“Retail isn’t an entirely untried idea in health care. In Texas, Medical City Dallas has been mingling retail on its hospital campus for 30 years and currently has 21 tenants that include a bank, dry cleaners and barbecue stand.” See PDF link.
We geezers only visit hospitals if we need them. Like for those minor surgeries where an old joint is replaced with a Terminator-like titanium part. Or, God forbid, when we need one of the majors – you know, anything associated with the word biopsy or exploratory. On the positive side, we might also hang around a hospital to see a new grandchild. In general, though, we’d rather just do hospital drive bys.
Well, some hospitals have a different idea. They want to create a hospital mall, or hospi-mall, that senior citizens can visit for fun!
To accomplish this, all the stores will have to be hospitalized.
Take your normal mall bookstore. It has one medical reference section. But a hospital mall bookstore could have an entire shelf devoted to coughs – their identification (the dry, the barking, the whooping) and treatment (honey-flavored sugar drops, cherry syrup, bourbon). It would have medical best-sellers like What to Read While Waiting All Night in the Emergency Room. And sections on rare diseases that have no movie star willing to testify for them.
Its magazine racks would be filled with publications devoted to medical specialties. Surgery Illustrated would be popular with seniors who usually sleep during their surgery and want to see what went on inside their bodies. Once a year the magazine would publish its Scrubs issue with male and female nurses wearing Spandex scrubs while in naughty poses in the surgery suite.
Hospi-mall restaurants would also have to be unique. The fast food restaurant, called Chicken-in-the-Pox, would have a drive-up wheelchair window.
The sit-down restaurant – Blandy’s – would have crisp, white tablecloths and colorful, non-allergenic plastic flowers. Your dinner would begin with diabetic lettuce – half an iceberg lettuce with no dressing. For your main course, salt-free, mercury-free, fat-free fish with a sort-of-white sauce. On the side, pureed vegetables of not-quite orange color. And for dessert, colorless, flourless, sugarless, tasteless cake.
Of course, the chef would offer nightly specials such as Mumpy Meatballs. Named after a childhood disease only senior citizens remember, this dish will present meatballs swollen to a size guaranteed to make chewing and swallowing painful.
There will be a call button at each table to get the waiter’s attention. You will have to press it at least three times and cry out in pain before the waiter responds.
And what would a hospi-mall be without its own bar? Have your prescription drugs served in a cocktail glass with tonic water and a maraschino cherry. Your hits of oxygen would be “the pure stuff,” not cut down with city air. Or you could take a little ether in the Talk Like A Duck room.
Specialty drinks would include the Intern Special – triple caffeinated black coffee with a double shot of No-Doze. Or Dr. Z’s special sleeper – ground sleeping pills in a double decaffeinated hot milk. And for the tea drinkers, Heavenly Hemlock, guaranteed to put you to sleep for a long, long, long time.
What about entertainment at the hospital mall? Live operations, naturally. You would sit in surgery suite bleachers, and as the sedated patient is rolled in, cheerleaders would lead you in shouting “Cut! Stat! Cut! Stat!”
There could also be evening poetry readings by hospital patients:
“Filled with barium.
Bending my knees.
Feel like a cork
On New Year’s eve.”
Or why not turn the hospital hallways, often so quiet at night, into race tracks. The nurse’s station could become a betting parlor for wheelchair or walker races. “Speedman wins by a wheel. Oh, his sugar drip bag dropped off. Disqualified!”
Naturally, the hospi-mall would have a retail store to sell medical-related goods. Silver-plated bedpans suitable for serving chips and dips, super stethoscopes to be used for spying on the room next door, and plastic water pitchers in all the colors of the rainbow.
Next to the retail store would be an upscale clothing store. Geezers could buy floral gowns with no backs for playing patient, white lab coats for playing doctor, candy stripe short skirts for playing around, and of course, spandex scrubs. (“As seen in the Surgery Illustrated Scrubs issue.”)