Incommunicado

Well, we’re still here in Pittsburgh. But no internet access again at the Family House and this time even the guest computer is broken and not working.

I arrived late yesterday. At least late compared to when I wanted to get here. We had just enough time to get done what we needed to do and check in to the Family House on Neville St.

I drove Al’s car down here. It wasn’t doing it any good sitting idle in my driveway for so long and the other vehicles were needed back at home. I cleaned out the car, got the slow leak fixed in the tire and thought I was all set to go. But I got on the Thruway and started hearing a noise. At first it was a tick-tick-tick noise and I thought maybe it was low on oil and I was hearing lifter noise. I hadn’t heard anything on short drives around town.

So, I pulled off at Ridge Road in West Seneca and pulled into a car-wash to check the oil. It was up to a normal level, but I heard a scraping noise at the lower speed. It was quite loud and persistent. I looked under the car and around the wheels and didn’t see anything, so I figured it might be a brake problem. Maybe it was just a stuck caliper.

I pulled out the road next to the car-wash and what was across the street? A Monroe Muffler-Brake. So I pulled in there and had the problem looked at. It turned out to be a brake pad separating from the shoe and to fix it right took new pads and rotors on the front. Two hours and $400 dollars later, I was back on the road.

I got to Pittsburgh after 5pm. On the way, I got a call from Al’s discharge nurse. I told her I was on the way there and she said “No stop at the drug store first. You need to pick up his prescriptions and bring them in so I can review them with him.” I assured her that I wasn’t that close and a quick stop at a drug store wouldn’t be a problem.

Of course, that wasn’t that simple. I remembered the street the drug store was on, but the GPS didn’t know where it was. I went to one on Fifth Ave. that was near the street they told me. I went to the counter and asked if they had a prescription for me to pick up. They didn’t, so I asked if they had another store nearby. She named a couple, but none on the street I was told. I said the hospital had told me such-and-such street. The girl said; “Oh, you mean Rite Aid. This is CVS.” Sure enough, there was a not just a Rite Aid on the street they told me, but it was just a block or two away. It was about 30 feet from the corner and about thrirty feet around the corner was another Rite Aid. Not connected inside. Not two entrances to the same store, but two stores withing spitting distance.

But the one I was sent to did have his prescriptions. Plural. As in many. The poor girl at the pharmacy told me it would take about twenty more minutes to have them ready, and some of them would be partial fills. So despite the wrong stops, I still was ahead of the game.

As it turned out, the pharmacy(s) were so close to the hospital, I should have parked there and walked over. Parking was a real nuisance, but I got a spot on the street across from the store. I hoped they didn’t check the meters after dark like Buffalo.

I finally picked up a big bag of prescriptions for Al and headed into the Hospital. By the time we got him packed up and discharged, it was after 7pm. We had to arrive at Family House by 8pm, so we had time to spare.

Of course, by that time at night, there were no parking spots left. The car had to be left on the street overnight. Legal, but not as secure. During the day, though, the parking is for an hour max. so it had to be gone by 9am.

Al is looking good. He’s seems to feel pretty well too. He still has some pain and some soreness especially around the incisions. But nothing unusual, considering. He did have some trouble sleeping during the night, mostly due to the soreness again.

We got up early today and got some errands done. We had to revisit the pharmacy for the rest of his prescriptions and get to a Post Office to mail some insurance forms. We headed to the nearest Post Office and the GPS guided us there efficiently. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a bit of parking and even going around the block was almost impossible. Cobblestone streets with insane inclines and nothing like a right-angle turn anywhere was the norm. So I just dialed up the next-closest PO and off we went.

It took us off in another direction, somewhere between Oakland and Downtown, but we found the Post Office, a small satellite office in a shopping center. At least parking was no problem.

So, next was the pharmacy. Since it was so close to the hospital and Fiftth Ave. we looked for a place to park and decided to have lunch as well. We parked in a ramp near Pitt Univ. and went to the pharmacy and came out with two shopping bags full of stuff.

Then we walked around and looked at the stores and finally stopped at Five Guys for lunch. I had eaten there before, but Al wanted to try it and have some real food. The burgers there are just fantastic.

Anyway, we survived and got back to the Family House. Al had a visit from a Homecare Nurse to check on him. Later, he wanted a nap, so I caught the shuttle bus and headed to the UPMC Cafeteria to use the wi-fi. It may be irregular times that I can post here again, unless I get back here or stop in to a cafe somewhere.

Anyway, that’s it here. We’re both bored because there just isn’t that much that we must be doing, but can’t really go too far due to the need to be nearby, not to mention the general nuisance of parking or loosing a parking spot at the house. We got into a open spot when we returned and are loathe to leave it and not get it back later.

But, we’re both doing fine and can be reached by the usual cell phone numbers – voice or text. I am even on AIM occasionally as AlGritzMobile.

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