Beck remembered the next day why he had lifted the Castle title from Kafka. He had waited a day to write about this series of incidents because he was burning angry and had lost his vaunted sense of humor.
Two days before, after having trouble ( delay, screw up, snafu) trying to get his valium prescription through the Orwellian name Wellness Center, he had ordered it himself from his previous pharmacy, a small operation about 20 blocks away.
Within an hour or two he had received a call from the front desk that a delivery was waiting for him on level one. He went down and picked it up.
Problem solved. Beck had cut the Wellness Center out of the loop.
So for his next two prescriptions, the following day, one for BP medicine and one for a Statin, he did the exact same procedure. Five days ahead of time he ordered the refills from Sinai, to be delivered to the front desk.
Then he put his second operation into action: Code Name – Skip the Dining Room (another Orwellian name since this was not dining, as we like to think of it but crappy food in a freezing environment ) and placed his first order with Fresh Direct.
Ah, a pleasure to roll down the virtual aisles, and pick foods for the small freezer in the fridge he had, and some veggie burgers along side Hebrew National franks.
Boar’s head imported Swiss and an ice-cream puffed with air he liked very much.
They had a deal of $50 off your first order f it was $100 or more.
So he had gone whole hog: Almond Milk, Greek Yogurt, some fresh fruit, and he was trying to get enough to pack the freezer, and the fridge which was about 1/2 the size of a normal fridge. Still, plenty of food for a month or more,
(P.S. the man whose “help me” requests had been coming up two flights through the air-vent was now moaning: oooh. Oh…. Maybe he was dying)
So two days go by after the prescriptions were ordered and Beck calls the front desk asking if they had arrived. Yes, he is told. They had arrived two days ago. Well where were they? Nobody had let Beck know they’d arrived.
They went down to the Wellness Center the concierge said.
So as hard as he was trying to circumscribe their chaotic med system, his prescriptions were still being sucked in.
Beck, whose back was killing him from various trips to track things down went to the Wellness Center. At this point it was after 6pm and the dreaded Night Nurse was on duty.
He went into the Wellness Room without taking a number. There were about seven women with numbers sitting and waiting. But the rule, as he understood it, was that you didn’t need a number if you were just picking up a script.
No such luck. Night nurse, a stocky woman who would be cast as a women’s prison matron, you know, the sadistic one, said you need a number.
Patsy, was sitting across from him now in the waiting room. She had number 6. He had number 7.
She had been crying. Her eyes were tinged with red. She kept looking at her number. Probably just saw a shadow. Her daughter was supposedly sitting in her room upstairs and was waiting to guide Patsy back to her room.
Beck moved across the aisle and sat next to her. He tried to explain who he was. That he sat at the table next to hers in the dining hall. It was a no go. She began weeping again, and said she was waiting for her daughter to take her upstairs.
How long have you been waiting? he asked.
She thought about it. Her hands were shaking more now. Instead of answering, she began looking at the plastic laminated sheet with the number 6 on it.
I’m number, 6? Is that correct?
Yes, Beck shouted. Number 5 is in there. You’re next!
Okay, thank you very much. She wasn’t looking at Beck. No point.
He noticed she didn’t’t have her alert pendant on. Like Beck’s the other night when he had crawled around on the floor, it was broken. It had been broken all day as far as he could tell.
Number 5 left Wellness. She couldn’t go in alone. Beck went in and told the Night Nurse that Patsy would need her help getting in, or maybe –
She’s been sitting out there for an hour, says Night Nurse. I gave her her eye drops an hour ago.
So where’s an aide to take her to her room.
Night Nurse: Not sure. There’s been a few aides down here, but nobody has taken her up. I treated her. What are you here for?
Beck: I have two prescriptions to pick up. They were delivered yesterday afternoon. How come nobody told me? You know I’m really starting to get mad.
Night Nurse: That’s okay. Everybody around here is mad. And besides, I wasn’t here yesterday.
She digs through some bags in the corner and pulls out his. Now she wants him to sign that he received them.
When he leaves, he presses his own pendant which is now working. An aide (blue-coat) shows up and he explains Patsy’s situation.
Luckily, it’s one of the friendly blue coats (she’s only been there a few weeks) and she leads Patsy to the elevator.
Beck goes back to the first floor to try and figure out what happened to his Fresh Direct order. It’s been sitting for two hours by the concierge defrosting.
Beck: Well, why didn’t you call me and let me know it was here. A lot of this is frozen, or was frozen.
Concierge: I’m sorry. I was waiting for the utility men to finish with the garbage.
Beck looks at the packages and feels the frozen stuff. Half thawed.
He tells the woman (who is at least apologetic) to put the bags on his rollater, and he’ll get it up to his room. It’s heavy but he does it. Get’s it in front of the 3/4 size fridge with the tiny frozen food section. And starts cramming it in.
Every space is filled.
And he had to toss the ice-cube trays.
But okay, getting around the rules and regulations, is akin to getting a SpaceX rocket to land on a platform in the middle of nowhere. Next time he’ll do things a little differently.