Saturday, December 27, 2008

Destination Denver

We’re in Denver! We arrived at about 5pm yesterday afternoon after 22 hours of driving on 1402.5 miles of road. We passed through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado, crossing the major rivers Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri in the process. As we passed under the St Louis Arch, we were amazed to see large chunks of ice in the Mississippi.

We drove on one single interstate, I70, for a total of 583.4 miles. Crossing Kansas was probably the most interesting part. We saw wide open space for miles and miles, dotted with huge windmill farms, many little oil derricks which neither of us expected to see in Kansas, small family farms, huge industrial farms, tiny “towns”, all with their own church, where the economy was clearly centered around using, producing or repairing farming equipment. We were violently attacked by tumbleweeds rolling across I70 – in some cases the whole road was filled with them and we had no choice but to drive straight through, feeling them smacking against the car and, in one case, getting stuck on the grill for a few miles. We knew for certain that we were in the middle of absolutely nowhere when we saw a sign at the side of the interstate informing us that the next Starbucks was a mere 70 miles up the road. It must be the only Starbucks in a 200 mile radius.

Weather-wise we couldn’t have been luckier. We had bright sunshine for the whole drive, except for a bit of drizzle in Kansas City. We kept seeing huge black clouds and storminess to our North but never actually went into it. That’s particularly amazing, considering today there are major storms crossing through the Midwest.

Unfortunately we also experienced the first crisis of this cycle. Yes, indeed, I spoke too soon in my last post, too confident by far. I should’ve known better.

Some of our medicines need to be kept refrigerated, others at room temperature. I had bought a small beer can cooler for the refrigerated medicines and put some ice packs in with them, so that was fine. The room temperature drugs were in a bag on the back seat of the car, so that we could easily access them when it was time to pull over and administer them. However, probably about four hours before the end of that day’s drive we’d moved some things around and the bag must have tipped between the seats, because when we got to the hotel, the boxes were warm from the car heating blowing up from under the front seat. Since they need to be stored at no more than 77°F we were sure we’d over-heated and ruined them. Being Christmas night, we couldn’t call the pharmacy about it, so our evening took a complete nose dive, to say the least. Our carefully laid plans for Christmas dinner at the International House of Pancakes in Independence, Missouri, were blown apart, because neither of us felt like eating. The reason we’d carefully selected the IHOP was, at least in part, because it was the only place open in the whole of Independence on Christmas night. In fact, we hadn’t factored in the food situation on Christmas Day. I had made my own food for the lunches since there are only a few things I can eat (that’s for another post), but poor J the Elder started looking for some lunch, anything at all, from 11.30am onwards and we finally pulled into an open Hardees (yum yum) at 2pm. But I digress.

We knew the pharmacy from which we purchased the drugs opened at 8am eastern time. During the night, I had, at least partially, regained my ability to form normal, even logical thought processes and had thought about the fact that the drugs are shipped to me in a cardboard box with no refrigeration, even in the summer in Atlanta. If they were that sensitive, surely the pharmacy wouldn’t risk the likely scenario that they’d sit in a Fedex delivery van for several hours at 95°F? So when I called the pharmacist at exactly 7.02am central time (I thought I’d give her some time to take her coat off), she confirmed that all was well and, indeed, not only do they send the drugs out by Fedex overnight delivery unrefrigerated in summer and winter, but they actually receive them from the manufacturer unrefrigerated by ground transportation, any time of the year. The storage instructions are for people who think it might be a good idea to store the drugs in their garage for several months in the height of summer. What a huge relief; I can’t even tell you how happy we both were to hear that. Of course we were extremely careful, bordering on paranoid, on the second day of the drive. Now we’re here, all our meds are in their own unique and highly controlled environments.

Our first stim check is tomorrow morning!

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