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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oh Canada! Part 1

Nearly a year ago, my pulmonologist asked me if I would be willing to accompany him and give a talk at the 2008 American Thoracic Society (ATS) International Conference that was to be held in Toronto. I said that sounded great, but at that point, it seemed like an eternity until May. But time flies when you're having fun -- or if you are busy getting a book published -- and today, my parents, nurse, and I embarked on our journey into Canada.

As we pulled out of the driveway, I had the typical sinking feeling you get when you're worried about forgetting something. Between my nurse and I, though, I don't think we forgot anything. I've probably had about a thousand nightmares about driving all that way, getting to the border, and finding that we had forgotten our passports. But they were practically the first things in the van -- that and my CDs and CD player and some snacks for the road -- I mean, hey, who cares if you forget your backup ventilator? As long as you have music and snacks, you're good to go! Of course, if you saw what the inside of the van looked like after everything was packed, you would know I was kidding. Pretty much everything from my bedroom was in that van by the time all was said and done.

We hit the road shortly after 8 a.m. The TripTik my mother had ordered from AAA said the trip would take 7 1/2 hours. It lied! Over nine hours and 490 miles later, we pulled up in front of our hotel. Admittedly, we did stop briefly a couple of times, and we did run into some traffic outside of Toronto, but I am still a bit skeptical of AAA's calculations.

Exhausted and stressed out from the ride, however, I was delighted to find out that the hotel accommodations were exactly as I had requested. The hospital bed that I had ordered was perfect and the accessible bathroom was large enough to accommodate my Hoyer lift. Satisfied with the hotel, my parents and I decided to grab a somewhat late dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. The food was very good and the place reminded us of home because not only was one of the TVs at the bar set to the Flyers playoff game, but the other TV was tuned to the Phillies game!

I'm looking forward to getting out tomorrow and seeing some more of this city. For now, though, I leave you with a slideshow of the view outside my hotel window...

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