Walking Along the Brigham Pike

If you’re in Boston, when is the Pike not the Mass Pike, the section of Interstate 90 which travels across Massachusetts?

When my husband and I entered Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for preoperative surgery meetings, we were directed to the “Pike,” a long corridor on the second floor of the hospital. “Take exit 6 off the Pike,” the woman at the information desk said. Curious, we followed her directions to the second floor and onto the Pike where signs direct the traveler to various departments (neurology, phlebotomy) and to bridges connecting the hospital to other area hospitals via above ground passageways. You can shop on the Pike, access the cafeteria, and pick up your prescriptions at the pharmacy.

As my husband prepared, endured, and recovered from hip replacement surgery, we traveled from rural suburbia into the city of Boston’s medical maze, where several big name hospitals care for patients while teaching future doctors in what is called the Longwood Medical Area.  Beth Israel Deaconess, Boston Children’s Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Joslin Diabetes Center, New England Baptist, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital are all within a few blocks, not too far from Fenway Park, Simmons College, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Two weeks later, I was back at the Brigham, this time, avoiding the Pike. After leaving my husband at 7:30 a.m. in the preoperative staging area, I checked in at the Robert and Ronnie Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families (Bretholtz Center) where I was given a buzzer (just like the ones restaurants give you while you wait for a table). I found a cozy chair in an unoccupied alcove and waited while the doctors worked, reading a book by Dennis Lehane. Complete with a library, computers and printers, knitting, games, and TVs, I found the Bretholtz Center a comfortable and comforting place to wait. I was told when surgery was complete and soon received a phone call from the doctor to hear the details. All went well.

I was back at the hospital the next day, just for a visit I thought, but 2 hours later, we were driving home, my husband, his new hip, and me.

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