The Odyssey (or Why I Never Want to Go to Houston, TX Again)

John Parks-Coleman

The Odyssey (or Why I Never Want to Go to Houston, TX Again)

John Parks-Coleman
Movement Disorder.

Such an ambiguous "diagnosis" it is, and it can be brought on by so many various conditions, medications, injuries, the list goes on and on; and, when you read about it, the description(s) are almost like reading a horoscope in the back of a newspaper (Oh, that describes - insert name here).  My Wife's Neurologist has been trying his absolute best to nail down, exactly, what is causing her steady physical and mental decline.

Most of us are aware that Dementia is not a diagnosis, rather a symptom of a much greater condition (Alzheimer's, Traumatic Brain Injury, etc.); and, it can be caused by even more conditions than are realized.  The same can be said about Movement Disorder.  How it presents can be very symptomatic of many of the well-known conditions; however, it can also be brought about via extended use of medications, improperly prescribed medications, and even something that you may never associate with Movement Disorder - poorly fitted dentures.  I digress, this post isn't about some of the things I've been reading, it's about the journey to, and from, the location at which I read...Houston...Texas...and one of the largest Medical Complexes in America...and the importance that webmasters have in their responsibilities....and what happens when they fail to carry those responsibilities out.




Three months ago, the Neurologist that has been working with Yvonne and I to figure out what is causing this rapid decline in her health placed a referral to the Parkinson's and Movement Disorder Clinic with Scott & White Hospital, which recently became Baylor Scott & White; since, it partnered with Baylor College of Medicine.  This is a good thing, when you look at the big picture.  More available resources for treating physicians, more opportunity for medical students to become involved with patients (the trend of putting the patient first in medical training has not been advanced forward many times in the history of medical education), and more importantly, readily available resources for second-opinion options for the Patient and Caregiver.  The layer-cake of Patient, Caregiver, Nurse, Physician, and Pharmacological Staff needs to be baked in the proper order, with an emphasis on the ingredient of C.A.R.E. = Caregivers Acquire Required Education (I just thought of that as I'm writing this post, but it applies to all Caregivers - we tend to "drink from the firehose" on many medical-related subjects).  There I go again, digressing...




Through a long drawn out process, we finally got an appointment scheduled with the Baylor Scott & White Parkinson's and Movement Disorder Clinic.  The initial appointment was scheduled for December of 2014, we requested a new-patient packet via e-mail and snail-mail (which we didn't receive).  We wound up not being able to attend that appointment due to mechanical problems with my Chevy and my knee and my back...you get it.  So we re-scheduled for January.  After repeated calls to the clinic, I finally got someone on the phone, and I explained that we still had not received their new-patient packet, and I was informed that the packet would be placed in the mail that day, and I would receive one via email as well (still didn't happen).  One week prior to the appointment, Yvonne took a fall, and I had to get her to the ER (incidentally, it was the hospital at our local Baylor Scott & White that we went to for emergency examination).  The following day, I called to re-re-schedule the appointment with the Baylor Scott & White Parkinson's and Movement Disorder Clinic and again informed them that we still had not received the new-patient packet...we hadn't even received a sticky-note with a hastily written address on it.  The appointment was re-re-re-scheduled for February.  This appointment would be attended, by hook or by crook, I was going to get Yvonne to the clinic if it killed me (and it almost did).

We prepared for this trip, Yvonne and I, at least we thought we did.  We prepared snacks, charged all of our gadgets, loaded emergency essentials into the vehicle; and, mapped out the route using Google Maps and used Google Street View in order to get a good idea of where we were going and what the destination looked like from the perspective of the street.  Having never received the new-patient packet, I had to rely on Google Maps and the website of Baylor College of Medicine for the physical address of the clinic.  The day prior to the appointment, I spoke to a woman named Kimberly; and, she assured me that not having the new-patient packet would not be an issue, that Yvonne would still be seen.  So, with a good breakfast in our bellies (I made omelettes and cinnamon toast for breakfast), a full tank in the Equinox, scooter fully charged and loaded (don't forget to load Yvonne), and a cooler full of water and juice, medications for the day...you get the point...we set out.  This is a three-hour trip, to get from our home, to Houston.  We left the house at 0800hrs, plenty of time for me to get lost and not ask for directions (only I didn't get lost, so we got there in plenty of time...or so I thought).

Now, traveling through Texas can be particularly harrowing for an interracial couple.  There are still many "Sun-Down Towns" in America, and many of them are in Texas.  Stopping in any random town is not an option for a couple like us, so we have no choice but to take extra precautions when traveling (fuel levels and readily available snacks and drinks are a must).  Although I do own firearms, I don't use them for defense, they are locked away in my gun safe for safety; and, to prevent so many other horrible things from happening (recreational shooting, yes...shooting at someone in the house, no).  To be honest, I did consider traveling with one my handguns in the event of being in a situation; however, common-sense prevailed, and I kept them locked away (which potentially saved someone's life, more on that later in the post).  So, while I do have a concealed carry license, it doesn't say anywhere on it that it's mandatory (sorry, I'm getting off topic again).

So, we made great time all the way to Houston, and through preparation, we didn't have to stop anywhere for anything along the way.  Google Maps announced "Destination Arrived" as I guided the Chevy into the lower level of the parking garage.  I collected my parking token, put it into my pocket, found a great parking space close to the elevator, and began getting Yvonne ready for the trip up to the 18th floor.  I gathered my back-pack with Yvonne's records (never count on any clinical doctor to be able to gain access to electronic records), took my coat off (it had gotten up to 88 from 52 degrees), unloaded the scooter, loaded Yvonne into it, marked the GPS of where the Chevy was parked (or so I thought), then we headed to the elevator.  Up to the 18th floor we raced...all the way to the first floor...nice empty lobby with construction workers milling about, looking at us like we had elbows for ears.  I thought to myself, "Self, what is going on here?  What did you do?  Are we lost?"  Self said to me, "John, you drove all the way here, Google Maps said you arrived at your destination, it looks exactly the same on Google Street View...it's not something you did," Self said, "something is odd, I see."  (Odd I see...Odyssey).

Trams and buses were racing past outside the lobby doors.  All the signage said Baylor College of Medicine, we were in the right place however we were not at the right physical address...I found that out after twenty minutes on the phone, arguing with someone from the very clinic where we were supposed to be (now we were thirty minutes late).  So, we went from being early for the appointment, to being late during the time it took for us to park, get ready, and travel exactly one-hundred-and-eighty-four feet (including the elevator ride from the parking garage to the ground floor).

So, the address that the clinic 'used to be' was 6550 Fannin Street; it had been moved...to where?  I called the clinic.  Speaking to the random person that answered the phone, I asked what the address to the clinic is, he stated that the address is 6550 Fannin Street.  I told him he was full of "excrement" and explained that I was physically AT 6550 Fannin Street, and there were, in fact, zero clinics in the building.  He hung up on me.  I called back.  A woman answered the phone.  I explained the situation, again.  Again, I wast told that the address was 6550 Fannin Street.  I explained, again, that the clinic couldn't possibly be in the building.  Again...hang-up.  Now I was really angry (to put it lightly).  I was infuriated, to be honest; and, now we were beyond late for the appointment.  I called the clinic again and this time I asked to speak to the Patient Advocate.  Promptly, I was placed on hold... for a little over fifteen minutes.  While I was on hold, I was asking every person who passed us on the sidewalk if they knew where this mystery-clinic was and those that knew of the clinic said it was at 6550 Fannin Street (aka Smith Tower).  They would give me directions on how to get there, eagerly and with great detail and when I explained that we were standing directly in front of 6550 Fannin Street, then I'd get a shrug and a hasty "dunno".  To be fair, there were quite a few people who went out of their way in order to try and assist us in finding the mystery clinic and to those few people, I am thankful for their courtesy and concern.  During this time of interaction with people on the street, I was splitting into two people.

Half of me was insane with rage (and the people who were trying to help me probably saw that in my eyes) and the other half of me was what I describe as "bef--kled".  Somewhere between befuddled, and realizing that you are totally f--ked in a given situation.  As I was reevaluating my stress level, and with Yvonne doing her absolute best to keep me calm, I heard a busy signal on the phone (I was still on hold).  The last bit of patience I had fell to the ground and shattered into a million little pieces of anger, anxiety, frustration, and the overwhelming urge to throttle someone.  Before I could throttle someone, I had to find the mystery clinic.  Down the street, I saw Baylor College of Medicine Campus Office on a sign.  We made our way to the building.  Yvonne said she wanted to wait outside, while I went in (I'm pretty sure that at this point, she really needed a break from me, even though she was just as frustrated as I).  There was a security guard at the front of the building, and he said he'd keep his eye on Yvonne's safety.  Into the building I went.

The information desk, just inside the entrance, had two very nice people working with people coming and going.  I approached them, and explained the situation.  One of the very helpful people cheerfully said, "Oh, that clinic is in Smith Tower, which is on 6550 Fannin Street!"  I smiled (probably looking like a psychopath at this point).  "Are you sure?"  I asked her.  "Oh, yes, I was just over there a couple days ago."  She cheerfully said.  I turned to the other person, a woman who clearly saw that I was on the edge of selecting Miss Cheerful as the recipient of my frustration.  "Sir" Wise-Woman said, "Let me look on the Campus Directory and see if I can get you some accurate information."  She found the clinic website (the same that I had found after never having received that new-patient packet).  She grabbed her phone and dialed the clinic number and, surprisingly, she wasn't transferred into the ether or placed on hold.  She asked where the clinic was located, and scribbled the address on the print-out.  She hung the phone up, called the Patient Advocate, and explained the situation to him, that we were late for the appointment, but it was due to an error made by someone else.  The Patient Advocate said that Yvonne would still be seen, if we could get there within fifteen minutes.  He asked to speak to me, probably not realizing that he was on speaker phone.  While he was offering his apologies (for what he was apologizing for, he didn't know, but he knew that there was an apology to be given), I was checking the map for the physical address of the clinic.  It was 1.8 miles from where I was standing.  I cut him off, during his random-apology, "Sir, have you ever traveled with a patient that has Parkinson's or Movement Disorder?"  He replied that he hadn't.  I explained that fifteen minutes wasn't going to cut it, that between loading, unloading, and all the accoutrement we would need at least thirty minutes.  So, with that worked out, I thanked Wise-Woman with a hug, and went outside to meet up with Yvonne.  She was telling dirty jokes to the security guard.  I thanked him, and Yvonne and I headed back to the parking garage in order to get back in the Chevy.

We now had another problem.  The pedestrian gate to the parking garage was locked; and, the front door of the building was locked.  We couldn't make it back into the building!  I called the Patient Advocate back and told him what was going on, he explained that he would have the security team get the gate back open and that it shouldn't have been locked to begin with (really?), since there were still vehicles parked.  Yvonne suggested that we just walk.  At first, I thought she was joking... but she was serious.  "You could use the time to calm down, and the walk will do good for relieving some of your stress," she explained.  Made sense (at the time).  We set off, her on her scooter, me walking beside her.

Time had slipped by during the attempt to find the mystery-clinic.  It was now going on 1530hrs.  Three-and-a-half hours had been spent trying to find this place, only to find that the actual address was 7500 Cambridge Street, 8th floor.  The walk to the clinic took thirty-two minutes.  Yvonne's suggestion hadn't worked... at all.  Now, not only was I still stressed out over the mystery clinic, but both knees, and back were killing me and to make it worse, even though I had pain medication with me, I couldn't take it, because I still had to drive us back home, and go to work the following morning.  My phone beeped at me.  It was Google Maps explaining that pedestrian access to the building was blocked by construction.  Google Maps was correct... we couldn't get through to the building via the directions given by the Wise-Woman at the front desk, and we couldn't access the building because it was locked.  We made our way around, as the hand-written directions explained, and Google Maps confirmed, yet somehow, we were still not able to get into this mystery clinic.  I gave up.  I was in too much pain, with too much frustration, to continue.  I sat down on the curb.  Yvonne could see that I was folding under the pressure like a cheap lawn chair.  She slowly wheeled up to me to give me a kiss, running over my foot in the process.  The kiss helped ease the frustration, and the pain in my foot distracted me from the pain in my knees and back (it's the little blessings that can help the most).

I noticed two security guards walking toward us.  They introduced themselves.  I can't remember both of their names, but one was named Jasmine.  Once Yvonne and I explained the situation, they explained that we were, indeed, in the right place; however, due to following the map as explained by the Wise-Woman, we were on the wrong side of the building.  Jasmine's partner got on the radio and was able to grant us access to the building via the side we were on and they escorted us up to the clinic.  Yvonne explained the experiences we'd had throughout the day, and Jasmine and her partner listened intently, and were very sympathetic.  We were finally at the mystery clinic!

I was attempting to get Yvonne checked in to the clinic, and I was asked if I had a new-patient packet.  Before I could even begin to explain the situation, the "gentleman" working at the far right-side of the counter made a snide comment, "Well, they're so late, don't waste your time... if they can't find the clinic, don't bother with the packet."  TARGET ACQUIRED

I began to unload on him, verbally.  During the process, I realized that I recognized his voice!  This was the oxygen-thief that had kept hanging up on me!  This man-child that obviously spent more time eating Cheetos, judging by the stains on his fingers and shirt, than assisting patients and Caregivers.  Literally, I was preparing to jump over the counter and choke this guy to unconsciousness.  I was planning, actively, to subdue him, and make an example out of him - that's what was going on in my mind.  I took a step forward, and put one hand on the counter, getting ready to vault over it when I heard, "Mr. Parks-Coleman, is that you?".  Slowly, I turned, and I was standing face to face with the Patient Advocate.

He asked why we were so late.  Still wanting to use all of my Combatives Skills on Mr. Cheetos, and keeping him in my vision, I produced the printout from their website.  The Patient Advocate, whose name I can't recall at the time of this writing, took one look at it and asked where I got it from. I simply pointed to the bottom of the page which, had the link from where I had printed it from... his clinic's website.  Right about then, the Nurse came out to get Yvonne brought back to get her vitals.  The Patient Advocate went behind the counter to Mr. Cheetos, and told him to update the address on the clinic website.  So, Mr. Cheetos had not only repeatedly hung up on me, he was also the webmaster for the clinic.  He hurriedly went to typing.  I couldn't help but to ask the Patient Advocate if he paid Mr. Cheetos in money or junk food.  Mr. Cheetos glanced up at me, and I said, "Do something!"  I was still ready to take him out - to turn him into a donation to science... but I had Yvonne to think about.  If I went to jail for unleashing my anger and frustration on Mr. Cheetos, who was going to take care of Yvonne?  Bonz can only do so much, and his paws just aren't made for arranging medicine or cooking Yvonne's favorite meals.

The Nurse came back to the front to retrieve me.  She explained that Yvonne was hollering about not being seen without her Caregiver present.  "Is she always like this?" the Nurse asked.  I explained that there are thousands of people like this, people who rely on their Caregivers for safety and support an, that for 'Nurse' to not understand the precious balance that Caregiver and Caree have is for 'Nurse' to show her ignorance to patient care.

She led me back into the catacombs of mystery clinic.  There was Yvonne, scooter parked outside the room in the hallway, sitting in a chair.  I sat next to her.  Shortly, the Doctor came in, and the examination began.  To the credit of the Doctor, she was very patient and understanding and not the Doctor that we were scheduled to see (the scheduled Doctor had long since left the building).  Now, this post isn't about the visit with the Doctor, I'll write a separate one for that subject, based on the diagnosis and, if accurate, the road-map of treatment.  This post is actually just beginning.  The trouble was just starting; and, we were a long way from home, safety, and the comfort of knowing that Yvonne would be safe in my arms.




It was a little after 2130hrs when the Doctor was finished with the examination; which, was recorded for Baylor College of Medicine, I recorded it as well in order to share with Yvonne's Neurologist and our Doctor at Advanced Pain Care in Round Rock, TX.  When the visit was complete, the Patient Advocate came and gave me three "forever" parking validations and thirty-five dollars to cover parking expenses.  Mr. Cheetos was, wisely, not present; and, although everyone else was gone, I still wanted to get my hands on Mr. Cheetos.  I only have peace because I believe in Karma and Karma, well we all know what they say about Karma, she can be a (I digress again).

The Doctor went down with us in the elevator and we met Jasmine and her partner again.  Jasmine was attempting to get a cab for me, in order to get me back to the parking garage to get the Chevy.  I wasn't about to bring Yvonne on a walk across the campus at night.  The Doctor explained that her husband was en route to pick her up, and that they would bring me to the parking garage.  I accepted the offer, thanking her for her kindness.  Moments later, her husband arrived, and I got in the back seat of their vehicle.  They brought me back to Smith Tower.  I thanked the Doctor for seeing Yvonne, thanked her husband for driving me back to the parking garage, and bade them farewell.  As they pulled away, I began walking into the parking garage... nothing looked familiar.  Was I in the right place?  It looked familiar from the street... better check the parking token... it was in my pocket... of my coat... which was in the Chevy... which was in the parking garage... of another building than the one I was standing inside of... no problem, I remembered that I had marked the location on my phone's GPS.  I pulled out my phone and looked at the map... interesting point to remember, GPS doesn't tend to work underground.  In my haste to get Yvonne up to the 18th floor of the wrong building, I hadn't noticed that the GPS didn't actually save my location.  Now I was in trouble.  My parking token was in my coat, which was in the Chevy, which was underground.  Time, ticking-ticking-ticking away.  Yvonne was with Jasmine and her crew, so she was safe.  Now I just had to find the Chevy.  Easier said than done since it turns out that there are twenty-six parking garages in that location.  I felt confident that I could find the vehicle rather quickly.  Notice I used the word felt just now.  Past tense not because I am recounting a story that happened in the past, but because I no longer feel that I can find the Chevy (I have it, now; and, I did ultimately find it that night) anymore.

Checking my surroundings, I realized that I was standing in front of 6500 Fannin Street.  It shouldn't be a problem to find 6550 Fannin Street... same street, one number different in the address, it's just a matter of looking at the building numbers and finding the right building (don't kid yourself, you haven't read this much to find an ending as such, you KNOW something happened).

As I examined the buildings around me, I noticed that the buildings, although numbered, were identified by their names:  M.D. Anderson, University of Texas, Baylor University, Shriners Hospital, St. Judes Children's Hospital... you name a prominent hospital or teaching medical facility, and they are there.  All of these institutions are great, to be sure; however, all of these institutions have multiple parking facilities.  All of these institutions evidently used the same architect and contractor(s) to erect their parking facilities.  All of these institutions also have valet services that will park your car anywhere and then leave for the day (at least there's that, I didn't use the valets).  So, I began walking through each parking garage.  Because I remembered exactly what the entrance to the parking garage looked like, I was easily able to cross at least fifteen of them off the list of this misadventure.

The sun had long since gone down and keeping my cell phone in my pocket, with my bluetooth earpiece in my ear listening to the map traffic as I walked toward 6550 Fannin Street, dodging traffic (crosswalks are there for a reason drivers!), avoiding the trams that were virtually silent, and the busses that careen around corners like stunt-drivers, I kept hearing the map application tell me that UU Enterprises was approaching from 150' behind me...

I was being followed!  Ducking into the nearest well-lit building, I mixed in with the crowd in the lobby.  Trying not to look obvious that I was scanning the sidewalk outside, I kept one eye on my cell phone as UU Enterprises approached the way that I had come; and, as UU Enterprises approached my location, I discovered that it was actually a group of people.  Then I re-checked what UU Enterprises was listed as on the map application:  it reads UU Enterprises Wink (dealers of the green variety).  Something to avoid.  Also, important to insure that I turned off my bluetooth broadcast (it works both ways, and people can find you).  I don't believe they were following me, specifically, rather they were walking around "advertising" to other people that were using their cell phones to navigate the campus.

I left the lobby and walked the other direction.  My anxiety associated with incidents in my past was increasing; however, I still couldn't take my medications, because I still had to get to the vehicle to get Yvonne, to get out of the area and home to safety.

Two hours later, I still had not located the Chevy and I had enlisted the help of several campus security officers, three cab drivers, and Jasmine (who was still watching out for Yvonne back at the mystery-clinic).  Jasmine regularly called me in order to keep me updated on Yvonne's status, and to make sure I was still in one piece.  It was shortly after one of these updates, as I was putting my phone back into my pocket that it happened.

Glancing down, briefly, to place my phone in my pocket, I heard footsteps, running footsteps.  They were coming from the alley across the street and up to the right.  At the same time, a bus was stopping at the bus stop.  As a man departed the bus, the running footsteps increased in cadence.  Before I could really see what was going on, the man that had stepped off the bus had been knocked to the ground.  The footsteps kept running, straight into the parking garage that I was about to enter.  Police officers were there at the scene before I could even get to the man that, as it turns out, had been stabbed!  I informed one of the officers that the person who stabbed the man, now being attended to by physicians that had apparently been on the same bus, had run into the parking garage.  I offered a statement, was informed that I need not worry, that because it was so dark and I couldn't identify the person who did it, I would be of little use (about as useful as a parking token sitting in my coat pocket in the Chevy that I couldn't find).

After leaving the scene, I kept searching parking garages, save for the one that the criminal ran in to and I was debating what to do when I saw a woman come out of the University of Texas building and sit down on the stoop.  Approaching her, I asked if she would mind if I sat with her for a moment.  She obliged, and I shared everything with her that you have been reading.  Using her phone, she was able to point me in the shortest, most direct route to the parking garage that I had used.  We sat together for a while, her name was Susan and she doesn't really know how I was feeling on the inside, but I'm sure she could sense it.  She was waiting for her husband to come pick her up and she gave me a great place to go in order to keep safe... the Transit Authority.  The building I had been trying to get to was quite far away at this point and according to my cell phone, I had already walked over eight miles trying to find this place.  Her husband arrived, and we parted ways.  My cell phone rang, and it was Jasmine.  She had contacted Baylor Security who, in turn, had dispatched an officer with a vehicle in order to help me get to the right parking garage.

When the officer arrived, he very patiently drove me to three parking garages (it turns out that each parking garage has four sub-parking areas, and I probably would not have found the Chevy that night, at all).  He brought me to the Chevy in relatively short order and he made sure that I made it back to Yvonne safely.  I had never been so lost in my life and knowing that I have navigated through some serious terrain in my time in the Army, and have traveled through entire countries without ever needing a map - but getting lost in Houston made me feel disillusioned with myself.  How could I have gotten so far lost when trying to find this building?  The officer explained that it happens every day, many times every day, to the very people that live and work there.  The city will kill you, if you lose your way.  Spending the majority of my life in areas of America where the tallest building is a water-tower, being lost in the city can be pretty daunting.

So, finally, I was reunited with Yvonne!  Jasmine and her team had taken great care of Yvonne and even made sure she was fed (pizza and chicken wings).  We gave them hugs and I expressed my gratitude for them (the security team were the only ones, that day and night, that were not only willing to help, but ensured that Yvonne's dignity remained intact in the process).

Once I had the vehicle warmed up, I realized how cold I had gotten.  The temperature had dropped down to 30 degrees and I had left my coat in the car (never doing that again).  I got Yvonne situated in the car, and we prepared for the trip back home.  It was 2348hrs.  I contacted my Manager via text message to let him know my status, he told me to take the following day off; thankful for his understanding and compassion, I drove off the campus and to the nearest gas station:  Shell Food Mart on Alameda Road.

We pulled in to the parking lot and I unloaded Yvonne.  We both needed to use the restroom, get fuel, and Yvonne wanted to browse for her favorite candies.  I asked the attendant where the restroom was, and he replied, "F--k You, get out of my store!"  Thinking I was going crazy, I asked him to repeat what he had just said, and he did, adding that "F--king Veterans and their N----r Bi---es are not welcome in this store".  I snapped his picture with my cell phone, snapped another one of the store itself, considered taking my anger out on him... decided against it, going to sue instead.

We left the store, and found an Exxon.  There, we were treated with dignity and respect.  Filled with fuel, coffee, and Yvonne's candy, we began making the journey back home.  We still had to drive the three-hundred miles back home, through those same "Sun-Down Towns" between Houston and our town.

Making my way onto the interstate, I felt a little safer and I began to feel relief of my anxiety... the pain I was enduring was catching up to me (and incidentally it was helping to keep me very alert).  As we were driving, a black SUV pulled up next to my Chevy.  In my peripheral vision, I noticed the passenger side window of the SUV lowering.  The SUV drifted closer to me, and I glanced over to see the muzzle of a hand-gun sticking out of the window pointed in my direction.  Training kicked in.  I slammed the brakes on, throwing my right arm out to brace Yvonne.  Gunfire ripped through the air.  The shots were meant for me, but they were received by the guardrail on the right side of the road.  I crossed two lanes over, and made escape via the on-ramp to I610 Loop.  Heart pounding, I navigated an alternate route back to the interstate.

We pulled into the driveway at 0348hrs the following morning.  After unloading Yvonne, getting a fire started to keep her warm, I lay down next to her on the sofa and fell asleep on her lap.  All the nightmares from years past and what I experienced through the past twenty-two hours caught up with me in my sleep.  I was back awake two hours later.  Then I remembered, I'm home now, I can finally take my medications:  anxiety, pain, and sleep.  Just as I was laying back down, Yvonne asked if I could cook her breakfast.  I obliged, omelette, cinnamon toast, banana-strawberry smoothie, followed by my much needed sleep.

So, there you have it!  That's what's I've been recovering from, while working and Caregiving.  I look forward to the Podcast tomorrow with Denise and then its off to work.  Back to some semblance of normalcy.  The lessons learned from this misadventure are as follows:

  • If you fail to receive a new-patient packet from any medical facility, contact the Patient Advocate, detail the dates and times that you spoke to them, and if they fail to provide the needed information, re-schedule the appointment until you receive the packet.

  • Never assume that you are speaking to someone that actually works in the clinic that you are to attend, chances are, you've been turfed off to some answering service that fails to get the message to the intended recipient.

  • Keep your parking token!  In your pocket, of your pants, not your coat.

  • Stay out of Houston when the sun sets.

  • As much as you may want to commit a felony-assault on Mr. Cheetos, don't do it, Karma will handle it for you.

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PearLady

Would have been a hand-holder if I would have known. Now, I've proof in this post that no one will ever come down and visit, and that makes me sad as well. :(

jan

Thank you for continuing to share your story, John. You are certainly taking me places I have never been, and showing me how to cope in them with strength and dignity.

Denise

I just am so glad you received a hand-holder along the way. It's just awful to have a day like that day and be alone in it. \r\n\r\nPlease know that we're always with you holding your hand, too. And, we've got our fingers crossed you never, ever have another day like this.

Hansolosgirl

Just OMG. my son is in an inter-racial relationship. Even though he's half Mexican (from me) he looks white. His girlfriend is black. I am so happy we live in Southern California! They very rarely get any kind of nonsense, when they do its from young black men. Nobody else cares...and for that I'm glad. I honestly think they get more stares because she's tall and thin and about 4 in taller and he's short and a little chubby! Every time I read a post I end up asking them if they get any trouble and they laugh at me....no mom, nobody cares.