Archive for September, 2004

hospitals, birth, and haunting

My husband and I recently took the maternity tour of St. Luke’s hospital to see what we’re in for when the bundle of kicks and jabs now occupying my uterus decides to make his appearance. Although the more I read about homebirth, the more intrigued I am by it, I am a worrywart and feel more secure about delivering in a hospital (especially when I’ll be attended by one of the excellent midwives at Women’s Specialists of Houston, who will not press any interventions upon me), and I have to say that I’m pretty excited about St. Luke’s.

Another popular hospital (which shall remain nameless here), where an acquaintance is planning to give birth, is rumored to have two “hidden” labor & delivery rooms with hot tubs (a proven way to soothe labor pains without medication)–but you have to know some kind of secret handshake or have your doula raise a ruckus in order to get one. According to this acquaintance, the very existence of these rooms was denied while she was on her maternity tour–it was her doula who tipped her off about them.

I was incredibly happy, then, to find that the St. Luke’s maternity tour proudly revealed that half of its labor and delivery rooms have hot tubs–and that they try to keep these rooms open for women (like me) who plan to have a drug-free labor and birth. Odds are, I’ll be able to soak away some of the pain!

The one drawback of the tour was the (to my ear) excessive focus on epidurals. The tour guide mentioned epidurals at every opportunity, and only occasionally tossed out a reference to natural childbirth as an afterthought. Of course, I’m sure that any hospital makes more money from an epidural than a natural birth, so there may be a connection there. Still, it would seem to be in the best interest of potential clients to give equal coverage to all the options available, without making the assumption that an epidural is the best choice for everyone. The brochure about pain management in labor that was provided during the tour was much more equitable in its approach.

One feature of St. Luke’s that took me by surprise is the Terrace Suites, a special floor of hotel-like suites available to recovering patients. These rooms, which feature cable modem docking stations, brass fixtures, massaging recliners, guest rooms, real wood furniture with decorative inlays, brocade bedspreads, a special menu from which you can order steak and lobster, and daily “high tea” with cheesecake, are available for about $1000 per night. That’s $1000 per night over and above all other hospital costs, mind you. This is the first time I’d heard of such high-falutin’ hospital service! I’m trying to imagine the sort of fancy folk who might be able to afford to stay in these suites–society matrons recovering from facelifts, or pro sports athletes nursing torn ligaments, perhaps? As for me, I’ll have to settle for bleeding all over the (certainly not 200+ thread count Egyptian cotton) sheets of the regular old $70 per night private room in the maternity ward.

As a stark contrast to such service, I thought of the old Jefferson Davis Hospital, rumored to be the most haunted place in Houston. Having lived for a few years in a very haunted house in Lindale (just outside the Heights), my research into other hauntings in H-town invariably led to stories of this now-abandoned building, which is built over the site of the oldest cemeteries in the area (one dating back to the 1600s).

Supposedly, over a year ago the property was bought by a company who intends to turn it into “affordable” loft-style apartments–yet there seems to be no indication yet of actual renovation or construction taking place.

An interesting note: the maternity ward and the psychiatric ward (complete with padded rooms) were on the same floor of the old Jeff Davis hospital. Coincidence? You new mothers out there can be the judge…

Today, this building is of course strictly private property and legally off-limits to would-be ghostbusters, though that doesn’t deter the squatters, junkies, and thrill-seeking teens who continue to hang out there. As far as I know, the only legal way to get a closer look at the place is through the High Spirits tours of haunted places in Houston.

Back on the topic of birth, the newer Jeff Davis Hospital, built in 1937 (the older one no longer functioned as a hospital after 1938) and demolished in 1999, was a community hospital serving Harris County residents, many of lesser financial means. Interestingly enough, it was also the site of some controversy around the hotly debated issue of routine infant circumcision, as it actually stopped performing circumcisions on newborn boys in its care in 1983. What happened next? A clinic entirely dedicated to providing circumcisions opened nearby. No word on whether the clinic survived the destruction of the hospital providing its business, however…


Tonight (Wednesday for those of you not keeping up) is the autumn equinox and I am planning to walk the labyrinth at sunset. I


Paparazzi (2004)

Saw the Paparazzi movie last night; it was pretty entertaining..

What’s even more interesting is that, as of late, I have found that the workers at the AMC Theatres in First Colony (Sugar Land) seem to be “forgetting” to clean up after each show. I walked into the theatre last night and there was popcorn and drink cups everywhere. This is the second time this has happened on a weekday. What were the employees doing?

Oh, wait, I know. I passed by them in the hallway. Two of them, along with the security guard who was supposed to be watching the parking lot for any suspicious activity, were busy playing the video game Time Crisis 3.

I know it’s the weekday and it’s kind of slow, but come on.

Places To Go: Lunch Time

Introducing “Places to Go” – places in and around the Houston metropolitan area that I like.

In today’s issue of Places to Go: where to go for lunch.

Although I’m sometimes stuck eating lunch at school, occasionally I get the chance to eat a real meal.

When I have that chance, one of my favorite places to go eat is Caf

Cheap champagne and a whole lotta’ beer

If you’re not too busy reading about Britney’s track-suited nuptials (hilarious!), here are a couple of things:

* To all those would-be style gurus, get your catwalk on at a reception/fashion show this Wednesday 7pm at the Galleria Foley’s. Tickets are cheap ($20 for students) and the champagne is probably better than the grocery store Andre lurking in your fridge.

* The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium remains a very nice place to drink beer and read plates hanging over your head. Sometimes there is such a thing as having too many choices, but with 200+ beers to pick from these are some choices I think I can handle.

How did everything go this weekend anyway? Hot sauce stories? Anyone?

Construction Gone Wrong

This is getting to be absolutely ridiculous.

Construction closures in Houston have reached an all-time peak in my opinion… let me illustrate….

  • While going to Midtown to go out tonight, I couldn’t take the Main/Travis/whatever exit on 59 because it’s apparently closed for the weekend. It’s bad enough that they got rid of Spur 527, but now they temporarily close down the temporary exit?
  • Beltway 8 North is closed at 249…not in my route, so that’s okay..
  • Beltway 8 South is closed at Westpark Tollway….on my way home, and definitely a pain to navigate through because there’s so much construction going on in the feeder as well…
  • 610 North exit on 59 South is closed…so you have to exit Chimney Rock, do a U turn, and get back on 59 North and use THAT 610 North exit. In other words, the exit is closed one way, but open the other…?

That is way too much construction to have to go through in one night. That doesn’t even take into account all the lane merges and miscellaneous small closures throughout the city. I feel sorry for the drunk drivers out there who are probably confused beyond belief.

By the way, I don’t like bars that much, but by a stroke of chance my friends and I ended up at The Doghouse Tavern on Brazos (in Midtown, next to Red Door and The Copa Room). Not a bad place at all. Clean, good prices, and a good crowd.

A Musical Saturday

For my birthday this year (March 18th for those of you who want to send gifts in the future) Christine bought a pair of tickets so that her and I could go see Sting together. As an added bonus, Annie Lennox is the opening act. I couldn’t be more excited since I, honestly, lust after Sting. I’m sure there’s still tickets available, so if you love Sting too, come out and join us.

For those of you who don’t particuarlly want to sit outside in the grass in the Houston heat, there’s always the option to see Houston’s very own Lager Rhythms. Mike, Christine’s husband (and definitely the man you want taking you to an emergency room), just happens to be one of the basses. I personally know that he can sing wonderfully, so I’m sure the rest of the group can too. They’re performing at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are a mere $10.

It’s a Beautiful Day

The weather channel forecast shows Houston’s skies being completely clear and sunny for the next ten days….

I thought it’d be a great time to get the car washed, so I headed on over to Mister Car Wash on Lexington and Hwy 6 in Sugar Land (the area of town where I live). While waiting for my car to get ready, the radio started playing U2 – “Beautiful Day”. Although I’m not necessarily a fan of that genre of music, I thought it was appropriate for the situation.

In a time when others are experiencing unfortunate weather in other parts of the country, I actually appreciate the crazy, extra hot weather of Houston today.

So go outside, enjoy the weather, and have a great weekend..

Seeing Orange

orange show front.jpg

One of my absolute favorite places in Houston, The Orange Show, is affiliated with all different music, artist and cultural groups in town. They’re usually a dependable source of a fun something or other to do on a weekend afternoon (often for free!!).

In the near future: If you’re an art car fan, you can show up next Wednesday (the 22nd) for their 22nd Anniversary Party and make mini art car centerpieces to some live blues music.

Otherwise you can just go for a visit ($1 admission) to their spectacularly wacky homage to oranges (as in the fruit), go on an Eyeopener Tour or check out the Beer Can House down the street.

Museum District Day?!

This Saturday from 10am to 5pm is Museum District Day in Houston and… it should be no surprise… I’ll be checking it out! Anyone else going?

MFAH will be displaying their Trojan Horse Art Car, but I hope to see some of the other art cars on display as I’ve seen a few parked around the Menil area… so I presume they’ll be out in force during Museum District Day! You can bet I’ll have my trusty camera ready for some good shots.

[caveat: I’m still learning how to use my camera… so purportedly

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