Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ireland Revisited: Pause

Day 10 of 35: Friday, August 13, 2010

Di is cast.

From my travel diary for this day:

"Since we were under doctor’s orders not to undertake a car trip today (the cast needed time to set properly before undergoing prolonged jostling), we had to stay in County Antrim a day longer than planned. The twin room we had for the previous two nights was spoken for tonight, as were both other en suite rooms at the Seaview, but Mabel had a very small double room available, directly adjacent to the fancy bathroom off the main hallway. We took it.

"Moving down the hall – moving anywhere – was a chore because we were also under orders not to let the heel of the cast bear any weight at all for fear of shattering it, and the forearm-height crutches Diane was issued (later to be described by an orthopedist in Tullamore in the Republic as “mass-produced pieces of garbage”) were more a hindrance than a help. Mabel had a small office chair with little wheels which helped, but which could not get over doorways’ thresholds with Diane in it, and Diane spent virtually the entire day in bed. Luckily, the few pain-killing tablets she was given at the A&E (a kind we had never heard of) numbed the pain enough for her to sleep.

"I spent most of the day trying to locate various supplies for her. Filling her prescription for the pain-killers was easily enough done at a pharmacy just four miles away in Bushmills (where the biggest challenge was understanding the young lady clerk’s country Ulster accent). Finding other things, such as under-the-armpit crutches or a bedpan was either not so easy (for the latter) or impossible (for the former) in three sorties as far away as Coleraine and Portrush.

Coleraine: a beautiful city to visit under other circumstances. (Click on this Google Earth image to make it legible.)

"Adding to the frustration then, but kind of comical in hindsight, was the Garmin GPS’s ineptitude on this day of all days. Three times it led me to places where medical supply places supposedly were, but weren’t. The first was the street address of a place in Coleraine. Garmin led me to a spot in a beautiful residential neighborhood. I found that the supply place was listed by name in Garmin’s menu of nearby “places of interest,” so I instructed it to take me there by name instead of address. It proceeded to take me on a route totaling about 2 ½ miles – finishing in exactly the same place in the residential neighborhood, but headed in the opposite direction on the street. So I instructed it to take me to the next “pharmacy/medical supply” place on its list, and it led me to the crowded, narrow streets of old central Coleraine and then – along what turned out upon looking at a standard paper map to be a spiral route – to the ancient center of the city. There was no pharmacy or medical supply place there, but there was a very nice plaza which Diane would have enjoyed a lot were she not back in bed and in pain at the B&B 20 miles away.

"(The Garmin was extremely useful for the most part during this whole trip, especially on the previous night when it led us safely from hospital to B&B through the dark, rain, and distracted anxiety, but it was prone to giving some very peculiar directions. We learned to double-check it against paper maps whenever possible.)

View northward toward the sea from the Seaview on August 13, 2010: one of only two shutter snaps on this day.

"On the few occasions during my driving when I took the time to notice, the day presented spectacular brilliance and clarity. From places along the road from Coleraine northward to Portrush, the Derryveagh Mountains area of County Donegal across Lough Foyle seemed impossibly close, and the coast of Scotland across the North Channel could be seen at the horizon from the coast roads. But today was not one for taking pictures, or for taking time."

There are no additional slides from this day on

Next: August 14, 2010 -- Out of the Box
Previous: August 12, 2010 -- An Unexpected Turn
Beginning of the series: Prologue, August 2

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