Monday, May 11, 2009

Retreat and home

May 13, Wednesday

No hiccups in the morning for a while. It was drippy but clearing, and I begged the use of the restroom at the Forest Service office, so the day was started okay except for grogginess. My first try for meds was in Great Bend, but the biggest pharmacy in town, a WalMart, didn't have what I needed. At least they didn't laugh at me while I hicced my way through the explanation. When I got near enough to Lincoln to get a local phone-book, I was able by calling around to find a place with the right stuff, but it was too late to get ahold of my Doc. Golf day. So I went to an Audubon sanctuary, Spring Creek Prairie, and found some shorebirds on a little pond there, but I mistook Semipalmated Sandpipers for Westerns, since I didn't have my bill lengths calibrated. Figured it out later while killing time before sleep. I went into Pioneers Park on the west edge of Lincoln, and then back out of town to Conestoga Rec Area. I was very tired, and it was a quiet place, so I ended up getting some decent sleep, with only minor hiccing interruptions.

May 14, Thursday

I went back to Spring Creek Prairie at dawn, but didn't turn up anything new. I was gone before they opened the VC, so never got to fix the sighting report from Wednesday. Back to Pioneers Park, but first a stop for a big grease-ball breakfast, hoping to get some rebound from food. The place had wifi too, a truck-stop with an interesting collection of twenties gas station memorabilia and some atmosphere, but they were about to move and re-build, no doubt something soul-less. At Pioneers Park I was in cel-phone range and started making calls. The Doc was in surgery for the morning, but i gave the info to the nurse, who promised to call me as soon as he had talked to the pharmacy. So I birded around the park which was pretty good when I was able to get away from the school groups. They had a little Nature Center where I talked with the attendant and watched the hummer feeders hoping to see a Ruby-throat, which I needed for the NE list. It never showed. Spent a lot of time sitting on benches breath holding and then sitting very still and breathing slowly for relief.

When it got to be noon I went and sat in the truck with the phone by my side waiting for the nurse's call. Five hours later there hadn't been one. I figured I'd offended the Doc, who isn't noted for bedside manner, and I just gave up and started driving for home. I set my route to Pass Indian Cave State Park, and was able to find a Barred Owl and a hummer in a flowering bush that I stopped to look over on an impulse as I drove by. Hiccups were bad, the aftershocks were turning into real lock-up spasms of glottis and esophagus. Three times before sleep I thought I might never get another breath, pretty scary. especially driving. A rational person would have considered me a fool to persist, but I wasn't rational anymore, the only thought was to get home. I got the last meal at the McDonald's in Mound City after my first choice was closed, and spent the night in an Interstate rest area south of there. More thunderstorms and hail and trafic and other noise including pine cones falling off some trees in the wind. They make a good thump too.

May 15, Friday

Off driving early, about five hours to Eureka Springs. Jim Fain the Naturpathic Doc showed me a real simple trick to stop the hiccups. Lean your head back and pour a packet of dry sugar as far back in your throat as possible and then swallow without water. Bingo. I t would last twenty or thirty minutes, but was easy to repeat. Got a decent meal at the Oasis, favorite local good food place, went home and slept until the next morning, when I seemed way better. I figured at the end, thinking back over what had been the worst parts, that road food didn't help, and jostling a tummy full of it on bad highways was a real problem too. Simply not getting any decent sleep threw me into a bad feedback loop. Anyway, they never came back, throat was a little irritated for a day or two, but that stopped too. It wasn't a stellar birding trip, but I did add 69 tics and got past forty percent in Nebraska, so there were some minor achievements. I had a chance to ask the nurse why she hadn't called; she said she just assumed I'd go to the pharmacy.


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