Another Hospitalization on the Road

I did not write a post yesterday. Instead, I was taken by ambulance to St. Anthonys Summit Hospital in Frisco, Colorado. Frisco is about a mile from Silverthorne, Colorado, where we stayed the night. Oddly, this hospitalization was probably my tenth or twelfth while in the midst of travel over the course of the last fifty years or so. Strange, indeed.

The adventure started, I think, as we drove from Provo, Utah toward the Denver area day before yesterday. The drive was considerably nicer than parts of the drive the day earlier. The geography, beginning outside Provo, continuing much of the way to Denver, was stunning. Spectacular rock formations, incredible colors, lovely forests, rivers with amazing rapids; the geology was remarkable. Temperatures for a significant part of the way were much warmer than I would like, but as we traversed Colorado toward Denver, the weather changed. We encountered much cooler temperatures and a fair amount of mostly light to moderate rain. Despite the lightness of the rain, it became more than a bit of a nightmare driving on roads that needed work (and were being worked on). So, instead of going all the way to Denver, we stopped in Silverthorne. The hotel did not have any king rooms available, so we got a Queen-Queen. After half an hour in the room, I was in much better shape, physically and mentally, than I was as I fought the rain and rain-slick roads that caused the car to hydroplane periodically. The only down side to the hotel, from my perspective, was the fact that kids (I assume) seemed to bounce and bang on the floor above us for quite a while. I would like to have called the room and asked their parents to remove the beasts to the parking lot for the night, but in order to maintain my zen-like demeanor for mi novia, I could not do that. I simply adjusted, somehow, and tolerated the intolerable.

During the course of the evening, things changed for me. My shortness of breath, always an annoyance, worsened. Sometime during the night, altitude sickness of some sort overtook me. My constant sinus drainage became worse. At the same time, I started having semi-hallucinatory experiences, in which I was attempting to satisfy competing demands for space by two guys who wanted control of a new facility that had been designed to help me with my sinus drainage. The details of the competition and my efforts to address it remain sketchy. At any rate, sometime during the night I went into the bathroom, I guess to blow my nose (?) and managed to pass out for a moment. I fell down onto the toilet, knocking my glasses to the floor. I panicked, not knowing just what had happened. I called out and mi novia came to my aid. Apparently, I was not entirely coherent for the duration of the episode. She wanted to call 911; I refused, saying it was nothing. We finally went back to bed. My weird dreams/hallucinations continued, though I never got back to sleep. I continued arguing about the space. Mi novia heard me speaking, aloud, all the remainder of the night. The next morning, she insisted on calling 911. A fully-outfitted ambulance and fire truck and another emergency vehicle were there in no time. Six EMTs came to the room and checked me out. They immediately determined the issue probably was altitude sickness. But they recommended transport to the ER; mi novia readily agreed and I reluctantly agreed. To make a long story somewhat shorter: oxygen brought me back to reality and good health. They advised us to continue on our way out of town, suggesting we get away from their 9000-foot environment to something less than 5000 feet. We did. Mi novia took the wheel for yesterday’s travel. The roads are atrociously bad; huge potholes, delaminated pavement, imbecilic drivers going 90MPH+ in zones marked for 60 (but should have been 40). The poor quality of the roads, alone, make a return trip to these parts of the state unlikely.

We drove as far as Castle Rock, Colorado, south of Denver, where we stopped for lunch at La Loma, a very high-end Mexican Restaurant. Rather than continue on, we opted to find a hotel and, if rooms were available, check in early. That we did. I went to sleep shortly after we arrived and slept for several hours. I woke for a while and then returned to sleep some more. Around 2:00 a.m., I had been asleep too long; my joints and muscles ached from that “too long in bed” experience. I got up for a while, then went back to bed, then got up again. I took a shower and shaved. In the meantime, mi novia awoke for awhile, then went back to sleep. I opened my notebook computer and here I am at 5:30 a.m., finishing up a day-late blog.

How far and where we will go today remains to be seen. I am feeling fine, so I plan to drive for at least a few hours, possibly making it to Santa Rosa, New Mexico or Amarillo, Texas today. We will make tomorrow a relatively short day, so we probably will not get home until the morning of the day after. I am ready to be home, if only to put an end to longer-than-I-like day journeys. I prefer road trips that last 300 to 400 miles per day, at most, and leave plenty of time for unplanned stops along the way. This trip had too many time-based obligations along the way and toward the end to allow that; another time, we will do that.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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