El Milagro: The place is eerily quiet with only about half of the patients here for their sessions. The staff seemed to all be here, although Herman had mentioned earlier on the phone that some of them were having trouble getting in this morning. So what’s the deal?
ICE! We in Austin have had two days of the kind of weather that stops this city… aside from the Governor’s Inauguration Ball, which Rick Perry refused to cancel because it is HIS big deal. After all the money spent “the Committee” was not willing to cancel, even though only about half his nobility could perambulate the ice. For all others, the city authorities cautioned staying home. Schools, state offices, and restaurants were closed. Honky tonks stayed opened.
However, when one is dependent upon 21st century machinery to stay alive, one must brave the elements for a fix, no matter the slickitiness of the ice or depth of the snow drifts. I fondly remember my mother saying when I was an impressionable youngster, “...I remember… when I was a kid we walked fifteen miles through snow and slush just to get to school…” So, against the cautions of Toby the City Manager, I bundled up and headed out into the freezing afternoon sleet in Liz’s Sienna. I wasn’t gonna risk wrecking my T-100, was I? Besides, her Sienna has front-wheel drive.
The drive over to El Milagro was uneventful and I even picked Katie up from her on-and-off-again friend’s house and delivered her to her mother’s house on the way. There was no sliding around on the roads and actually very little ice that I could see.
But, the idea here is to consider how it feels to be dependent upon a machine that sits across town. I wrote in Post # 31 (click on July) about possible scenarios after N. Korea nukes Central Texas and here I am considering another scary scenario in which the needed machine sits across an icy wasteland racked by the worst blizzard of the century; and I must set out on snow shoes from my Oak Hill homestead, hoping to make it to the I-35 corridor before my energy wanes and I hallucinate that the next snowdrift looks a lot like my fluffy pillow and boy would it be nice to just lay down and close my eyes for a bit… “No. No.” I say to myself; “I must drag myself on. One step at a time. Don’t lay down” I scream at myself internally. “Move on! Onward through the fog.” So, just then this maroon Hummer comes along and the window rolls down and it’s Jerry Jeff, with his ‘old friend*’ hat on and he offers me a ride to the dialysis center. “Thank God for Austin musicians” I think, and Jerry Jeff adds, "..and don’t forget to support the Sims Foundation.**” And then, as I hop into the huge vehicle, I yell out to the white flurry, “… and support Musicares*** too!” Well, that’s one hallucination in which I make it. (I think I must have little icy shards within the folds of my brain.)
I don’t really like the idea of being dependent upon a machine across town. That is one of the down-sides of dialysis. Darn! But on the other hand, for an old person who used to live a life of risks, I guess the notion of depending on machine in a storefront across town does have a little exciting pizzazz. But driving over there and back in Austin's version of winter weather didn't really do it for me. (Boy am I getting old... and another fun exciting thing to do is to run backwards down the hill in my skivvies waving a pair of pinking shears.)
There ya go, Kokomo. Onward thru the Fog.
Later: Herman was interviewed on the 10 o'clock news tonight about how important it is for the center to stay opened during inclement weather. According to the report, "Madrid says he's had to dramatically alter patient schedules over the past few days to accommodate those patients. "For the most part, we have to stay open to make sure that these patients get the dialysis they need," said Madrid. "**** Good show Herman! You look very handsome on TV, by the way.
Notes: In at 75.9 and out at 72.1 Kgs.
*Jerry Jeff Walker's hat from Texas Hatters, online at http://www.texashatters.com/product_detail.php?id=86
**SIMS Foundation, online at http://www.simsfoundation.org/
***Musicares online at: http://www.grammy.com/Musicares/
****Ochoa, E. (2007) Patients weather ice storm for treatments. KVUE News available online at http://www.kvue.com/news/top/stories/011707kvuedialysis-cb.4d8c91a6.html