Saturday, January 31, 2009

Life - The universe - and a GPS

We left Alberta two days later than we had planned. As we pulled out of the driveway – (and let me assure you – for The Man this is early) – at 7:30am – I said as I always say – “And we’re off like a herd of turtles.”

The drive took us east through Saskatchewan and had us crossing into North Dakota – naturally during another snowstorm. I hate winter driving enough that I usually do not venture out on the roads from November until May. In Alberta – we can have snow every month of the year so it can limit my driving quite a bit. I panicked as I usually do when there is snow on the road and gave The Man enough grief that I’m sure he wished he could have just transported me to New Orleans and met me there.

For those of you who know me - you know that I have a very bad back from all the beatings I sustained before I reached the ripe old age of 30 and from 2 skiing accidents sustained at high speeds. After having stood for both shows – the booths aren’t big enough to warrant a stool even – I was in pain. Enough pain that I couldn’t get comfortable even with the heated car seats. And when a man has his eyes glued to his new GPS toy – you know he’s going to want to do everything in his power to ‘prove the machine wrong’ and get us to our destination sooner than the ETA that the new GPS states.

So I spent the first 2 days in agony – staring out my window – tears streaming down my face as my back screamed in pain. My back – my legs – my brain. Sure I have painkillers. Sure we have some kind of insurance coverage for said painkillers. But – the insurance companies in their absolute wisdom have deemed it most beneficial to themselves not to allow us to have more than 30 days worth of painkillers at one time. Especially if I want them to pay the share they are supposed to cover. This made my drug supply – limited. Normally I would take a painkiller if I needed it – and had done so during the two shows. I didn’t have many options. However – that left me with just enough to cover our trip and have enough for a few extra days in case we were late getting back (which we were – another story). I couldn’t sneak an extra painkiller here or there without the surefire knowledge that I wouldn’t have any for the last few days of our trip. I’d rather go with a little more pain than usual than go without any painkillers at all. Believe me.

After two days I had to have a long talk with The Man and tell him I didn’t care if we were late getting into our RV campground reservation. I didn’t care if that damned GPS was saying we could make it there in so many hours. What I wanted to know was – how much did he care about me? I simply could not sit in the car for 12 hours at a time and be expected to be sane(ish) and be able to walk and talk as well. I needed to stop when I had had enough. That was all there was to it.

Thankfully The Man is everything I’ve always said he is. And thankfully he cares about me more than anything else. When I said stop – we stopped. When I said sure I could go another little bit – he smiled and played with that damn GPS and took us another hundred miles or so.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love the technology in a GPS. I don’t know what I did before they came along. Never having to use a foldout map again? Almost heaven! And for those of you who don’t know what they are – they are a global positioning system that locates you wherever you are in the world and gives directions to get you where you want to go.

I call ours “the bitch in the box”. I can get pretty sick of listening to some woman giving us instructions to drive for another 800 miles before we can reach our destination. Still – it has been a lifesaver more than once – and when you’re towing a trailer behind you it’s great to know what lane you need to be in for an upcoming turn. It’s also great to know there’s a rest area up ahead or a gas station or a restaurant. Sometimes it just boggles my brain. Sometimes I’m ready to throw it/her out the window. But I never want to be without one again.

Needless to say – the ‘bitch in the box’ got us to our first and only programmed destination before reaching New Orleans - - Memphis, Tennessee or shall I be more specific and say Graceland. And for those of you out there who have no idea what that is? Elvis.


Maggie May said...

Oh I'm glad we are on the way to New Orleans.
I do hate the sound of your weather. It is bad enough here but I don't like snow and we don't get that much. Only once in a blue moon. Would hate to drive in it.
The Navigator (as we call them here)does have a monotonous voice but they are a brilliant idea.
Anyway... looking out for the next installment!

Akelamalu said...

How on earth do you cope on limited painkillers when you have so much pain? That's just cruel!

I don'g have a GPS - I never drive far enough to need one! ;)

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I can't wait to hear about Graceland and I hope your poor back allowed you to enjoy it. Twelve hours in a car is too long and should be outlawed. No matter how badly you want to get some place away from the snow, most likely. The distances in North America are enormous. It boggles the mind.

dND said...

Graceland sounds fun :-)

With the GPS, I always use the limited speed option. If I use the 'fastest' option it assumes you are going to average the maximum speed limit for the whole journey plus it will make you drive miles extra. For example, I had a journey of 100km as the crow flies. On the 'fastest option, the journey was 155km and took 2hr 10 mins, on the limited speed of 80kph (50 mph) the route distance was 107km and the time 2hr 30 mins. But I actually did the journey in2 hr 15 mins, whereas I know from past experience I would have been hard pushed to complete the journey for the fastest option in the time stated.

I'm wishing you a pain-free journey, have a great time

Mean Mom said...

I can't imagine how you coped with such a journey. 12 hours? I can just about cope with 1 1/2 hours and then my legs start to fidget - and you were in pain, too! Sounds like an absolute nightmare.

I'm glad that things improved for you, on the travelling front, but it must still have been difficult. Graceland? I love the thought of visiting Graceland. Please tell me that you enjoyed it. I can hardly bear the wait.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I'm sorry you go through such agonies!

TSannie said...

Never been to was it?

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Long term pain - very hard to contend with. Have you tried a TENS machine? Here is a link

They are amazing at blocking out pain signals to the brain and work like mini masaagers thus helping to relax muscles etc where the site of pain is. I have one an dit is amazing, especially for back pain. If you are sitting still for lengthy periods of time, they are fantastic to use and by God, you'll feel great when you step out of the car. They are so effective that women use them in labour instead of conventional pain relief. Have a look, they are quite cheap really and much better for your liver too as you may be able to cut down on the painkillers too.

Good luck dear sweet girl. You deserve a pain free lifer after what you have been through.

Thalia's Child said...

oh, honey. I can't manage 12 hours in a vehicle and I don't have a back problem and chronic pain issues. I'm so glad you were able to explain your situation to The Man, and that he was wonderful about it.

And now I'm looking forward to the rest of the trip!

bermudabluez said...

I too would love to visit Graceland and am looking forward to hearing all about it! I sure can relate to your back pain tonight...I slipped on the ice and am in absolute agony right now. And riding in the car is the WORST when you have back pain!! My father has a TENS unit like MOB suggested. He had broken his back and at the age of 81, I wasn't sure anything was going to make him feel better, but that unit did him a world of good!! So glad that you have The Man who actually listens to you!! And the 30 day limit on the painkillers is just plain....not fair!!

Lane said...

Thank goodness The Man is a considerate driver and willing to break the schedule. 12 hours in a car in pain doesn't bear thinking about.

Never had a Sat Nav (GPS) but they sound worth their weight on gold. HAd a TENS machine in labour though. Ditto:-)

travelling, but not in love said...

Where would we be without our gps'? I love mine - at least I did before I got rid of the car....he he

sounds like quitethe journey Aims....

rosiero said...

I hate long-distance driving and I don't even have a bad back, so sympathise. You would think the insurance companies would allow you more painkillers when you are going on a long journey.Are you an Elvis fan or was Graceland just on the route?

grandmamargie said...

I, too, would be absolutely miserable after 6-7 hours, much less 12. Glad you made it and had a good time.

Anonymous said...

Technology isnt all it's cracked up to be. a lot of miles a lot of pain but its good to have you back.


Anonymous said...

Ooo Graceland! My sister went there when she was in the states. Loved it.

Yes heated seats can only do so much.

We have GPS -she's called Batty -when we were down in Devon (our 1st time) and wanted to get to a village, she sent us a different way to what I was expecting. Hubby trusts my sense of direction and stopped (he knew he'd never hear the end of it if I was right and he didn't LOL) it turned out the thing was sending us over to the same name in Ireland!!! I wondered if it was some sort of military knock off and she thought she was in an all terrain vehicle. I distrust technology.

Ever since- we carry maps just in case.

Mickle in NZ said...

Oo, going to New Orleans. My parents went there faireky recently when they spent about 4 months travelling around North America by Train.

And understand about wanting to ration out the pain relief. I always have to have supplies of all my meds on hand jus to know they are there. Did so heading up to the Folks for Christmas, remembered all except the everyday deodorant. Mm, it was sitting on top a dresser in my bedroom where i did the packing.

To celebrate turning 44, in January I was diagnosed with sciatica, so that was nice. Paracetamol, watching how I sit and how I move are helping

Hope you get to tell us about Gracelands.

I hope the new floor went in okay in your wool and knitting room, and that you found some pleasant suprises in your stash.

Take care, gentle huggles from Michelle and Zebby rescue cat (he's sound a sleep and snoring - amazed your not hearing him over there) Keep snuggly warm

Junebug said...

We have a GPS now since Christmas. It got us to Kansas City and back!

I hope your feeling good today, Aims.

jh said...

Funny, I gave the boy a GPS for X-mas and we used it to get from Colorado to New Orleans as well (via Dallas). I couldn't stand the voice so I changed it to 'Kevin the brit' which was much more entertaining. It's good to shake it up but I do think without the little box we would be broken up by now.

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BT said...

Oh aims, how horribly uncomfortable you must have been. I hate hate long car journeys as my legs seem to ache horribly and painfully. I don't know why, they don't normally.

Did you go into Graceland? Have you been before? I'd be fascinated to have a look I know.

Chin up