the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: architecture

Where’s ICU?


Thank you for your emails and comments about Fanya, Sophia’s mother.  She is doing better, and was released from the hospital tonight.  

Fanya’s room was located in the Saperstein Critical Care Tower, which was opened last year after entrepreneur and philanthropist David Saperstein and his wife Suzanne made the largest donation to Cedars-Sinai in the Medical Center’s history.

“The Sapersteins have accepted a crucial role in the reinvention of our campus by providing us with the means to build a state-of-the-art critical care tower,” said [hospital President and CEO Thomas M. Priselac when he received the donation]. “The Suzanne and David Saperstein Critical Care Tower will combine the latest monitoring technology with staffing to provide the most fragile patients with the most sophisticated care available.”

The Saperstein Critical Care Tower is clearly important for Los Angeles.

Annual hospital admissions countywide are up 20 percent in the past 10 years and seven hospitals have closed since 2003, according to a new report funded by The California Endowment.  West L.A. hospitals have been hard pressed to keep pace with demand, particularly institutions like Cedars that draw patients from a wider area. Population growth, on top of an aging demographic more likely to become seriously ill, have only exacerbated the situation, said  Dr. Paul Silka, [medical chief of staff], noting that Cedars often has long waiting lists to schedule elective surgery.

While Cedars-Sinai Medical Center clearly has top-notch doctors and medical equipment, I was not impressed with the human aspect of the patient care.   For example, why did no one come out to tell us how the surgery went?  Why did no one tell us that Fanya was taken back to ICU half an hour earlier?  Why were nurses laughing loudly with each other all night, waking up the patients in INTENSIVE CARE?   Or why was Fanya not fed for fourteen hours?  Even though the doctor gave the order to give her food, the nurse forgot to inform the nutrition department.  It took Sophia three and a half hours of fighting with everyone to get Fanya some food after her angioplasty.  Is this the bad effect of “Grey’s Anatomy,” where the personal lives of the staff are more important than those of the sick people?  Like in many other big-city hospitals, the basic concerns of the patient and his family seem to be of secondary consideration.   

Nothing symbolizes this better than the Saperstein Critical Care Tower itself.  As you can see from the above photo, the $110 million dollar facility may be “state-of-the-art,” but someone forgot to put up a sign telling patients and their families which building it is and WHERE THE ENTRANCE IS LOCATED.

Movin’ On Up

Yesterday, Chac commented on an old post about relationships and astrology:

Aquarius woman here…  OK – I think you may want to look at the ascendant signs (your outward masks) and your moon signs (emotional behaviors) before totally giving up. Your sun sign is how you see yourself – your ego, if you will. So, here is my point: My ego is Aquarius. My outward appearance is Libra. My moon is Scorpio. Lots of sex, inner-conflict and intellectual sparring. Basically, a female version of Bronte’s Heathcliff. My poor, poor boyfriend… I’ll bet you are just a bit more curious about Sophia’s other signs now – you should be 🙂

Do I understand what she wrote?  Not at all.  But maybe the stars are the best explanation for the tiff I had yesterday with… uh, Sandy.  (I promised… uh, Sandy, that I wouldn’t talk about her without her permission, so for now, I will be using the name… uh, Sandy, as a stand-in for… uh, Sandy).

Please point me to a book or blog where a writer does a good job in capturing in words a marital tiff.   I’ve mentioned this before.  I am hopeless.  I have no skill in describing those irritating little marital tiffs.  Just writing the dialogue wouldn’t make any sense.  It wasn’t an all out fight.  In fact, we had a nice day at a friend’s “Memorial Weekend” BBQ.  When we got home, Sandy asked me to pick up some saucepan that I had washed earlier (and put it on the floor to air-dry).  I got upset, raised my voice, said something sarcastic and it all went downhill from that.

So, the fun ended and back I went to my “bachelor” apartment. 

I don’t particularly like my apartment.  It’s one of those separated man’s limbo-land apartments. All the really nice stuff is back at Sandy’s.   My couch has crumbs under the pillows.  My computer table is a bridge table.   After living in a home with a “woman’s touch,” this apartment just seems drab.  So… utilitarian.  Women seem to know where to put everything so it looks nice.  Like flowers.

Sometimes Sandy and I joke about starting an online “home-shopping” website for separated men.  With one click of the button, they can order everything they need for their new “bachelor pad” — a couch, a bed, a TV, a lamp, a vacuum, and a toaster — and they’ll be all ready to live their new miserable lives.

But I don’t sit and wallow, especially on a holiday weekend.  If my apartment looks bad, it’s my own fault.  I’m creative.  I can change things.  So, today, I undertook the process of Bachelor Pad Home Makeover.  Today, in a few hours, I’ve already turned my apartment from a depressing dump into a place where I can bring a classy one night stand who says to me, “What a nice apartment.  Which way to the bedroom?”

I took some architectural photographs to show the process of my one day home re-design:


The first step was to kick out my roommates.  While they can be a fun bunch who like to party, I’m getting too old for this “dorm living.”


I’m also noticing that many of the more “high maintenance” Los Angeles women (you know the type)  refuse to f**k when there are other men, women, and children looking on in the bedroom.   Talk about prudes!   So, adios, roomies!  Remember to take your stuff from the fridge!


Once my roommates were kicked out, it was time to paint.


I’m a firm believer that the exterior of a home says as much about you as the interior.


Always have a plan… whether it is in home renovation or life itself!

The results:




Who’s living it up now… uh, Sandy?

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