Jim and I are home from West Virginia - a day late - and I am glad.
Yes, we met lovely, friendly, funny people everywhere - - - that was good.
I presented Flesh on Old Bones, my storytelling with genealogy workshop to a full room of people who enjoyed it - - - that was good.
It was fun to tell the stories I use to illustrate how I combine the two - storytelling and genealogy - with a bit thrown in on gathering stories. Nice to bring out John Walter Cobb, Daddy's grandfather, and his mother Catherine Lonergan Cobb along with Mama and her story about the day "that little girl got shot. You can see an example of working on a story on Golf Improvisation, which I posted last Friday."
Another stay at a Marriott Fairfield Inn - - - also good.
We always stayed at a Fairfield Inn in Concord, NC when we visited Mama - so I was prepared to be well-treated in a nice environment - which we were.
Friday Jim and I ate supper at a Bob Evans restaurant near the hotel. I almost burst into tears when we stepped inside. It looked exactly like the Bob Evans in Concord where we often took Mama for supper.
Oh, my. It was an unexpected flood of memories and missing her - - it was also good.
Now the surprise.
Thursday evening Jim and I argued about turning up the heat in the hotel room. I was freezing cold: he was hot. I huddled under the skimpy blanket and complained. Finally he realized maybe something was off with him. He took his temperature. Damn- - 101.5. I drove to the near-by SUPER Walmart for Tylenol: he an antibiotic with him. As long as I was in the Walmart
I also picked up a pretty quilt - made in China - by machine - with occasional hand-stitching - paid a pittance for it - which would keep me warm. ( From now on I will travel with this WVA sourvenir in the car.)
Next day Jim rested, read, and worked on the taxes at the hotel while I conferenced. But - always the but - at supper Jim began to look peekity and have chills. After an exchange of my threats and his protests, he called his doctor in Bethesda and guess what? His doctor advised that I take Jim to an ER where a doctor could check him out.
I asked about hospitals at the desk. They had directions and very definite advice, "Not the local hospital. Take him to Ruby Memorial in Morgantown, its part of University of West Virginia, and an excellent hospital. Just 30 minutes away." Just then storyteller Katie Ross walked by, over-heard us and added, " he's right." I felt better about the choice at that.
One of the great things about West Virginia - where we were anyway - there is not a lot of traffic. I drove down the dark free-way under an inky sky but the world was bright - lit by a big, round, silver moon that was just glorious. The hotel directions were perfect as written; we did not even mess with the GPS. Drove directly to the Emergency Entrance of a huge hulking building.
They were not too busy but there is always a wait for triage and admission so you can see a doctor. Ushered into a very large, extensive emergency room we were assigned to a small examining room - bare-bones - - - except for a large LG flat screen TV on the wall at the foot of the rolling gurney.
And you know what else they had there?
free Wi Fi through-out the hospital.
My kind of place.
Listen, I never walk out of the house on one of these adventures without my laptop - because one thing you can count on in hospitals is waiting. Endless waiting.
Jim was poked and punched, stuck for blood, chest x-rayed and talked to. The staff was great. Young, fresh, friendly and eager. A nurse who lived in Jane Lew up the road was surprised that we knew it - that's where the WVA Storytelling festival was held and we went every year for five years. A young woman resident had just been in Charlotte that morning, flying back from a visit with her sister in Gastonia --- we also had Chapel Hill in common. Small world is so much fun.
Results of Jim's tests finally came back. He needed a bigger, meaner antibiotic. And he got it and a prescription for more.
It was now 4:00 am.
We had watched three movies and I got a LOT of work done.
We collapsed when we got back to the hotel, snuggled under the warm Walmart quilt.
My workshop was at 10:30 am that morning. I slept two hours. At the college by 9:30. Wide-eyed and ready. And it went well.
Or so they said.
Fortunately I taped it on my iPod and I will listen to it later.
Back at the hotel by 12:30 pm I crawled under the Walmart quilt and slept.
We decided to stay over and sleep a full night before driving the 4 hours home. It was the right plan.
PPS: Jim drove half-way home. Hurrah for antibiotics.