Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My Fear of Merging

If I ever complain about being too cold in the winter, bitch slap me and remind me of the first week in August. I just finished 2,200 in the pool and it was refreshing. I felt like I could swim all day but I don't want to injure my shoulder. I feel really sorry for the animals, they only protection they have is shade from trees or the barn.

Have you ever started writing about something and get completely off track? That's what I did yesterday. I was planning on writing about taking a patient to the hospital but I wrote about Eddie. Here's my original story:

I told you that as an activities person, I had to take patients to doctor's appointments. One morning, I walked into the rest home and the supervisor tells me I need to take Walter to a hospital in Greensboro called Moses Cone. They gave me very basic directions. Go up 421, get on I-40 and it's on Elm Street. Sounded simple enough.

Walter was a very nice man. I bought him a root beer and Camel cigarettes and he was happy as a clam during the drive. I had never driven to Greensboro before. Everything was great driving down 421, it's a country drive most of the way. Walter was telling me about thousands of bugs that try to sleep with him at night. If he wears his Superman socks to bed, they don't bite him.

When I started to merge on I-40, I panicked. I only had 1/4 a mile to merge on the highway. There were two lanes merging into five. It was tractor trailer city. I was driving the rest home van. When I merge, I don't know how to gauge speed either. Should I speed up or slow down? I my frazzled state I asked Walter "Are there any cars or trucks coming? Can I get over??" He said the coast was clear so I quickly tucked behind a 18-wheeler with only 100 yards of merge lane left.

I couldn't find the hospital exit and my shoulders and neck felt tight from gripping the steering wheel too hard. I finally decided to get off the highway and stop at a gas station to ask for directions. When I walked up to the cashier, I realized I forgot the name of the hospital because I was stressing out so bad. It was 10:45 and Walter's appointment was a 11:00.
"Can I help you?" the guy at the register asked.
"I am lost. I need to find the hospital around here."
"Which hospital? There are many in Greensboro."

Fuck, think brain trust, THINK! A light bulb went off. "I need to find the hospital that is named after some character in the bible!"

They cashier gave me a weird look like I was playing a riddle game with him.
"You mean Moses H. Cone Memorial?"

Bingo! I could have kissed that dude. I didn't want to have to call the rest home to find out what hospital I was driving to again. He gave me directions and I sped away with ten minutes to make Walter's appointment. I told Walter we were running late, so we needed to hurry when we got there. I parked and got Walter out of the car. I held onto his arm to keep him walking at a fast pace. We made it, I was only three minutes late.

The nurse took Walter in the back and returns twenty minutes later with a concerned expression. She starts asking me medical questions about Walter, like he lives with me 24/7. How long has he had diabetes? What medications has he been taking to control his blood sugar? Does he wear glasses? How long has it been since his vision has changed? I told her she needed to call the rest home because I didn't know. Lady, I feel like I don't know fucking anything today! Not even the name of this hospital, okay?

"Well, Walter needs to go into surgery immediately! His diabetes has caused blindness and he needs surgery now if we are to save any vision."

Huh? What? Walter is blind? An hour ago, he had told me no cars and trucks were coming on I-40, "Go, the coast is clear!" Exact words.

I used up another one of my lives that day. We should have died, I hope I didn't cause any accidents. More baffling is how he lit his smokes and threw them out the window or knew where the cup holder was for his root beer.

I told my supervisor I wasn't driving back to the bible hospital to pick Walter back up. The drive was too scary. Walter returned two days later, both eyes all bandaged up with white gauze. He looked like The Fly.

I'm still afraid of merging on major highways. I still ask for help but I make sure my passenger isn't legally blind!


At 1:01 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Yikes! At least you didn't get into an accident. No harm, no foul! :)

At 10:44 AM, Blogger 21st Century Mom said...

OMG! I laughed when I read that Walter was blind. That is probably a sin or something but I couldn't help it. You are a fine story teller.

With merging I generally speed up if I am on the freeway in the way of a merger and slow down if I am on the ramp trying to get on the freeway. At some point you just have to glare at the person you need to squeeze past and think, really hard, "I have no options here - you HAVE to let me in!" From now on I'm going to refer to that maneuver as "The Walter"

At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mojo, a day without a story from you is a day without sunshine!
You are a hoot and so are your adventures!!!

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Jessica A. Freas "Freeze" said...

I am with 21st Century Mom... speed up off the ramp and scoot in as you accelerate! You look to your left as you are coming down the ramp to see where everyone is. Better yet, just let Don or Maddie drive! Hahaha!

Glad that you survived! Sorry about Walter. Hope he is okay!

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