The old saying, “Your home is where your heart is,” is very true. Even though I was in my favorite mountains I was not able to enjoy being there because Von was still here in Texas. As some of you correctly deduced in your emails and comments we did run into trouble. First, let me begin by saying “Thank You” for your concerns and prayers. My family and I appreciate them all.
The first day after arriving was spent resting. This is always the best way I have found to acclimate yourself to the altitude. The second and third day after arriving we began stocking shelves and inventorying our supplies that we brought with us. (Remember, this was our original purpose in making the trip.)
This pantry is just a small fraction of our overall food supplies. Many of our supplies are packed in five gallon Mylar bags and then packed into 55 gallon drums with drum liners. We have dozens of these barrels set aside for food storage. Now, do not commit the same error I did the first time I began placing food in 55-gallon drums. I packed 200 lbs. of rice and 100 lbs. of beans in one barrel and since I had a little room let over, as an afterthought, I place 2 half gallon containers of honey in the barrel before sealing it. When I returned from a short trip I found beans and rice strewn all over the property. No other barrels were disturbed. In order to try and find out how and why the beans and rice were strewn all over the property I resealed the barrel after emptying a small one pint container of honey into it. If you ever want to witness the genius of an animal you should do this. The very next day a cinnamon colored black bear knocked the drum over and began jumping on it until the the end with the removable lid popped off. The bear immediately devoured the honey ad anything that it touched. I named the bear “Jumper”. Jumper has at times found my food while I was still unpacking it.
My oldest son was concerned and fell out laughing, both at the same time, at me chasing a bear through the woods after it knocked over boxes of food to get to the sugar and jellies. He was afraid the bear would turn on me and attack and I was mad that he had ruined 50 lbs. of sugar. Other than a sound cursing Jumper had nothing to fear.
Now, back to the present. We monitored the weather situation on the weather.com. It showed one day of light flurries and after that 5 days of sunshine. What we had was 4 and one half days of snow. So we had to stay inside and and stay warm. Afterwards we had to wait for the snow to melt enough to get outside. After the snow abated we began the construction of a new cabin. We (my nephew Chris and I) worked on this for about 2 days. Chris said he counted the hours and it was 20 hours. I believe him. He really got into the project and was very excited with the progress we made.
It was the morning of what would have been our third day on construction of the cabin, my sister, Gale, said she needed my help. I looked into her eyes and heard her symptoms and guessed that she was having a heart attack. So, with the roads choked with mud and snow and the closest hospital 60 miles away, we made the trip in “several minutes under and hour”. (The posted limit ranged from 25 MPH to 55MPH the whole way.
Into the emergency room and a quick check of her blood enzymes revealed she was indeed in the middle of a heart attack. After stabilizing Gale she was prepped for a flight to Albuquerque, about 135 miles away. When she left I drove back up the mountain at the “usual” pace and it took 1 hour and 20 minutes.
We spent a few days in Albuquerque while they stabilized her and ran numerous tests. It was decided that she needed at least one stent since one artery was collapsed. Once Gale could travel we began our trip back to Louisiana, since I was the only LEGAL driver of the truck and trailer (my nephew had let his license lapse. Good lesson on being prepared here.) I spent several days helping out around the ol’ homestead and then headed back to my lady love.
Upon reaching Texas I learned my best friend had had surgery and is in need of help so I headed north to Waxahachie, Texas to help out where I could. Teddy and I have been through thick and thin together and I could not ask for a finer friend. He has always been there for me and I’ll be hanged if I won’t be there for him.
Today is Monday, April 2nd. Gale is feeling much better and Teddy goes back to work tomorrow so it is now time to catch up on my “Honey do’s”. My one, maybe two week, trip turned into a 4 week marathon. In retrospect, there is not a lot we could have done differently. We had a plan for such emergencies and we followed it. Everyone is hale and hearty.
This experience should serve as a lesson to us all. No matter how routine a trip, excursion, or afternoon may start out, it can quickly become a medical emergency or emergency of any kind. Had I taken the precaution of rotating out my nitroglycerin tablets we may have had an easier time of it. However, in looking back through the glasses of 20/20 hindsight, we were very well prepared.
Even though we did not finish the cabin I will post an article about what we accomplished and include pictures. It may take a day or two so don’t worry too much if I am late. (I am late finishing the floor in our “new” house in Texas so Von is pretty insistent about me finish this so I can add walls and the rest and we can hopefully move in this June.)
Good luck and God bless all of you.