Monday, January 16, 2012

New Horizons

We're on our way again. We left our little town behind a few hours ago, and we're making decent time. The weather actually turned in our favor yesterday afternoon, melting much of the snow on the roads, but we wanted to leave fresh and rested rather than only go for a few hours and have to find a campsite.

Will is holding up pretty well. Becky is stiff with all her stitches, but she can take care of most of her own wounds without help and has no problem tending to Will's as well. My primary concern with moving him was with infection, getting caught far away from any safe haven that we could care for him in. That was before we ransacked a pharmacy, however. Barring any further trauma, we have enough medicine and supplies to handle just about anything Will's body can throw at us.

I wish I could say that the trip from Block has been easy on him so far, but that's not the case. It hurts him to move at all, and we have to care for all his needs. I don't mind being the guy with the bedpan, as I was a nurse's aide when The Fall came around. I don't like having to move him around and jostle his leg at all. Every time is a risk. When we transfer him on the stretcher we brought from Block (one of many they'd taken from abandoned ambulances in the area) we do a little better, but he still yells out in pain when we hit the smallest bump.

You'll understand why we keep him pretty doped up. The amount of pain one person can deal with is finite, and Will Price has a lot of tolerance. He won't ask for pain meds until he's already hurting so bad that he can barely speak. We make that choice for him.

As the official leader of this little group, the ultimate call is up to me. I'm not comfortable with the idea of basically forcing him to medicate. Philosophically, it bothers me to make that choice for anyone. On a practical level, I've spent way too much time in healthcare. You wouldn't believe how many people get addicted to pain medicine. It's way, way more than you think.

Get down to brass tacks, though, and we don't really have much choice. Will can twitch in his sleep and wake up screaming. On the road in relatively warm weather where zombies may be out walking, that's a recipe for disaster. Not to mention the psychological damage enduring so much agony for so long can do to someone. It's a lot like being tortured, only you can't give up information to make it stop.

Still, we're on the road now and every minute brings us closer to home. I can't tell you where we are right now, but we're several hundred miles away. If the roads were totally clear of snow, cars, and trees, I'd say we could be there as early as tomorrow. We're still finding long stretches that have had the cars cleared from them only to abruptly end in huge traffic jams of abandoned vehicles. Trees are down all over, causing us to detour often. Patches of ice make the going even slower. We can't afford to be anything less than cautious at all times.

We're also stopping every two hours. All of us have needs to attend to, and it's imperative that we keep a close eye on Will's leg. We're in a hurry, but we can't afford to be hurried, if that makes any sense to you. It's worth stopping for ten minutes every few hours if it means whoever is driving won't be distracted at a critical time by a full bladder. It's worth it if changing Will's bandages far more often than they need it keeps his wounds from getting infected.

Slow and steady, just like the turtle. Every mile of this last bit of the trip is us exploring a new place, even if it's only through a window.

Time's up. We're packing it in to continue on, and I'll have to turn off the transmitter. Stay warm out there. Stay safe.

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