Thursday, October 23, 2008


Yesterday was a busy one for us, beginning with our Patient Orientation at LLUMC. Orientation meetings are held every Thursday at 9:30 am - we knew this and came to Loma Linda early so that we could attend the meeting before Odel's treatment started.

It was a beautiful morning, sunny, clear and cool. We were out on Redlands Blvd., across the street from the RV Park, at 8:30 to catch the bus, which dropped us off across the street from LLUMC less than 15 minutes later. As we watched the line of arrivals snake into the parking lot, we were happy with our decision to ride the bus.

Later, in the orientation meeting, we learned that Loma Linda's permanent population is around 22,000 people - which swells on weekdays to around 60,000 people due to the presence of LLUMC and a huge VA hospital a few blocks away. LLUMC itself employs 13,000 people who arrive each day.

We learned a few other quirks of Loma Linda, too. LLUMC is a Seventh Day Adventist teaching hospital, and most of the small town of Loma Linda is SDA, too. Saturday is the Seventh Day Adventist day of worship. Mail in Loma Linda is not delivered on Saturday, but IS delivered on Sunday - and businesses that might be closed on Sunday in neightboring Riverside or Redlands are closed on Saturday in Loma Linda, including the Drayson Fitness Center at LLUMC (see the photo of the pool below.)

The focus of the orientation meeting was to get patients involved in the group and in the community. Listening to the patient coordinator, I realized how lucky we are to come here as fulltime RV'ers. We already have our home and our pet with us, and settling into a new community and "finding our way" is simply our way of life - including meeting new people and making new friends. It hadn't occured to me how foreign this is to most of the patients here and how important it is to help them feel "at home", since many have come without their spouses and are living in small rentals, rather isolated.

Each patient at the orientation meeting received an inch-thick file about LLUMC, Loma Linda, and ALL the things to do around here: trips to the mountains (which we can see from here, and which will be snow-covered in the winter); trips to the wealthy desert (Palm Springs is a hour away); trips to the beach (we can take a Metrolink train from a nearby stop all the way to the beach); walking tours of LLUMC and Redlands (we actually live in Redlands, adjacent to Loma Linda); hiking trails, bus route, shopping, etc., etc., etc.

We received a schedule of all the social activities available to patients and their caregivers (doesn't have to be a spouse): cards and games on Monday night, potluck on Tuesday night, golf on Wednesday morning and support group on Wednesday night, restaurant night (a different restaurant each week) on Thursday. "Patient only" support group and "caregiver only" support group on Thursday afternoon.

And, we received the all important sign-up letter to present at the Drayson Center, LLUMC's state-of-the-art fitness center we get to join for FREE for the duration of our stay here. As soon as the meeting was over, we set off for Drayson to sign up.

On the way, we passed the Loma Linda Market. Seventh Day Adventists are vegetarians, and they avoid caffeine (no caffeinated drinks are available in the hospital cafeterias - coffee, tea or sodas) and alcohol. All sorts of meat substitutes - canned, dried, refrigerated and frozen - are available under the Loma Linda brand label.

The market was GREAT! The photo shows a tiny portion of the bulk area. There is a large organic produce section, all sort of juices, herbs and organic canned goods, and a large section of vitamins and supplements. A cafe was located next door, but we didn't have time to visit - the day was heating up and we had a few more blocks to walk to the Drayson Center.

In no time at all, we were registered and had our ID cards. The place was bustling. Racketball, tennis, jogging tracks (indoor and outdoor), every kind of cardio equipment, weights, a basketball court, a lap pool and an "activity" pool... wow.

Next stop was a little restaurant for a late lunch, then we caught the bus home with our pile of information. That was enough for one day!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, sounds like you are settling in quite well. That supermarket sounds like an interesting place, didn't even know it was there, will have to check it out next time we are in the area. I think you will like all the freebies you are getting, I know Jack & Jeanne enjoyed themselves very much.

    Hugs, Sharon & Ron