On Saturday morning in the Taos, NM, Urgent Care the first customer called up was a man with his young daughter. Their insurance had expired a year ago and Urgent Care wouldn’t see the girl without $130 co-pay up front. He seemed to be known in the clinic and they absolutely wouldn’t see the girl without payment. He stormed out. Next called was an Australian couple where the woman had severe back issues. They did have traveler’s insurance and were told, after checking their policy, it would be $130 to see the doctor, but they’d get that back from their insurance. This post is about why we were witness to this early morning scene in Taos and what resulted from our visit to Urgent Care.
|Oldest House in America|
The plan for our fall southwest trip was well thought out and meticulously executed. Two days in Santa Fe staying in timeshare, three days in Taos timeshare with time to visit our adopted niece and her family. There would be lots of time for photography. Then we’d move north to Durango, CO, for four days with visits to Mesa Verde and Silverton. Next, we’d swing into Arizona to visit Canyon de Chelly with a Navajo guide and a couple more days in the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest before driving back to Albuquerque and flying home. Brilliant! Too bad reality didn’t match the planning.
|New Mexico Museum of Art|
|Trying to make a little art of my own in the museum.|
The first part of the trip ran smoothly, even though we had to run clear across the Las Vegas terminal because we misread the reader board and sat in C9 until they were calling our name for our flight leaving from B9. In Santa Fe we did just what we had planned. We visited the Oldest Church in the US, the Oldest House, numerous shops, the Governor’s Palace for native jewelry shopping, and the New Mexico Museum of Art. We ate well with good breakfasts at the New York Deli and The Pantry (the number one dining spot in Santa Fe). We also found some of the best pizza we’ve ever had at Backroad Pizza, a Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives selection.
|Breakfast at The Pantry|
On our way to Taos after two nights in Santa Fe we stopped to visit our adopted niece Jas Cecelic, her husband Zach, and two-year-old daughter Zea.
They live in a modified yurt on five acres outside Truchas, NM, at a little above 8,000 feet. Here they have a natural farm supplying local produce to area restaurants and are building their own home. It’s a truly rustic lifestyle, but Jas and Zach are brilliant, well-educated, happy, and dedicated; and Zea is beautiful and so in touch with the environment. We visit every chance we get. In Taos that evening is when things started to slip off the rails. I started feeling badly—cough, sniffles, headache, breathless—and felt worse the next morning. That prompted the visit to Urgent Care I mentioned earlier.
|San Fransisco de Asis Church, Taos|
|A favorite subject for artists such as Ansel Adams and Georgia O'Keeffe.|
When I got my turn—no co-pay required with my insurance—my vital signs weren’t too far off the norm. The young doctor wasn’t sure what to tell me. I had cold symptoms, but no fever (even though I had had the chills) and heart and lungs seemed fine. Finally, her diagnosis was possible walking pneumonia with a touch of altitude sickness. She gave me three prescriptions and said to rest. We got the meds, went back to our timeshare, and I took a nap. A little after noon I thought we might yet do a bit of sightseeing, so we drove out to Arroyo Seco for cokes at the Merchantile. By the time we got our cokes I was so dizzy I could barely make it back to the car. To the Urgent Care for our second visit. Again, the doctor couldn’t figure out what to tell me. Now I had a fever of 101.6 and was in a drug fog that was closing in. She finally swabbed for flu and got a positive. Her reaction was, “That explains everything. You’ve got the flu!” Drop one of the earlier meds, keep the second one, and use your judgement on the third. Also, add a new flu medication and rest. It sounded fine.
|Farmhouse Cafe, Taos|
|Rural Art, Taos|
Too bad it wasn’t fine. I finally dropped the third medicine and some of the fog went away, but the flu medicine, although it seemed to make me feel better, had the side-effect of No Sleep. Saturday night I got maybe an hour and a half of sleep all night. And even though I felt good enough to be more active—out for a light lunch and some photography at the Rio Grande Bridge—Sunday night I got no more than two hours of sleep. Earlier on Sunday we had seen the writing on the wall and cancelled all those well planned stays and tours and changed our tickets to fly home on Tuesday.
|I did make it back to the church twice to photograph it in different light.|
The drive on Monday with very little sleep and Anne helping was a fright (not because of Anne's driving) and it was four in the morning on Tuesday before I got real sleep, two hours worth. In total, I had gone about 85 hours on four hours of sleep before I got on the plane for home. Thankfully, I did sleep on the plane. At home we got in to see my doctor early on Wednesday and the diagnosis was the flu along with a reaction, sleeplessness, to the medicine. Rest and recovery is now the treatment, but there are some lessons from the trip: First, always be prepared for the unforeseen with cancellation information, medical data, insurance, etc. Second, be flexible and prepared to change. And third, always listen to your wife (spouse)—if I had had my way I would have tried to soldier through the trip, which would have been an absolute disaster, physically and financially. As it was, Anne’s good judgement got me the best care we could get (even with the missed diagnosis), allowed us to recoup most of our planned expenses, and saved us from real disaster.
|Rio Grande Gorge Bridge|
The trip may have not been good, but I hope at least it makes an interesting story.
|Out of Denver on the flight home.|