UCLA My First Day Adventure

Making it alone at UCLA……………………..

I arrived late yesterday afternoon but with a two hour time change behind Houston time, plus a night before that was filled with poor or little sleep, I was in no mood for an adventure away from the Tiverton House Hotel.  I had the driver of the Supershuttle bus to thank for an easy supper, because the Chick-fil-A restaurant had just opened a location a couple of blocks from the hospital and this hotel.  He spotted them handing out free sandwiches just as he was driving by and asked all his passengers if we would like one.  It was a whole hearted “Yes”.  After rolling the window down, they handfed over sandwiches for every passenger on the bus.  So after I let my daughter know I was here safe and sound, I ate a hearty sandwich meal and that took care of me for the rest of the evening.

To travel, I had used every bit of help I could.  With my injured leg it was one issue, but the worse one is the toxicity caused by the extreme antibiotic treatment I finished a week ago.  It was a kill or cure time which did kill it but left me hampered with yet a new issue.  It was even more important for me to ask for help because every movement is hampered by my head/sight miss co-ordination.

I was pushed from car, to airline in a wheelchair and that was easy.  However the wheelchair attendant could not sit with me and push me down the ramp to plane.  So I was left close to the plane entrance but too far away to get the check in attendant’s attention.  So I hustled help from another passenger to tell her that I could not walk down the ramp.  No problem was the answer.  She came out from behind her station, and took me all the way to the plane entrance, where I was helped aboard and my things stored without any worry by me.  With that part done, I relaxed and let my journey begin.

From Houston Texas it is a fairly long flight to L.A. and I was very tired after a bad night’s sleep, so I read for awhile then just give myself over to eyes closed and listened to the sounds of flight attendants getting drinks and food together.  I was very close to them and it was noisy, but it meant not having to walk far into the airplanes belly to reach a less noisy seat.  Noise did not matter at that point.

The trip was soon over and I was wheeled to the Supershuttle Bus attendant.  Be sure you book on line and then all you do is give him you confirmation number and then he will watch for your bus and see you get onto it.  There is a bench right there and I sat while waiting which was not very long at all before he called my name and helped me and my luggage on board.  I was put into the front seat which made my handicap less of an issue.  Soon I was at the hotel.

I checked in, then wobbled my way to my room and settled in.  It was a relief to take my time and unpack clothes so that they would be at the ready.  Everything I do now is slow and careful so as not to feel unbalanced when I move.  But I refuse to think of my life as over and if I have to learn a new way to live it then it is better than giving up.

It takes a day or two to realize the things you need that are sitting right back at your house.  Where you live, everything is at your fingertips because of setting them up where you feel at ease.  Hotels never have enough power points as it is and Monday I will be sharing the room and have to think that others need them for their own electronics.

I truly am electronics handicapped and if it were not for my daughter I would be struggling far more than I do.  I have most things I need on my mainframe computer or my laptop, which the latter always gets a work out during my surgery times.  I would be bored to tears if I could not write.  Now my daughter added a new gadget for me to get used to and in fact it is fairly simple and I have already mastered most of it.   Because it is my birthday in a few days, she wanted to get me something useful for times like this.  But money has to be saved because these days medical is costing us a great deal even with Medicare and my insurance supplement.   So that I don’t feel buried under a mountain of debt from all of this, I researched long before I became eligible for Medicare a year ago.  I bought a supplement that UCLA accepted and would help pay some of the costs.  Nothing will pay all of it and there is always out of pocket expenses.  The supplement takes a hunk of my Social Security, but I have more peaces of mind.  I chose AARP United Health Care, plan F.  I don’t mind sharing because trying to figure out a plan when you have to go out of State is a big deal.

Anyway, I digress.  My daughter had some unused airline points that frustrated her because what she had would not get me to UCLA, nor a hotel close enough to it.  I can’t drive and need to be close to the hospital and a short distance to a grocery store.  So frustrated after hanging onto them for so long and finding how useless they are, she decided to see if she could find something useful for my birthday.  She did.  Last week before I left, she handed me a kindle.  She used the useless points and put $30 to it and gave me something that is already proving to be of wonderful use.  She added apps that give me many hours of entertainment such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and PBS public television.

I have Netflix at home and watch English shows I would never otherwise see.  I also watch PBS to see Masterpiece Theater and more.  I did not know about Amazon Prime and was thrilled to find shows that Netflix charges a service for to mail C.D’s to the house.  It is anther expense and you don’t get to see many in a month.  Amazon Prime has many things there is a charge for but they have free TV and movies in their Prime.  My daughter told me about a series called London Hospital set in the early 1900’s.  I am an avid English History buff and love watching shows from this period due to my love of designing hats.   I am in love with this series and it along with others will wile away  many lonely hours out here at the Tiverton.  It is the best birthday gift every to give someone who is in my situation.  It came with a free book which I began reading on the plane and it will be well used.  I am a very happy camper.

Once I set my electronics up this morning, I decided to venture down to the Target Store which is very close to this hotel.  I am going to write about this for any woman who comes here alone.  There is no reason to be afraid around here, nor sit in your room alone.  If you walk outside the front door of this hotel, look to the right and you will see a cross walk.  Go there and cross the street.  Start walking down a slightly sloped pathway and you will soon see a parking lot.  It is the parking lot for Ralphs Grocery store and Target.  Walk past the open car park entrance and you will see a pathway that you can walk down (not far) and immediately see Ralphs.  What you may not see is the elevator that will take you DOWN to Target.  As you walk into the entrance of Ralphs there are glass windows on the LEFT side that has a bunch of things stacked so that seeing the elevator is not easy.  Walk back outside and into that entrance and you will see the elevator.  Go down to Target and when you step out there is the store.  If you prefer shopping at Ralphs ask for a card toi purchase at the lower cost.  They will give you one.

Target will have all the things you forgot to bring with you, plus they too have groceries.  First thing on my list, an electric extension cord to plug up my Kindle so I don’t loose power.  It has a very short cord to charge and the hotel is short on outlets, so now I can plug it up and watch my shows in bed.  I also took it down to the lobby, made a cup of tea and sat watching another episode of London Hospital while I relaxed and had my early afternoon tea.  I had ear buds if I needed them, but no one else was in there to disturb.

Another thing on my list.  A pillow because this time I forgot mine.  I hate hotel pillows which are so small and not much to them.  They are not comfortable for your head to sleep on and you can’t lean on them while you sit up.  They have no body.  So for $7, I bought one I like and they had a nice quilted pillow sham on clearance 70% off.  I can sit on it on the plane to ride home, but for now comfort I need.

What I haven’t told you as yet is before I left home I had a brain wave.  Thank God the antibiotic toxicity has not killed that part, and I was concerned how on earth I would get to the grocery store in my new wobbly walking mode.   I need a wall in case I get out of balance and there are no walls when you leave here.

When I think of my situation now I can hear the chorus words to an old Navy song from old British shipping times.  It goes like this.

“What do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken Sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
Early in the morning”

Then there are many bars to this song.

Well that’s me.  As I walk I veer from side to side and get very unbalanced.  I have been to UCLA now three times and this is my forth, so I know where things are, but it was how to get there that caused me concern.  Then I remembered the wheelchairs they have for anyone to use who stay here.  So last night I brought one to my room and this morning I pushed and walked behind it to Target.  It had a great break on it which will stop if you let it go and I could sit on it if I got too wobbly.

I could never have made it without it.  It worked like a dream and took all my wobbly fears away.  Not only that but I push my groceries back here and all the way into my room.  It made it all so much easier.  So if you can’t walk far, use their services which is what they are intended for.

Because my head and eyes do not work together, this was as much as I could do this morning before I had to rest in the room and close my eyes.  It is the only way I can clear my befuddled brain and I find it quite tiring to not be able to walk without all this extra movement going on in my brain.

Don’t forget to take advantage of any of the Tiverton’s services, from library with every kind of book, computers if you don’t bring yours and things for children to do if any come with you.   There is of course breakfast on the second floor and you can take it back to your room if you wish.  This works well on the day of tests as sometimes you don’t get time to eat between tests and have a limited time before no food is allowed, is surgery is the next day.  To the left of the entrance lobby at this hotel, is a lounge area which is where I like to meet up with other ladies who are here for consults, surgeries or post op visits.  You can leave a message any time at the front desk for anyone whom you may plan to meet here.  After breakfast is done, there is always coffee and tea all day in this lounge area and if you ask the front desk they will let you in to use the little kitchen next to the coffee/tea station so that you can heat up foods in a microwave.

I am writing all this because if you are having surgery you may wonder how you will eat while you recover.  There are take-a-way places that will deliver, but like many I am on a budget because of all the other costs, so I prefer to buy my food before surgery and it is here for me if they do surgery this time.  So you don’t need to starve.  So take a walk before your surgery day and pick out the things you need to see you through.  I did not worry about it the last two times because my daughter took care of things, but this time I will be prepared.

I am fortunate enough that I have remained healthy despite the major issues I still have from my mesh injuries and now the wobbly problems.  I have always managed to make my way to the coffee/tea area after surgery if I want a hot drink because staying in bed all the time is not good for blood circulatin.  Take it easy, but move enough times so that nothing more serious will happen to you.  The wheelchair is firmly installed in my room right now because of my extreme walking issues enhanced with wobbliness.  I will get through this however despite all that and so will you.

We are all on a journey together…………………..


  1. batya sarah

    Don’t forget to give a shout out to Trader Joe’s across the street from Target! It has delicious and healthy prepared meals to go at great prices! I am a big TJ’s fanand was surprised to see how close it is to the Tiverton!

  2. batya sarah

    I am happy to know you are there.
    Here is a map so you can eat well while there, it. is 1000 Glendon Ave.
    is just down hill from you. Trader Joe’s@34.0623441,-118.I4439717
    I hope you can find it with ease.
    There are many healthy whole grain sandwhiches, salads and prepared meals much cheaper than eating out.

  3. Linda

    FYI the Ralph’s grocery is owned by Kroger’s so if you have a Kroger’s card you can use it for discounts. Ralph’s also has awesome boasted chicken and ready made sandwiches.

    1. lavalinda

      Thanks Linda. I do have a Kroger card, but left it at home. Good to know.

  4. Barbara Vance

    Linda~great information! Didn’t know that about Target. Beth and I didn’t go in there. Everything is convenient and close by which is nice. Enjoy the weather there. It was 102 here in Tyler today! Texas is so very hot!

  5. Lisa

    I am so glad you arrived safely, and the wheelchair enabled you to get to Target, which I did not know existed, good to know! I am packing my red Rosie Riveter shirt, so you will recognize me in the lobby on 6-26, around 1pm,,,it is the shirt I wore to picket the hospital to get my referral to ucla….so excited to see you and a couple of others. What is your fave kind of cake?

  6. Joyce

    Thank you for this. I will be leaving for UCLA 9-9 to see Dr Raz. I might be traveling alone and this has helped me greatly.

    1. lavalinda

      Joyce I am glad you have an appointment. You will meet many women here just like you so don’t be shy. You may find a friend who understands everything you are going through. These friends are invaluable.

  7. Lupe

    So happy to hear you got to UCLA. You are adventures, good for you!
    I love your positive attitude keep up the spirit 🙂

    1. lavalinda

      Thanks Lupe. When you come out here you will have lots of information.

  8. Betty

    Linda I just got up to speed on this latest part o fyour journey and am so sorry you had to make yet another trip to LA. Maythis be the last and may God watch over you , Kim, and all your assisting angels.

    1. lavalinda

      Thanks Betty. I am hopeful I will have better luck this time. I will be posting as soon as possible after my surgery.


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