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Blog Posted in avatar   Ken Wightman's Blog

Day 25_Do we abort?

By Ken Wightman
Posted Jun 22, 2010 in Travel
Do we abort the Morgan adventure? That was the big question on everyone's mind Sunday as we all sat in Marin General Hospital waiting for the results of the heart tests.
You see, Saturday I suffered a life-threatening arrhythmia event. While my friends were preparing a wonderful picnic lunch, my heart began to pound. By the time they got me to the hospital my heart rate was hitting 300 bpm --- although this number is meaningless. At 300 bpm one's heart is essentially just fluttering and not actually pumping. My hands and finger were turning blue.
The doctors in the hospital in Sonoma got out the paddles and hit me with 200 joules of electricity. When performing a cardio-version, doctors usually put the patient out first. Saturday there was no time. I was given the life-saving electrical jolt while still conscious. After shocking my heart back into its proper rhythm, I was rushed off to Marin General Hospital.
With a Sunday full of medical tests, it seemed the best thing to do come Monday, if the doctors allowed it, was to take the Interstates home. "Cut the vacation short" was the unanimous decision of all. But Monday, a check of MapQuest showed that we were a little more than 2500 miles from home. Even if we drove 400 miles every day, our traveller's insurance would expire before we reached the border.
A check with a woman at a local AAA office confirmed that our best response would be to head north for the Canadian border and if possible get ourselves back on schedule. Our schedule is not overly demanding and we have all our rooms booked. We could be back in Canada before losing our insurance and then travel home at a leisurely pace.
There should not be a recurrence as I am now on a beta-blocker which should keep the heart's electrical system performing.
What a way to treat friends! Stop in for a visit and consume their entire weekend with hospital duty. Ellen, a friend from my art school days, and her two daughters, Laura and Jess, were more than gracious. Jess brought me a wonderful sub sandwich while in the hospital. Monday Jess made Judy and me breakfast --- a breakfast that rated with the best offered by the bed and breakfasts at which we have stayed.
This holiday is not about places as much as it is about people. Ellen, Laura and Jess are the kind of folk who make this holiday great. All three are very life-affirming individuals. At the end of the holiday, these three will have a more lasting effect on my approach to life than all the mighty red woods we saw today.
Leaving Sonoma this morning, we thought we'd scoot up the freeway to Eureka but the day was hot and dry and the Morgan was soon hot and not so dry. Coolant was spraying out the hood louvers, leaving the driver's side wing wet with blue-green liquid.
Judy suggested we take highway 128 toward the coast where it would probably be cooler. We followed a red Firebird down the winding mountain road. With a horn much louder than ours, the Pontiac honked every slow moving car aside as together we headed for the PCH.
I would say the PCH is actually a more difficult road north of San Francisco rather than south. And it may be more scenic in some ways, too. The section running through the red wood forest was simply amazing. It is too bad that the large chip in our windshied caught the light in a very distracting way.
In the end, we made Eureka, CA, and I must now get to bed. Tomorrow is a big day. We are going to try and get back on schedule. It may be a hellishly long drive.
I must remember my heart medicine --- especially tomorrow.

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