Tripping and Traveling Vicariously!

Aug 20, 2017 | 2 comments

Charlie in Pisa, 1958

It used to be that traveling was high on my priority list.  Throughout the late fifties and into the sixties and seventies, I was gone from home almost every summer – if not abroad for three months (ah! the advantages of teaching!), then on road trips and shorter flights on this continent.  None of these travels was first class, mind you (oh! the limitations of teaching!) but the adventures I encountered and the memories I stacked up were priceless.

Now that age and that old bugaboo ‘fixed income’ have caught up to me, I find that I am doing most of my traveling vicariously.  I love following the adventures of my friends through their photos on FaceBook and listening to the escapades and exploits of some of our intrepid Friday Nighters.  But, who woulda thunk that I’d be enjoying vicarious travel stories right here at Emanuel Hospital?

On the face of it, there aren’t many places more confining than a hospital bed (unless it might be a prison cell, God forbid!) and, even though my position at Nyel’s bedside is purely voluntary, it could be construed as equally limiting.  However, through the magic of conversation and imagination, I’ve been on some wonderful adventures while here at Emanuel.

Santa Fe Plaza, 2016

It’s the nurses!  Getting to know them as they come and go – sometimes two day shifts or night shifts in a row – has been an unexpected perk of Nyel’s frequent hospital stays.  Through the miracle of cellphone photos, we get to see their pets and sometimes their children or spouses and, best of all, get a glimpse at their recent trips.

During this stay, we’ve “visited” Switzerland and Southern France and, closer to home, we’ve ‘been on’ on a weekend hiking trip to a remote campsite on Neah Bay.  We’ve been in on the plans for a journey to Argentina and, this morning, heard about a wedding in Ireland that will take place a year from now – the manor house already reserved for the fifteen attending family members! Plus, with our newest nurse, a glimpse of her September plan for two weeks aboard a 40-foot sailboat in the San Juans!  So much fun to hear about!

Maybe all this travel talk comes under a category called “improving mental health.”  Certainly, it’s right up there in the Pleasant Distractions column of Fine Hospital Visiting.  For me, anyway.  And Nyel appears to be ‘enjoying going along for the ride.’


  1. Pam

    Hopefully you and Nyel will be road tripping soon! Were they able to do the TEE yesterday? We are surely thinking of both of you and hope you have some answers soon!

    • sydney

      Yes, they did the TEE. Also an ultra sound of his kidneys. The kidneys look good. The heart — multiple problems but none super serious right now. Unanswered: why he can’t breathe and gets dizzy with minimal activity — like walking a few dozen steps. They are re-thinking various meds; maybe a consultation with the cardiac team at OHSU… So, the beat goes on (so to speak.) Thanks so much for asking.


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