Though it seems like a year ago, I was in the big city of Portland, Oregon, just two weeks ago. It was my job to drive from a motel on Hwy 30 to the Veterans Administration Health Center and back and then back again. If you don't know where that is, you will not find much joy in this column but you might want to file it for future reference.
First, let me say that giving you the address of the PVAMC (Portland VA Medical Center) and/or OHSU (Oregon Health Science University) would be really silly. If you've been to either of these fine establishments, you'll get it. If you haven't, I'd like you to be very, very well informed before you climb the mountain which takes you to these two incredible health care facilities.
Let me say that your journey will be rewarded with the best health care you can find. The trick of it is for all of us who live in rural parts of Oregon and don't have a clue about finding our way around the city. Let's just say that some folks found really cheap land back a long time ago and decided to build medical centers on it. They did. Then, they did it again and again. In the winter of 1948 I was taken up a slippery slope to OHSU by my Uncle Wayne. Family lore says it was a chicken bone I was choking on. OHSU still has the record of that visit. REALLY? Yes.
Now, back to the true and real reason for this column. Since December 31, 2018, I have been wearing a CPAP. It hurts. It makes my head all bumpy and makes this old woman grumpy. Ridden of the scourge of an oxygen concentrator, I have been determined to make this gadget work. What this means is that I have tried at least three different sets of head gear. As I am a mouth breather I must have a full-face mask. Let's just say that these come in an annoying variety and with all their straps and stuff, they will make your head and neck pretty much useless but very painful.
I can't tell you how many years it has been that I have been honked, tooted or blasted at. These statistics have changed. Let's just say that during the third week of March, 2019, yours most truly broke all prior records and set new ones for being the target of honking, blasting and beeping in Portland, OR.
The worst of this was on the night I left Mr. S and his new knee at the hospital and drove back to the motel on Hwy 30. Friends, I had no idea how many horn sounds are available on the market. I consider myself to be a good driver unless I am in a city in which I do not REALLY know where in the %$#*+ I am and each lane of traffic matters. Pick the wrong lane and you'll be on your way to Seattle. I love Seattle but I really wanted to be headed toward a different destination.
All this might have been OK if we were at home on the beautiful Oregon Coast but driving sets sail when you HAVE to do it in the big city. It's even worse when you have to cruise the big city without your pilot. Let's just say that without Mr. S, I was a mess. He had helped me navigate for the weeks prior to surgery but then, he was gone. Left to his own devices in the comfort of the 9th floor of the VA hospital in Portland he waited, somewhat impatiently for his caregiver to arrive. To be honest, my caring skills and love didn't matter as much as I wanted them to. He wanted out of the hospital and I was his ticket.
I've always believed I was a good and safe driver until this episode. I got beeped, honked and blinked so many times that I waited for the BOOWAH. Thank God, I never ticked off a trucker and there were a lot of them on the road where I came from. When I headed for the hospital on that last day I had already decided that I wouldn't get in the way of ANYBODY. I wanted a perfect run.
Oh sure, we got home safely and each time I have to go to the city it seems that I learn something new. When Mr. S and I were married so many years ago, he advised me that I could drive. What this meant was that he really didn't want to.
All I have to say is, toot, beep, honk and BOOWAH!!!
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