Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tooting to Seattle

Think of today’s blog piece as Tooter and these are my “toots.”

Today, Wed, 11:50: I’m 30,000 feet over Reno, midway between San Diego and Seattle, en route to a conference put on by the Association of Health Care Journalists. I’m used to attending conferences where I’m the journalist among patients or psychiatrists or researchers. This time, I will be an attendee amongst journalists. I have no idea what I’m in for.

Yesterday, Tues Morning: I wake up with every muscle in my lower back fused together. To paraphrase Bill Clinton, I feel my pain. I’m booked for a flight to Seattle tomorrow to attend a conference and this does not bode well.

Later, Tues Morning: Last week, my friend in LA Louise ordered me to plant tomatoes. Five days later, my tomato paraphernalia is still sitting in the spot where I left them. It’s now or never. Despite my back, I get the seedlings into four large pots, along with potting soil, which I am told is vital to the endeavor. It is my intention to nurse the things to their inevitable death, then proclaim with a clear conscience my best intentions to Louise. (“See, Louise. I tried. I really did, but plants hate me. Even basil hates me.”)

Tues Afternoon: Packing decisions. If I don’t pack any underwear, I can get everything into one bag. Just kidding. Every trip I always leave one thing behind. What will it be this time?

Tues 5:30 PM: I’m checked into a Quality Inn near the airport. This is a strategic decision My intention is to wake up rested for tomorrow’s flight. The potential for messing up my sleep and not being able to recover on the road poses serious risks with my illness. With my back acting up, I’m starting to look prescient. Unfortunately, it looks like someone filled the hotel’s hot tub with Metamucil, so I give a warm soak a miss and take a short nap instead.

Tues Evening: I’m in the lobby of UCSD Hospital, ten minutes from my hotel. The previous day, someone I know a little bit - a loved one of one of my water volleyball mates - was admitted to intensive care following a motor vehicle accident. I’ve already been up to the ICU. Now I’m waiting with some of the water volleyball crew and other friends from the resort where we play for our mate to show up. Last week, I did a blog piece on water volleyball and the benefits of play and acting like we’re five years old. Suddenly, in the same company, life is very serious.

Early Wed morning: I’m up at 6:30. My back is still killing me, but not nearly as bad as the day before. I’m reasonably well rested. I can leave my car at the hotel. The hotel will drive me to the airport, ten minutes away. I’m relaxed, ready to go.

10 AM: I’ve survived the ordeal of airport security and am boarding my flight for 10:30 take-off.

10:50 AM: I’m nodding off.

11: 50 AM, the present: I wake up and rifle through my bag for my iPod. No earphones! So that’s the thing I must have decided to leave behind when I packed.

This is John McManamy for Tooter. Keep posted for more “toots.”


Louise Woo said...

I hope you have someone watering those seedlings while you're gone. It's very hot here this weekend!

John McManamy said...

Hey, Louise. Whaty, you mean it's not raining down there?