Tuesday, March 26, 2013

twas a bridge that was nearly our undoing

Just when you think it is safe to go home...yet another doctor is added to our list of been there done that's.  This bucket list from hell is beginning to get on my last nerve, but we trudge on like the troopers we have become.  Our latest arrow in the quiver is Dr Wharton of MUSC in Charleston.  Dr Grainger had managed to get us in to see him in an amazingly short time.  The waiting list is usually over six months. We're told that  Dr Wharton is the best there is where the procedure known as an Ablation is concerned, in fact teaching the procedure to surgeons all over the East Coast.  Mac's problem with AFib (or Atrial Fibrillation) is no better than it has ever been, indeed it is worse.  He has been in AFib for nearly 97% of the time since January 8th (this according to the recently implanted Pace Maker).  So off we headed to Charleston last week. 

I had taken the address provided by MUSC and put it into the Tom Tom as soon as I had the information.  Since we planned to leave at 5 am, I left nothing to chance.  The letter from MUSC giving directions and appointment time had rested in the bottom of my purse for over a week, a small bag which held his medicine was hanging on the front door so we couldn't miss it and the phones were charged, ready to go.

Tuesday morning we managed to get out the door by 6 am, just an hour later than planned, but according to Tom Tom it would only take 2 hours and 28 minutes to get there, so we were confident that we would arrive in plenty of time for the 10:30 am appointment.  I listened to Nell (Tom Tom's voice avatar) as she guided us confidently down the highways and for the first time did not lead us off onto the unbeaten path we would discover was the wrong way a few miles down the road.   While part of me wonders how any of us ever managed to get from point A to point B without these GPS systems, I was still suspicious of their actual  intentions.  I did not trust Nell to get us there without some complication.  Call it my natural skepticism, call it what you may, but I just did not trust her.  I have a suspicion that she drinks.

We were amazed when we hit the Charleston area at how homesick we felt.  The signs for the Naval Weapons Station, Remount Road, Goose Creek...it was like coming home.  But as we got closer to Charleston proper it was like a nightmare.  The interstate lanes  twined in and out and around and over and by now Nell was beginning to sound harried.  And that is when it happened.  I looked ahead of us and saw this monstrosity of a bridge looming ahead of us. Oh Dear God, (I was praying aloud) please don't LET THAT BE THE WAY!  And that's when it happened.  The little harpy living in the GPS said "stay left" and the next thing I knew we were headed into the jaws of hell and ascending rapidly towards what I was afraid would seal our doom.  Nell immediately tried to correct her mistake with shouts of "GO RIGHT GO RIGHT" and I was threatening to throw her little booty out the side window without further adieu.  Mac told me to calm down we would turn around after crossing the Arthur Ravenel Bridge...I guess I was shouting at Nell and at one point Mac said it sounded like Nell was shouting back.  It was a scenario Stephen King would have been proud of.  We finally got turned around and Nell took a long beat before getting us back on track.  We pulled onto Courtney Drive at exactly 8:45...I thought about the harrowing trip over that suspension bridge (both ways) and shuddered.  "There's a restaurant, pull in, " I told Mac..."I need a cup of coffee."  Glaring at Nell, I unplugged her and put her into her little carrying bag.  I'm sure she was glad to be back in its soft confines.  I'll bet the first thing she did was get roaring drunk. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Discovery Place...Chesterfield County South Carolina

Mac and I have this new social life these days.  Our closest alliances now seem to be with our Doctors. I discovered that he had not seen his Primary Care Doc (Dr Ken Moyd) in several months.  Well, he had been sort of busy trying to stay alive with the help of Drs Grainger and Eddleson...and a good job of it they did.  So I made the appointment and off we went today.  I had put the address in the TomTom to see which was the shortest way to Society Hill.  It took us a way we had never been before.  When we got on #1 we went through Patrick.  Patrick doesn't get much attention as towns go, but its a lovely rather bucolic little town.  Just after we had turned onto the highway I saw a sign that read "Brown Cemetery".  (I think our county may have more family cemeteries than most.)  I recalled when we were children that on at least 4 Saturdays a summer my grandparents received a visit from Uncle Led Brown.  He walked and hitchhiked from Patrick to Chesterfield on 145 to Mammy and Daddy Dwight's.  I can see him walking up the dirt drive off highway 145, dressed in an old timey (even for that time period) suit, crisp white shirt with a campaign type hat clamped on his head.  You know I was nearly grown before I realized that Uncle Led was Uncle Ed ...it was that hat.  I identified him as if the hat were a lid or in our vernacular a led...so, Uncle Led. 

my grandparents...Daddy Dwight and Mammy
It didn't seem that anyone was particularly glad to see the old man, but he was always glad to see the entire family.  He would sit with a hot cup of coffee, pouring it from his cup into his saucer and sip at it gingerly, as though it might get away from him if he wasn't careful.  He would talk about a lot of nothing, just visiting and enjoying the fellowship, as he called it.  He would rave on about Mammy's biscuits (one of which he held in his bony old fingers, occasionally dipping it into the coffee left in the cup.)  He would  ask if mayhap she had fried any of Dwight's sausage for breakfast, and mayhap there was any left of that flavorful meat we were treated to on a Saturday.  He would sit soulful eyed, that old war hat rocking on his knee, giving Mammy the look.  You know the look...most old dogs perfect it by the age of 7.   Sighing deeply, she would look in the oven to see if there were any left over bits and pieces.and sure enough there would be cold scrambled egg and that sausage attributed to Daddy Dwight and it went just so well with that angel pillow of a biscuit.  That old man wasn't much to look at, but he had a way of getting things done to his advantage.  So today when we were traveling down to Society Hill via the sweet little town of Patrick, Uncle Led was once more on my mind.  I know where the Brown Family Cemetery is now.  I think one day soon I'll go look him up.  I wish I could offer him a cup of coffee and a biscuit.  Maybe I will just have a cup and a bite in his honor.  Cheers Uncle Led.  I always loved you.