September 8-9, 2022
Exhausted after a long day on the road, poor signage to and through the Stoney Creek Hotel in Independence, MO increased our frustration. We looked forward to dinner and a comfortable night’s sleep. It was that Wednesday evening when Mike slipped in the shower.
Hearing him fall, I ran toward the bathroom as he called out to me. Although he had not hit his head, he had landed on his side, pounding the shower curb. Slowly and painfully, he could dress and shuffle to the chair before going to a nearby Cheddar’s for dinner. I chose not to shower at this hotel.
Mike slept fitfully, often in the chair by the bed, icing his painful ribs. His denial of dizziness, bleeding, nausea, or other symptoms of internal injury assured me that his injuries were not serious. The following morning, moving slowly, he helped load the car for our day’s drive on Thursday.
Driving through Kansas City, MO, the larger of the two KCs, we admired the neighborhoods lined with homes boasting modest to privileged wealth, with many walking paths in the neighborhoods. After our foray through the white west, it was hard not to notice a more equal distribution of races. As with other cities, gas was more expensive in the depressed parts of town.
Shortly we arrived in Abilene, KS, home of the Eisenhower Museum and Library. We slowly strolled the beautiful grounds and museum, again assured that good people can become outstanding leaders, praying that more of them come forward. Leaving Abilene, we began the long drive through dry, flat, central Kansas, taking breaks every so often to stretch.
We angled southwest through Liberal KS and stopped for the night in Wichita. Mike was growing sorer, which I assured him was to be expected. He began a regimen of naproxen and Tylenol. He rested well enough at the Best Western Plus to report some improvement Friday morning. His sense of well-being diminished throughout the day as I took on more of the driving. We went through Guyman, OK, and then to Dalhart, TX. The discouraging sights of decaying and dying small towns made us eager to get home ASAP. Held up at a railroad crossing by a long freight train in Sakharov, TX, we detoured a couple of blocks to a Dairy Queen. Ice cream always raises our spirits. Recalling the lack of goods during the COVID pandemic, we took the positive attitude that the steady stream of semis and freight trains meant supplies were moving.
At the Econo Lodge in Santa Rosa NM that evening and with his symptoms worsening, Mike agreed to seek help in Albuquerque. Knowing that an urgent care clinic would probably send him to a hospital emergency department, I got online and located the urgent care clinic at the University of New Mexico Medical Center, close to the interstate and within the hospital campus. By Saturday morning, I had to help him out of bed and pack the car. For the first time ever, I felt as though I moved like a gazelle next to him