This is the time when wmtc turns into a travel journal, which I write almost entirely for myself, for a record of my travels.
First of all, we were supposed to travel in April, an ultimate road trip that would take in everything I could want in a vacation, from beloved friends and family -- many of whom we had not seen in many years, and who I really miss -- to gorgeous scenic drives, and, of course, baseball. And with our dogs, too! That is truly my little heaven.
Even before the lockdown, we realized we had to cancel. When the border closed, at least it confirmed our decision.
So yeah, that's all behind us, and when so many people have died, and so many others are near starvation, it seems the height of privilege to complain about cancelling a vacation. But I miss my family, and I don't know when I'll see any of them again, including my 89-year-old mother. Perspective or not, it still hurts.
Back in the present moment, I am struggling with uncontrolled, chronic urticaria. My skin looks like something out of a horror movie. The only thing that brings relief is ice. I spend the night on the couch, moving ice packs from one inflamed area to another.
If that's not enough, in an effort to remove possible causes of this insane itching, I've gone cold-turkey off all medication and supplements. You can develop an allergy to medication at any time, including -- or especially -- substances you've used for many years. When I looked up possible allergic reactions, for almost everything, the #1 symptom is usually hives. So I stopped everything.
Which means, besides itching, I feel like crap.
With that out of the way, here we are in Campbell River.
Campbell River, about three hours south of Port Hardy, is the largest town in the north end of Vancouver Island. It's a mix of scenic coastline, fishing charters, vacation homes, and urban blight. It's where residents of Port Hardy and our other North Island communities go for big-box shopping and medical appointments. In our neck of the woods, "I have a medical appointment in Campbell" is standard fare. (Port Hardy does have a small hospital and a primary-care health centre, but anything more than an x-ray requires a road trip.)
So as it happens, I got a call for a procedure I needed, scheduled for September 8. A quick in-patient thing, I would be finished by 9:00 a.m. And the first night of our little mini-trip was September 9.
So yesterday -- Monday, Labour Day -- we packed up the pups and drove "down island". Last night we stayed in the Coast Discovery. It's by far the worst Coast Hotel I've seen, but it's good enough, and it buys me more Coast Rewards. I was so uncomfortable and unhappy from itching that I didn't even leave the room.
This morning, Tuesday, we hustled over to the Campbell River Hospital. I've had quite a few medical tests and procedures lately, and without fail, the hospital staff has been so caring, and kind, and professional. They really made it as pleasant -- or as least unpleasant -- as humanly possible. Everything was wrapped up by 9 a.m.
Today, alas, Ideal Cafe was closed, so we went with runner-up Popsey's, and had a great breakfast. My Port Hardy haircutter/stylist/friend has a home salon in Campbell River, so Allan and I both got haircuts, and Cookie and Kai had fun exploring a new yard.
In the afternoon I managed to stop scratching long enough to admire the beautiful coastline on a sparkling clear day. I thought I couldn't deal with going out for dinner, but a bloody mary brought me around.
Now the pups are cuddled up together (we brought their blankets), and tomorrow the actual trip starts. I'm dying for some exploring and a change of scenery. I hope my skin lets me enjoy it.
Allan's blog has a little map of where we're headed.