February 11, 2021

February 11, 2021

So it looks like maybe we haven’t quite had enough global warming to escape the occasional bout of winter weather.  Although it seems to have started late the last number of years and then, unfortunately, lingered longer into the spring.  On the plus side I think we should all take the approach of enjoying days like last Wednesday as much as possible without dwelling on the impending apocalypse.  Things are changing, it’s scary to not know where it’s headed, but if we are going to survive with some personal well being intact we need to take the good too, not just the bad…,..that’s my deep thought for the day….
Hospital transportation Elmridge style
February 11, 2021

I was at a conference in January 2020 and sat in on a weather related session with Cindy Day.  Inevitably, when the chance came to ask questions, an unknown, brilliant soul decided to ask if we were in for another late spring.  That’s a horrible question to ask!  What it is 90% likely to do is cause worry and/ or disappointment.  If she says we will have an early spring we will all have our hopes up and then most likely be disappointed when it turns out differently.  If she says it’s going to be a late spring (which she did) then as farmers we all immediately go into the" gloom, doom, negativity and complaining" mode we are so good at.  As it turned out, we had a more or less average spring (on a 30 year mean).  Don’t ask!  

I’m going to share a snow storm related story that illustrates the unthinkable things our children put us through.  If you aren’t a parent you’re off the hook.  If you just aren’t a parent yet, take heed!  I’m going to throw my daughter, Gillian, under the bus for the sake of a good story.  Also, a spoiler, everyone is fine although I think Suzanne and I are likely considerably greyer than we were Sunday afternoon.

So the latest storm dropped in on us quickly Sunday evening and by the time we went to bed it was obvious it was going to be at least 30cm. No problem,  we will sleep through it and dig ourselves out in the morning.

At 2:30 in the morning I wake to the sound (mostly, because it was pretty dark) of Suzanne freaking out (…yup, that’s a pretty good way to describe it).  Our 21 year old daughter Gillian is standing on her side of the bed, and after Suzanne gained a wee bit of composure (only a wee bit) Gillian says “I’m terrified, the right side of my body has gone numb”.  That’s not what anyone wants to hear in the middle of the night…..well, anytime.

On Sunday Gillian had had a pretty bad headache all day and had experienced dizziness near early evening.  I’m sure you can all imagine the scenarios of horror that were running through our heads when Gillian woke us in the middle of the night.  Our first thought was call “811”, which Suzanne and Gillian did immediately.  While they are doing that my mind is on “how the H-E-double-hockey-sticks are we going to get to the hospital if need be?”.  After a short conversation the nurse has determined that Gillian has partial numbness on the right side of her body and a coin size spot over her right jugular vein that has zero feeling.  (It turns out that younger people can damage the jugular vein just by kinking or bumping their neck which can cause a clot that can break loose and potentially be fatal; I’m glad I didn’t know that at that point!) The nurse says “ you need to get to the hospital, I’ll send an ambulance” (those are not comforting words in the middle of a snow storm).  My response; “yeah; no you won’t!”.  You see, ambulance drivers seem to get lost in our area more than half of the time under clear skies let alone in a blizzard.  On top of that, there was no way a two wheel drive vehicle was going to be able to navigate the 10km of unplowed roads to our place.  Of course we were advised to stay put because it wasn’t safe and the professionals could take care of it.  Sorry, we have better toys and more experience with driving on tricky road conditions than they do.  End of argument.

On the way out the door I grab my cell phone, and because Murphy has some laws, it was completely dead.  Now, I’m not just saying this, but I am not the guy who ever lets his phone go dead.  I grab a charge cord and then discover that the cigarette adapter is missing.  Another minute wasted grabbing one out of our French kid’s car (that’s another story).  Better to waste a bit of time than chance being stuck somewhere without cellular contact.

So while Gillian is getting dressed I jump in our all-wheel-drive SUV and do a quick run up and down the driveway.  Yup; with enough speed we should be able to close the gap from our end and hopefully get a snowplow to get to us if we get stuck.  The idea of just taking a tractor is already on my mind but I opt to make less of a scene and go with the ubiquitous SUV.   Visibility was near zero and only about 500 feet down the road we almost turned before we got to the intersection with Middle Dyke Road.  It was also very obvious that it was going to require me to keep up some speed or we would get stuck.  No visibility and speed are not a good combination.  We hadn’t gone another 500 feet and felt one wheel hit the shoulder of the road and then the car slid right off into the ditch.

Luckily, the more dire a situation is, the more focussed I become (unlike Suzanne…..she’s the opposite which comes with a long list of good stories; although she did amazingly well this time).  I try to open the drivers door first just by pushing and then with my feet (yes, when you do the math I went off the opposite side of the road; did I mention that visibility was bad?).  No good. I pile out the passenger door and tell Gillian to stay put, “I’m going for a tractor!”

Well running 1000 plus feet in snow and wind is a pretty good workout but I made it, the tractor started right up and off I went.  As you can imagine, a few minutes (I think it had to be less than 10) seems like forever when, for all you know, you are having an aneurysm or a stroke.  Gillian climbs up into the tractor and off we go.  Gillian tells me that they had almost called 911 again hoping to get them to dispatch a plow and ambulance….oh ye of little faith!!!

Being up about five feet higher than the SUV made a lot of difference but is was still very hard to find the road and we were continuously losing our bearings.  Regardless, we made it to the Kentville hospital in about 30 minutes and, who knew?, there was no one waiting.  We got Gillian in and, due to Covid regulations I went back out to the tractor to chew my nails a bit.

Things went at warp speed by hospital standards and Gillian texted me that she was being looked at within about 15 minutes and reemerged in an hour and a half.

The verdict; migraine headache…….but Gillian booked a doctors appointment and is following it up just to be sure.

So there you go.  Rural life isn’t always laid back.
Next week I will likely be back to dissecting what I think is wrong (and maybe on a rare occasion what I think is right) with our agricultural system.

Keep eating your veggies.