The Amend Corner

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time

By Don Amend
Posted 8/9/22

Sometime in June or maybe early July, a bit of cabin fever infected my bride and me. 

The main symptom of the malady was the urge to go on a trip, and we begn to explore the possibility. The …

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The Amend Corner

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time

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Sometime in June or maybe early July, a bit of cabin fever infected my bride and me. 

The main symptom of the malady was the urge to go on a trip, and we begn to explore the possibility. The most attractive idea was a trip West where we had some some compelling family opportunities. The first was a visit to Karen’s older sister, Christine, who lives with her husband Bruno near Grant’s Pass, Oregon.

Christine observed her 80th birthday a few weeks ago, and like many older people, her mental skills are declining; worse the decline appears to be accelerating. We haven’t visited with her since we watched the solar eclipse together from their other sister’s back yard a few years ago. Given those circumstances, both Karen and I thought a visit to Christine was something we had to do.

We were also drawn to a visit an hour or two south of Grant’s Pass in extreme northern California. Our son was taking a brief trip to see “the big trees” living in the area. His kids wanted to see them, so he had procured a small cabin in the area to serve as a base of operations. Since this was our last opportunity to see two of our grandkids until this time next year, we timed our trip so we could meet both objectives, a visit to one of the oldest living members of our generation and two of the youngest.

We planned an intinerary calling for a day’s drive across Yellowstone, south to pick up the interstate at Idaho Falls, and east toward Boise. Thanks to a slight delay in our start, we didn’t get as far as Boise, so we stopped in the town of Mountain Home. It was there that we experienced the first hint that this trip might not go as smoothly as it had in our planning.

We found a nice clean room in a motel run by an extremely congenial man whose slight accent must have originated in south Asia. We found something to eat and began to settle in for the night. That’s when things went awry. I lost my balance when I turned to leave the bathroom. I tried to make a soft landing by taking a seat on the side of the bathtub, but it was not wide enough, and I slid down the inside of the tub until I hit bottom. As I did, my head hit the wall behind me. It didn’t hit hard, and I was just barely aware that it happened.

Well, now we had to think a bit more about this trip. We did think about canceling and turning back home, but the compelling reasons for taking the trip were still there, and besides, I wasn’t feeling any worse than before the accident. I was feeling no new pains, so why stop now.

So off we went, and after the stress of  navigating the streets and highways in the Boise metropolitan area, we headed off across Oregon on good old U.S. 20, the highway I lived most of my life within three or four blocks from and the road that I took to imaginary adventures in my day dreams.

If you ever have the chance to drive that highway across the desert of central Oregon, I think it’s worth your while. The road meanders through a landscape of low hills and up and down ravines between higher hills that tower over you, all of which are colored by several shades of brown earth accented with gray-green sagebrush. Then it flattens out into huge areas populated with small herds of cattle, home to an occasional skinny black-tailed deer and dotted with a few roadside merchants selling gasoline, snacks, rest rooms and other signs of human activity. About halfway through the area lies the only town of any size, Burns, but we didn’t stop there.

In due time, we reached a more substantial town, Bend, and it was there that I began to feel the effects of sitting in the same position for many miles and its effect on what had happened to me the night before. I stiffly managed to pry myself out of my Toyota Camry seat — which, I have to say, is very comfortable — and walk around the car a couple of times to loosen the kinks in most of my muscles. Then we again headed south, to a small town about a half-hour away, where we secured a room and scrounged up a skimpy supper. During that time, I decided that maybe I should at least have a medical person take a look at me, and the next morning, we found the clinic in La Pine, Oregon.

The person who greeted me at the clinic took one look at my collection of medications and, when she found out I had bumped my head, she immediately concluded that the combination of a blood thinner and a bumped head merited an immediate look inside my noggin to make sure I wasn’t bleeding in there. Neither her small facility nor the emergency clinic a couple of blocks away could take that look, so she immediately ordered us back into our car and told my wife to drive back to Bend and directly to the hospital for evaluation. She even showed me how to get there on my iPhone, and off we went. 

At the Bend hospital, I received a couple of unpleasant surprises, but that will have to wait.

To be continued ...

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