Fern Ridge Review
Sweet Lorane Community News
June 30, 2016
Greetings from Boise! (written on Tuesday, June 28)
To tell you the truth, I thought that I’d be writing this column from Branson, Missouri, but sometimes, as the poet, Robert Burns, wrote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry…”
We pulled away from home last Saturday morning heading east over the McKenzie/Santiam Pass (126). Jim and I were in our car and his brother John and sister-in-law Vicki were following in their specialty van designed to accommodate John’s power chair. We had been planning this road trip since John lost the use of his legs about 7 years ago. Our itinerary included visiting Jim and John’s childhood homes in southeastern Nebraska and a stop at a favorite nephew’s home near Kansas City on the way to Branson, Missouri, among other destinations.
We made a lunch stop in Sisters which Vicki had never visited before and, of course, she and I had to browse some of the shops while the men sat on the sidewalks and enjoyed the sunshine and sights. Our next stop was at the Painted Hills off of Highway 26 near Mitchell, Oregon, which I recommended, since none of the others had seen them. We had used up about three more hours than we had planned that first day, so we figured we’d go as far as John Day and spend the night there… Ontario, where we had planned our first night, was still several hours away. Unfortunately, when we got to John Day, we discovered that because of a couple of big motorcycle rallies and events, there was not a motel/hotel room available in John Day or any surrounding town for as far away as Ontario. Our only option was to eat dinner at John Day and continue on until we could find accommodations.
For any of you who know Highway 26, it’s beautiful to drive through – during the daytime – but by nightfall, there were few towns and lots of deer. In a long desolate stretch, Vicki signaled for us to pull over. John was ill. He had a high fever and was obviously in distress. We were too far to return to John Day, so we forged ahead until we came to a small community of Unity. There was a small desolate motel there and the office which appeared to be in the attached general store was dark and locked. Vicki’s cell phone had no reception. Fortunately, ours did and we were able to call 911, only to learn that we were out of range for emergency help unless it was life-threatening. They suggested that we drive John to the hospital in Ontario which was about 70 miles away. We drove through the night.
One deer jumped in front of our car. Jim had to swerve hard to the left to avoid it. A second deer looked into Vicki’s van window within a foot or two of the car as she passed.
I was also able to contact our daughter Gloria and she rallied our support network at home and they were able to find us hotel rooms in Ontario whenever we could make it there.
We finally made it to Ontario after midnight and John was admitted to the hospital. They would not agree to transport him back to RiverBend, but the next morning, they did provide transport to Boise, Idaho… the closest facility that could deal with John’s condition. Vicki never made it to her hotel room that night. She was up for 30 hours straight before finally falling into bed in Boise.
We have been here ever since, spending the last 3 nights in a hotel close to St. Alphonsus Hospital. John’s condition has been stabilized and even though he will need surgery, at least his condition is stable. Arrangements are now being made to transport him home tomorrow.
The vacation has been put on hold until some other time when we can try it again. Right now, we are all concentrating on getting him back on track… that’s what’s important.
Thank you to all of our family members and those who have been sending thoughts and prayers. Your wishes have meant so much to all of us in a very difficult, nightmarish time.