem like a long time, but when you're delivering meals that need to be warm, 10 minutes could be the end of that. One of the nurses came out asked me how many coolers were still there, and when I had come back in, there were still 2 sets of coolers. Well, by this time, one of those two sets were gone. So, it would make sense that I need to take the last set of coolers. Then, as we're looking at the list, I'm noticing addresses that are very unfamiliar to me. Then, the shriveled, ancient man at the desk said I had a phone call. Well, it was Mr. Meals on Wheels calling me back. He might have been a bit irritated that I wasn't there, but I'm not sure, it could have been my perception. He said he had been trying to call several times. Well, I guess that's why I asked him if he knew the number I was at. I guess it was just a little mixup, because as I'm standing there on the phone, I see a sign turned sideways (that you wouldn't see unless you are standing there on the phone) of a number to call if there were any problems. I suppose if I had seen the sign, I would have called from that phone. Anyway, I told him I was unfamiliar with the addresses. He asked if I was going to deliver them. I said I would, and asked if there was a time limit. He basically said, I guess they'll get them when they get them. So, I take the coolers and off we go. The first two addresses were a nightmare. They were apartments that weren't easy to find. We finally found the first one and luckily followed some people with keys to the building inside. (We apparently weren't at the front entrance). As we walk up the hall, I am not finding the number at all. I was looking for 101C, and I was seeing 101A. Well, we keep walking, finally to find a front desk, of which no one was sitting at. I then notice different hallways labeled A, B, and C. I find the correct hallway and start heading down it. We were slowed down a bit by a lady in a motorized wheelchair. Well, finally, when we get to the door, she stops. I asked if her name was So and so. Yes, that's me. Well, I'm sure she had just been to the front desk wondering where her lunch was. I apologized up and down about being late and explained why we were. She was very kind and we were off. I couldn't find the next address. I was starting to get all worked up, wanting to just quit. However, I knew I couldn't do that, or there would be several people not getting lunch today. I FINALLY found the apartment and delivered the meals. They were also very kind. Onto my next stop, I realized that I did recognize a few of the addresses. Well, earlier this year, when we delivered, this must have been the same route, there have just been many changes. THANK GOD for that. I NEVER would have found the next house. I remember the last time driving around and around this area and having people out walking watching me pass by them again and again. So, I thankfully didn't have this problem again. Well, we continue on, and I'm still panicked as I have several people on my list. Not to mention I have a little girl in the backseat now making dying noises because she's STARVING TO DEATH! She wants to know if she can eat the meals because they smell sooooooo good. I told her many times I needed her to be very quiet and good because I was completely stressed out because I couldn't find the houses. I drove ALL over south Bismarck, literally. Finally, I'm getting close to done, and I'm stopped at a house and am going through the coolers to find the right name. As I'm looking, I say outloud "Oh my God!" I thought I had delivered the wrong meal to the wrong house. Emma quickly says, "YOU SAID A BAD WORD, YOU SAID A BAD WORD!" "YES, I KNOW EMMA, I SHOULDN'T HAVE SAID THAT!" (I'm lucky that's what came out of my mouth, instead of what I was really thinking!) I discovered that I did NOT make a mistake, and I had delivered the meals to the correct addresses. Anyway, we stop at the second to last place, of which I had difficulty finding, and the lady was not very happy. I apologized up and down and side to side. She didn't care, as she gave me an evil look. I put her meal on her television tray as she asked me to do, noticing she has her medicine laying out, which I'm sure she was waiting to take with her meal. I told her again, I was sorry. She said it wouldn't be so bad, except now it was going to be cold. I would have offered to heat it up for her, except I had one more stop to make. I got outside the door and busted out bawling. I know Emma had to be confused. The last stop was one that I actually had made the last time we delivered, thank GOD! (I do want you to know I prayed and prayed this entire time for God to help me get these meals to these people who had nothing better to do than sit and watch the clock). Anyway, we made it to our last stop, and I remembered this couple from the last time. THEY WERE SO NICE! THANK YOU GOD! They were THRILLED to death to see Emma. I apologized over and over and they were SO NICE. That was definitely the only plus on this adventure. As we're headed back to the hospital to deliver the empty coolers, I was only INCHES away from causing a major crash at a very busy intersection as I am trying to stop at the stop sign as I continue to go foward, sliding on the ice. THANK YOU AGAIN GOD! Finally, we got the coolers delivered back to the hospital. It is now 1:20 pm, and all of the other coolers had already been picked up. I wasn't sure what to do with them, and went in the door only to notice the ancient, shriveled up man still sitting at the desk, who did not once look up to ask if he could help me. I decided to be done with the whole thing and I left the coolers in the entryway, where I found them. I proceeded to take Emma to McDonald's to feed her lunch nearly 2 hours late. She wasn't worried too much about lunch at this point, because the older couple at our last stop gave her a Reese's candy bar.
THANK GOD THIS DAY IS NEARLY OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK GOD THIS DAY IS NEARLY OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!