First visit to Mayo and traveling alone: Winter advice?

Posted by Ruthie @bluecow, Dec 12, 2018

My initial appointment is with GI clinic. I've been seeing numerous doctors for 8-9 years, had dozens of tests, with no clear diagnoses. Some treatments have made me worse, but recent test results point to possible autoimmune liver. I wondered how it works when one's problem covers several specialities as mine does? I start at GI, but will likely need rheumatology (possible connective tissue disorder), endocrinology (I have Hashimoto's), and even neurology (weakness in legs recently). I booked a hotel at Centerstone Soldier's Field based on advice from my cousin, as I wanted a small kitchen. I am traveling from California and wonder if there is advice on what to expect in the deep of winter–my appt is Jan 24! I've read mostly good but some bad on these blogs regarding visits, and my biggest worry is I still won't get a firm diagnoses after all the time and money traveling! I'm wondering how referrals work, or do they just send you for tests and consult doctor to doctor?

I know some have advised to NOT be alone, but there is no other way I can make the visit. I'm pretty independent, but I dread the trip as I don't feel well much of the time, and it will be dead of winter and a long trip. I am booked to take shuttle from Minneapolis airport to Rochester hotel. Any advice on a first-time visit in winter would be welcome–Ruthie in warm So. California

Liked by EES1, patsy2910

Hi Ruthie,
Welcome to Connect. Such a great question. I'm tagging @cynaburst who made the same journey as you from California to Rochester, MN in the winter. I think she'll have some good tips to share as a fellow Californian. @gailb might also have some thoughts.

I use the shuttle from the Minneapolis airport. They will take you right to your hotel, but keep in mind from the plane to the ground transportation is a bit of a walk. Isn't everything in an airport. If walking is a challenge, you may wish to ask for assistance.

You'll find more tips about travelling alone to Mayo and preparing for your first visit in these discussions as well:
– First visit to Mayo: Traveling alone https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/first-visit/
– Your Tips on How to Get Off to the Best Start with a New Specialist https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/your-tips-on-how-to-get-off-to-the-best-start-with-a-new-specialist/
– What are your suggestions for a quiet place to relax between appts? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-are-your-suggestions-for-a-quiet-place-to-relax-between-appts/

Do you know about Mayo Clinic Concierge Services? Traveling to a new place for medical care can be stressful. You might like to try Mayo Clinic Concierge Services. They can make preparing for your visit easier by providing you with information to navigate Mayo Clinic, access to community resources and guide you with your unique travel needs.

Five Ways to Contact Mayo Concierge Services
Phone: 507-538-8438
Live Chat: https://www.mayoclinic.org/patient-visitor-guide
Email: concierge@mayo.edu
Web form: https://www.mayoclinic.org/patient-visitor-guide/minnesota/becoming-a-patient/concierge-travel-services
In-person in Rochester MN: Lobby hours are 8:00-5:00 Monday through Friday. Offices are located in the International Center in the Mayo Mathew’s Lobby, Executive Lounge on Mayo 5, Radiation Oncology Lobby – Desk R

It likely will snow…we were there for the worst snow storm in 20 yrs! But you are mainly inside. I wore leggings and sweatshirts with snow boots. It was COLD!

I stayed at the hotel that you are booked in for 5 weeks after a liver transplant. It is 4 or 5 blocks south of the mayo complex depending on which building your appts. are scheduled in. Charlton is the farthest building from the hotel and will probably be the first stop on your itinerary for lab work. Shuttles run from the hotel all day long back & forth. The concierge staff at mayo will be more than happy to call the shuttle for you. As far as getting to other buildings there is a walkway sub street level connecting the buildings. If you do feel the need to venture outside I would recommend hat-scarf-warm shoes/boots-something like under armor or cuddle duds as a base layer. Today’s temp will peak out at 32 degrees with sunny skies. Believe it or not the southern states have gotten more snow than minn. has. There is a restaurant attached to the hotel called Twigs. There is food coop & deli 3 blocks east where we would buy our groceries & fresh bread and fresh soups. Bring a backpack or something similar for your schedule-water bottle-munchies-reading material-chargers-you get the drift-some of those waiting times for appts. Can drag on. I hope I was of some help.

We actually went in December but left December 20,2017 right before the big storm.
I did some research and this what we found. We stayed at the Kahler Grand, I think it was $100 night, it was very convenient since the hospital was literally across the road, you could either walk or there was an underground tunnel that went to the hospital. You just took the elevator down from the hotel, you did not have to go outside. The tunnel as I call it had shops and places to eat. The hotel also had a restaurant and a few shops, plus a Starbucks which we ate breakfast at, much less than the restaurant. There was an Italian restaurant around the corner that had a take out salad bar or pasta connected to it so we picked up food and took it back to the hotel this was much less than eating in the restaurant and the food was great. You can also access the bank and the mall without going outside.
We did take the shuttle it was a long walk from where the plane landed but so convenient.
As far as clothing we purchased Merlino socks, leggings and wore 3 layers under our coats, plus thermal underwear under our leggings. I purchased a maxi down coat from Lands End and snow pants that I purchased at Costco, there was no way I was going to be cold. I had a down hat and scarf and gloves. You want to make sure if you go out that your mouth and nose are covered because I read the cold can effect your lungs.
By the way we live in California. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions. Jean

@jeanadair123

We actually went in December but left December 20,2017 right before the big storm.
I did some research and this what we found. We stayed at the Kahler Grand, I think it was $100 night, it was very convenient since the hospital was literally across the road, you could either walk or there was an underground tunnel that went to the hospital. You just took the elevator down from the hotel, you did not have to go outside. The tunnel as I call it had shops and places to eat. The hotel also had a restaurant and a few shops, plus a Starbucks which we ate breakfast at, much less than the restaurant. There was an Italian restaurant around the corner that had a take out salad bar or pasta connected to it so we picked up food and took it back to the hotel this was much less than eating in the restaurant and the food was great. You can also access the bank and the mall without going outside.
We did take the shuttle it was a long walk from where the plane landed but so convenient.
As far as clothing we purchased Merlino socks, leggings and wore 3 layers under our coats, plus thermal underwear under our leggings. I purchased a maxi down coat from Lands End and snow pants that I purchased at Costco, there was no way I was going to be cold. I had a down hat and scarf and gloves. You want to make sure if you go out that your mouth and nose are covered because I read the cold can effect your lungs.
By the way we live in California. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions. Jean

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We were there right after you! For the storm…will stay there again!

@des46893

I stayed at the hotel that you are booked in for 5 weeks after a liver transplant. It is 4 or 5 blocks south of the mayo complex depending on which building your appts. are scheduled in. Charlton is the farthest building from the hotel and will probably be the first stop on your itinerary for lab work. Shuttles run from the hotel all day long back & forth. The concierge staff at mayo will be more than happy to call the shuttle for you. As far as getting to other buildings there is a walkway sub street level connecting the buildings. If you do feel the need to venture outside I would recommend hat-scarf-warm shoes/boots-something like under armor or cuddle duds as a base layer. Today’s temp will peak out at 32 degrees with sunny skies. Believe it or not the southern states have gotten more snow than minn. has. There is a restaurant attached to the hotel called Twigs. There is food coop & deli 3 blocks east where we would buy our groceries & fresh bread and fresh soups. Bring a backpack or something similar for your schedule-water bottle-munchies-reading material-chargers-you get the drift-some of those waiting times for appts. Can drag on. I hope I was of some help.

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I appreciate you telling me the things that are near the hotel. I thought about Khaler Grand, but I wanted a kitchenette. Sounds like you liked staying at Centerstone. Yes, I have a backpack to carry water and food bars, also long underwear, a down jacket, hat, and Ugg boots I plan to spray waterproof stuff on.

I thought Kahler Grand sounded convenient, but I really wanted a refrigerator and cooking area. But I wonder if the convenience of being across the street from Mayo might be worth it. Cheapest room is now $116 plus tax, about the same as Centerstone extended suite. Any other opinions on either hotel??

@bluecow

I appreciate you telling me the things that are near the hotel. I thought about Khaler Grand, but I wanted a kitchenette. Sounds like you liked staying at Centerstone. Yes, I have a backpack to carry water and food bars, also long underwear, a down jacket, hat, and Ugg boots I plan to spray waterproof stuff on.

I thought Kahler Grand sounded convenient, but I really wanted a refrigerator and cooking area. But I wonder if the convenience of being across the street from Mayo might be worth it. Cheapest room is now $116 plus tax, about the same as Centerstone extended suite. Any other opinions on either hotel??

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At centerstone we received a mayo patient discount-was that discussed when you booked?

@bluecow

I appreciate you telling me the things that are near the hotel. I thought about Khaler Grand, but I wanted a kitchenette. Sounds like you liked staying at Centerstone. Yes, I have a backpack to carry water and food bars, also long underwear, a down jacket, hat, and Ugg boots I plan to spray waterproof stuff on.

I thought Kahler Grand sounded convenient, but I really wanted a refrigerator and cooking area. But I wonder if the convenience of being across the street from Mayo might be worth it. Cheapest room is now $116 plus tax, about the same as Centerstone extended suite. Any other opinions on either hotel??

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I think we did get a discount for the hotel. We also had a fridge and microwave in the room, maybe you could call and ask if they provide anything else. FYI. I believe the third floor is for people with pets. The convenience for us was worth staying at the Kahler
Not having to worry about shuttles etc. and not having to go outside in the cold. Although we did go to the Plummer building and several Christmas tours.

@bluecow

I appreciate you telling me the things that are near the hotel. I thought about Khaler Grand, but I wanted a kitchenette. Sounds like you liked staying at Centerstone. Yes, I have a backpack to carry water and food bars, also long underwear, a down jacket, hat, and Ugg boots I plan to spray waterproof stuff on.

I thought Kahler Grand sounded convenient, but I really wanted a refrigerator and cooking area. But I wonder if the convenience of being across the street from Mayo might be worth it. Cheapest room is now $116 plus tax, about the same as Centerstone extended suite. Any other opinions on either hotel??

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One more thing make sure your boots have good treads on them so you don’t slip.

We stayed at the Kahler Inn and Suites that had a mini kitchenette area. I didn't book a full-size kitchen option because I didn't know we would be there for a month (over Christmas and New Year's.). The Kahler Inn and Suites is also attached to Mayo and The Methodist Hospital. I can't say enough great things about the service! Anything I needed they were there to help. A huge free breakfast was provided each morning and there were plenty of restaurant/fast food/deli/pizza/cafeteria choices within walking distance via the underground tunnels. I ordered needed groceries online from Hyvee and had them delivered to the room. All grocery stores probably offer the delivery service now.:) I loved that there were no shuttles needed once we checked in. Anything I needed could be purchased close by or delivered.

If you are walking outside, you will appreciate having real water-proof insulated snow boots with good traction. (I found that parking lots tended to collect black ice.) I waited until we got there and went to one of the farm supply stores (Fleet Farm on 63 South) and bought the real deal at much lower cost than department stores here offering them for looks rather than usefulness. I am from warm South Carolina and items needed there aren't even sold down here. If you have any questions, please ask. Mayo Rochester is AMAZING!

Wear boots and a coat. Depending on where your staying,you can walk the tunnels from hotel to clinic without being in the cold. I go alone too. More than once. You’ll do fine.

My husband and I were caught in one of the April snowstorms in Rochester this past April. We chose to stay snug inside the Mayo complex, and ate at the Mayo Cafeterias. The food is good with a nice selection to meet dietary restrictions. The hours are limited, so check the schedule. You can eat there or take it with you.

@user_chf56161a

Wear boots and a coat. Depending on where your staying,you can walk the tunnels from hotel to clinic without being in the cold. I go alone too. More than once. You’ll do fine.

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Did you know that there is a coat check in the Main Ghonda lobby? Might be others, I don't know for sure.

I travel alone regularly to see my doctor. Besides taking notes yourself, you will find in your patient online access your doctor's notes. It does allow you to check if you aren't sure you remembered something correctly.

FYI I got better rate at Centerstone Plaza at Soldier's Field hotel by calling instead of using just internet! Instead of $120 a night it is $99, but I will be in "outer" building that has double bed and kitchenette. I will have Uggs and down jacket so I'll just hurry thru the cold area into warm building and/or warm shuttle. I saw they had a coat check, great help. Their shuttle will take me anywhere I want within 1.5 mile radius, so I can do grocery shopping 🙂

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