Sunday, September 16, 2012

More than 20 trips to Moffitt in Tampa...

...and counting.  With this many trips under our belt, we have this down.  But, there is always something to amaze and entertain us in our travels.  The drive down to Atlanta was pretty uneventful, with Brent having to apply his imaginary, super brake only a few times.  We got to the airport in good time, and because we were traveling Delta rather than our usual Air Tran, due to better flight times, had to use the "red" side of the terminal.  Pros:  With Delta we could pick our seats when purchasing the ticket and the previously mentioned better flight schedule.  Air Tran had canceled one of its afternoon flights, apparently.  Cons:  Delta flights were much more crowded, as was the parking, which was full in the daily rate section!!! And, HORRORS!!!!  The gate we had to use had no Atlanta Bread Company!  Their veggie sandwich has become a pre-flight staple!!  Had to make do with Popeye's fried chicken.  The flight was ok.  Why do I always have to share my seat...literally!!!!...with large people?  Oh, well....

Down to Tampa, and red is right!!!!  The "red" side of THAT terminal has the best rental car area with the easiest exit to drive out of in the direction we wish to my opinion!!!  "Helpful" floor walker man, in the car park, points out the TWO, count them...two...available 'compact' options in Alamo's very fluid lineup.  To my consternation, both were smelly! One in a cheap perfume air freshener trying to cover nasty kind of way, and the one I settled on, in a plastic, newly unwrapped, shower curtain liner fashion.  It was a relatively new, plastic, Kia, Rio.  Pretty zippy and fun, much like a go-cart.  I liked it.  Brent used his special brake a bit more.

We had decided to fore-go Waltz...which seemed to be suffering the effects of his absence the last time we were there...which makes me feel a bit know visit Columbia again. We got there easily in a pretty significant down pour, to which Brent declared in the particularly up-beat tones he utilizes frequently on these trips, that, "It is moving south!"  Ok, Mr. Weatherman of amazing observational powers during the MIDDLE of a storm!  We shall see.  So, we sat in our plastic car in the parking lot, chatting and waiting for the storm to move south, so that we could take a walk about Ybor City and then have dinner.  Sure enough, Mr. Weatherman was right. The rain abated and we walked along the pretty cobbled sidewalks amid a few art places, Cuban cigar makers, bars, restaurants, defunct versions of same, and tattoo parlors until we ran out of road and it started to mist again.  We made our way back to Columbia for dinner.

The dancers were practicing in tee shirts and tights with great stomping and enthusiasm, but were not for show, as we were ushered by them to our seats in another section.  I like the area we were placed in the best, as it looks more like a garden with white stone walls.  The sangria was WITHOUT flies this time. I was not hungry since Popeye's was still sitting like a greasy lump in my tummy, so Brent decided to order a couple of their tapas dishes and the paella for us to share, which, per the menu, requires a wait of at least 30 minutes, in order to give me time to gain an appetite.  Our waiter with obvious New Jersey overtones, made various recommendations and admonishments, but finally approved of our order.  While waiting, we filled out our card to designate the charity of our choice that Columbia would be giving a portion of our bill to.  They do this every September, which is petty cool and the second time we've gotten to partake.  On his return to our table, our waiter took our paper for the charity (on which you note your own address) and reported conspiratorially, "Well!  We've got someone from your neck of the woods in the kitchen!"  "Really?" we ask, thinking....who on earth could that be?  "Uh, huh!  Emeril!!!  He's here filming for his new show!"  "Ohhhh."  We try not to look too incredulous.  But, he quickly moves his little Tampa/Yankee self along, so we don't have to worry. (I presume he means Emeril's TV show, The Originals, where Emeril highlights restaurants that are iconic in various cities and towns.)  So, what's the deal?  New Orleans.....Tennessee.....all mixed together in that chocolate gooey middle that is the portion of the United States, vaguely in the center, below the Mason Dixon Line.  Oh well...his take on geography left us puzzled and laughing.

Dinner was sign of Emeril, our neighbor and pal, though.  We made our way to our fav La Quinta, to try to get some rest before our fun at Moffitt in the morning.  It was not to be. At midnight, new neighbors moved in with barking, squeaky dogs, running and yelling children, but even more dismaying....adults who had to shout back and forth in the hall about ice buckets....for over an hour!!!  Brent finally called the front desk to ask that things become slightly quieter, and around two am, they did.  REALLY felt like giving a big shout out, outside their, very quiet door at our fun, let's go to Moffitt time of 0700!!!!  But, I restrained myself.

All went well at Moffitt.  Easy stick and vampire like blood draw in the CRU.  I'm telling you, some of the best nurses EVER work there...and I've known A LOT of nurses.  Our exam/chats with Dr. Weber and others, I've already reported.  Then, it was back to the CRU for the 30 minute anti-PD1 infusion, followed by the 30 minute saline rinse (so to speak), and 30 minutes more of vital signs (now decreased from the original 1 hour per the newly signed trial contract!!!).  All went well, although this is the second time in a row that I developed a small bit of urticaria (hives) to my face during the infusion.  It faded pretty quickly.  I've got to remember to premedicate with Benadryl!!   Then, we were off to the airport.

We got to our gate earlier than we had hoped, despite the horrible nightmare that is security in Tampa.  Seriously, Atlanta has been recognized as the world's busiest airport in passengers since 1998 and in landings and take-offs as well, since 2005, with 92 million passengers moving through in 2011 and almost 1 million flights (923,991 to be exact). Meanwhile, Tampa dealt with 33,000 flights and 16,732,051 passengers last year (see wikipedia if you don't believe me!!!). Despite these facts, getting through security in Atlanta is a piece of cake compared to Tampa with their security workers trained in the mode of Barney Fife crossed with I'm-Gonna-Sit-on-My-Ass-and-Show-YOU-Who's-in-Charge-NOW!!!  It makes passing through their "security" simply BIZARRE!!!!!  So of course, as I was getting the requisite Tampa pat down, B was in detention, goofy boy, because he had left my unfinished bottle of water in his jacket pocket and it was discovered...yes, indeed, more than three ounces of objectionable his jacket was x-rayed with his shoes in his standard issue, grey bucket.  Anyhow, we made it through, to find that an earlier flight with Delta is not a thing to be had.  They book every flight to the gills, and then some.  So, we chilled and chatted until our regularly scheduled flight.

The flight was fine.  Found our car on its unfamiliar side. Decided I felt fine enough to make a run for supper and a few groceries at the Dekalb Farmer's Market on the way home.  Traffic was amazingly light and we made our way with few difficulties.  Just when we thought we were home free, and dealing with our last significant challenge, turning left across two busy oncoming lanes with no turn arrow, with cars zooming past us through the green light, we see it...before our very eyes...oncoming idgit lady, turns to her left directly into the people heading in her direction past us.  I cover my ears!!!  B grabs hold of the OH SHIT handle in the ceiling...but, oddly enough....fails to apply his magic brake....and...BOOM!!!  OH, YEAH! She is rammed full force, to her right side by folks zooming past us.  I was just afraid someone was going to end up spinning around and heading into us....having had some dealings with that before!!!  But, no....they were suspended in time.  But, only for a moment...this is Atlanta, after all.  Folks started zooming around us and the two dead cars like ants in a disturbed ant hill.  Never mind that there was no space to be zooming in.  "GO!!!!  They look fine!  GO!!!!!", shouted the calm, sweet, ever caring and concerned doctor and philanthropist to my right!  "Just go!!!"  So....GO we did.  We had a delicious dinner at DeKalb...better than anything we've ever had in Tampa and for both of us...a mere $17.00.  We picked up a few things and made our way other excitement to be had.

Until next time.....whatever you do....just GO!!!!!!! - c


  1. Cars do make him frantic! You always have interesting journeys!

  2. Oh my, I'm glad you didn't get hit in the accident.

  3. Haha! That did make me laugh! Going to Tampa is always an adventure!

  4. Did the "oh shit" handle come standard on the car or was that an "upgrade"? :-) I know that I always choose the rentals with the passenger side brakes!

  5. Terri, you made me laugh out loud! Have a great weekend!