17 April 2014
We’re going to be going over mountains, so I take the special meds. I hate it with a burning passion, and you’ll understand why in a bit.
I take it because it increases oxygen concentration in the blood, which means less altitude sick. I get altitude sick in a ten story building. Only a slight exaggeration.
Four thousand feet is where I really start to feel it, though. Since I’m doing a lot of the driving, I take the damn meds.
I am not a morning person. I have not truly ever been a morning person (I quite literally lack the gene), but the last few years in particular I have especially not been a morning person. I was saying that to a friend who got run over by a car last year, and she said, “Because the pain meds have worn off!”
Exactly. That is why.
Every single day, it’s a challenge. Can I get part of my pain meds down before I make breakfast? Will I throw up my coffee? (Thankfully, that has not actually happened in a long time, but most mornings I’m nauseated from pain.)
I’d set the alarm for 10, wanted to leave by 11. Woke up at a quarter after 9 and packed. We pulled away at 11:11, which I consider close enough for government work.
Let me back up for a minute. When I was coming down the steps on our front porch—typically, doing this in the morning is my biggest physical challenge—in a race with a sloth, the sloth would have won. Honestly.
My mother, long a lover of jelly beans, has never been to the Jelly Belly factory. I’m not sure how that happened, but we decided that we had three places we could stop, and this was one we picked.
Why the able-bodied need to put photo op things and places where people should stand to take photos crossing the line from the handicap parking to the door, I’ll never know. I hear an irritated cluck. Look, it’s not my fucking fault that the big jelly bean is put in the wrong place, but I’m visibly having difficulty walking today. You think you could be more human and hold on a couple seconds without being irritated at something I have no control over?
Well, okay then. Well, not okay, but whatever. It’s on you.
We wander through the jelly beans. I think a grand total of two or three minutes has passed since I shambled (no exaggeration) through the front door and evaded the large group of people standing in line for the tour. Which, frankly, sounds like pure hell to me on a day like today.
My feet are on fire they say. I look down. There is no visible evidence of same.
I feel the weird electrical current that runs along my upper back. Left to right, then right to left.
It’s the altitude sickness meds. Diamox. Acetazolamide. There’s no good way to put this other than: it cockblocks pain meds. All pain meds, apparently. From personal experience, it blocks 75-100% of the effectiveness of everything I’ve tried.
Currently, with the myofasical pain, my leg muscles are so incredibly tight, I can barely walk, especially in the morning. Later in the day, I’m almost human, and sometimes my walk can pass for normal. Today is not one of those days.
I move as quickly as I can to the register (about 15 feet), plead with the lady there. Either I need to check out, or I’m dumping my item on the register counter and leaving. I’m not being mean; I desperately need to sit down. By this time, I’m white as a ghost and visibly shaking.
I’m paid up. Trying to leave. A kid darts in front of me. I’m like Gigantor with a bad hip algorithm, shambling with an odd gait I have no control over. When I’m like this, kids terrify me. I have nightmares that I trip over one and crush us both. I can’t stop or turn easily, nor can I stand easily. A slow walk is the only thing that keeps me from falling over. Kid’s mom pulls the kid back, and I sigh relief. He stares at me with huge brown eyes. I’m just as afraid of him as he is of me.
And—people do not understand. Sites aren’t laid out for people who are simply mobility impaired, especially where walking farther is a challenge. As an example, if there’s a good railing and four steps or fewer, I’ll usually take the steps rather than a handicap ramp simply because it’s shorter.
When I open the car door and plop in, I can’t do anything for about a minute. Finally, I start the car up.
We skip the second possible stop.
Neither of us could remember exactly where the Olive Pit was. Collectively, we got the details right, though I did have a few mixed in from Granzella’s, where I’d never been.
I’d been there before, but I also remembered that the last time I’d bounced right back out. Given my experience earlier in the day, I wasn’t feeling very confident about it.
Still, it’s later in the day, my pain levels are a bit better, so I walk in. I manage to taste a couple of things, but I can’t even get to consider what I might want to buy before my feet are on fire again. Mom takes more time picking out her selections, but I head out to the car, once again white as a ghost and shaking. The store clerk brings out her jars of olives. Very nice of them.
By the time she’s back, I’ve recovered.
We couldn’t find the place we’d eaten before, so we ate at a Shari’s just past most of Medford. I ordered a no-bun burger with their amazing stuffed hash browns, which are gooey and evil and you should only eat them if you like awesome things.
It was only a few more hours (argh) to Eugene, but that’s where we’re spending the night.
Tomorrow night, we’ll be on Vancouver Island.
Thankfully, I don’t have to take the evil altitude meds tomorrow, and their effects will have mostly worn off by morning.