First off, the location of the garage was kind of confusing in itself - you have to turn into the hospital lot, drive through the emergency parking area and past several employees-only lots, exit the lot onto a different street, then drive down that street for a few minutes until you get to the garage.
Once you get to the garage, they have a machine where you push a button and it spits out a ticket and opens the gate blocking the entrance. I've seen machines like that before, but most of them had money-eating slots so you could pay for parking right there; this one didn't. Eventually we found a parking space on the ground floor and saw some signs telling us to go pay in the lobby, so we wandered around, found some stairs (important), and headed up. It would've been nice if the signs had told us how to get to the lobby from the garage, but we eventually found our way there.
The next thing on our minds was how to pay, so we asked the information desk, and the receptionist directed us to a set of machines. The first one we tried was broken, no "out of order" sign or anything, it just wouldn't take any tickets. The second one eventually ate our ticket after a few tries, asked for five dollars, received it, and spat the ticket out unchanged. We figured that everything was fine, so we went to visit my mom.
During the visit, Mom saw our ticket and wondered why there weren't any holes punched in it. It was the first time we'd heard of that, so she explained that my brother had visited the day before and had gotten his ticket punched by someone at the front desk, and that you needed a punched ticket to leave.
Did you notice how I mentioned that the hospital/parking garage gave plenty of notice about this, and how the people at the front desk told us about the punching thing and helped us out with that?
Because they didn't. Apparently my brother is enough of a genius magic man that he figured it out on his own (rant for another time), but we lowly muggles remained clueless.
Anyway, after a few hours we left and went down to the front desk, where they punched our ticket and directed us back to the same machines from earlier. Ticketbot seemed to have soured while we were gone, since it immediately spat out our ticket and deemed it "unscannable". Back to the front desk we went. They gave us a new ticket, punched it, and fed it to the machine, which of course accepted it with no problems. We then had fifteen minutes to exit the parking lot before the exit system wouldn't recognize the ticket. We, being silly people of no common sense, assumed that it would be alright to leave by going back down the stairs we used to come in.
Some guy stopped us and told us that only doctors were allowed to go down those stairs or even park in the ground floor lot, and told us to "go to the second floor where you parked".
Again, plenty of signs to tell us about that little tidbit.
So we took the elevator down. When we left my mom's room, she asked me to bring two (heavy) vases full of flowers home for her, so by this point I was getting pretty cranky and tired of walking around like this.
We finally got to the car and drove up to the gate, where the exit machine happily ate our ticket and watched as we drove off into the sunset.
Just kidding, it spat it out and declared itself out of order, then watched us stare at it while we were stuck between the car in back of us and the closed gate. Eventually it took our ticket and we zipped out of the garage, determined to park on the street next time.
I get that the hospital couldn't really help it if all of their parking machines decided to throw a fit on the same day, even though it was annoying as all hell. But grudgey ticket-eaters aside, it really bothered me that we managed to get all the way to my mom's room before finding out from her that there was an extra step that we had to take just to leave. If I wound up stuck at the exit just because I didn't know that I needed a punched ticket, I would be pissed.
So do I need to go get a pair of big-girl undies, or is this something that I should be complaining about?
Edited to fix a space under the post.
ETA: From what everyone has told me, it's definitely a case of me being all "how do I parking garage" in addition to some crummy signage and directions. I'll definitely work on the first part and I'll see if I can speak to anyone about the rest. Thanks everyone!
Also, there's another piece of ongoing bad service here: my mom is supposed to be released today to a rehab facility closer to home. We were told yesterday that the facility that she wanted to go to might not be covered by our insurance, but her case worker at the hospital said that she'd look into it and try to find her somewhere close to home. It's now after 1 pm and she hasn't been told anything by any of the staff, including her social worker. The only reason we know that she's going to the original facility is because I called the facility and asked them about it. The facility told us that something was being negotiated with the insurance company, but the receptionist didn't know exactly what was going on. We still don't have any idea of how she'll be transported there; if we end up having to drive her, she might be waiting for over an hour since we live so far away from the hospital. Mainly I'm just worried that they'll end up releasing her today anyway and she'll be stuck until we can get to her.