For those who wish to read a bit more (though not much).2)
After many, many delays, mostly due to getting medical stuff ready for the Peace Corps. Cheezusrice this was a ton of work. So much red tape, forms, and other nonsense. My urinalysis came back positive for blood, so I had to get it redone. Unfortunately by this time, I was already in Charlotte. I thought it would be easy to get a UA done. I was wrong. So, so wrong. I had John take me in the morning, foolishly assuming I could just show up and have a test done.3) They inform me that I need a doctor`s order, which makes no sense to me.
“I have a peace corps form requesting this test, will that work? I don't actually have a doctor requesting this.”
“Uhhhhhhh we've never done anything like that….no we couldn't do anything without a doctor's order.”4)
“So where do I get a DO?”
“Maybe try the emergency care next door.”
So I go next door.
Repeat first sentence.
“We're an ER, we don't do that without a DO, it's not an emergency.”5)
Flummoxed, I return to John's house, who is acting very unsurprised,6),as usual.
I won't bore you with any more details, but you've gotten the gist of it. I proceeded to call about four different places, all with the same response. Eventually, John had the idea to request a DO from the place I had the original test done, which seemed brilliant. However, apparently, they don't just hand out DOs to just anybody. The needed a request for DOs. Fine. I call a place, ask if they can send a request. Nope. The need a request for a request. Yes, you read correctly. I love the medical establishment. Boy howdy.
I wrote a very nasty7) email to the PC nurse handling my case. She responded the next day, to try a place called econolab. Turns out they're a subsidiary of Labcorps, which I had already tried, with the usual DO BS.
It turns out, through the econolab link she sent me, you can order your own test, and they send you MOTHERFLIPPING DOCTOR`S ORDERS. Mine came from a gentleman in Miami. Obviously, my Miami doctor ordered this test in Charlotte. Makes perfect sense, now go put your head back in the sand. I think the solution actually frustrated me more than the problem.
So, I believe I was going to tell you about the bike ride? Thanks for sticking around.10)
Once upon a time, after many delays, John and Liz dropped Lea off on the Blue Ridge Parkway right outside of
Charlotte Ashville, and he was off!
They dropped me off about noon on a Sunday, and I made about the first day. About 5 hours of cycling. Seems like a lot, you say? Read on.
Ashville is in a valley.11) - `forty mile climb here`. At least it wasn't as hot or humid at this altitude, and I didn't have any mileage goals. I would just stop when I was tired of cycling, rest, and go on.12) Slow, agonizing, pedaling. I would stand up for changes of pace, but I tired even faster. Thank goodness I had Lord of the Rings on my Ipod - it saved my sanity. I learned to truly appreciate going downhill. There is nothing like a good downhill stretch after fighting gravity for a couple of hours.
To put in perspective how slowly I was going (compared to a car), on the second day I made it to Crabtree Falls.13) Some people talked to me14), and I asked where they were from. Ashville. “Oh, how long have you been out here?” strange looks. “Just a day trip.” “ooooh…” I felt like I was about a million miles from anywhere, but by car it was about an hour from Ashville. Sigh.
So, first day. Camped out on the foot-trail version of the Mountains-to-sea trail, slung my hammock right across the trial, figuring no one would be by. Guess what. It was fine though, he didn't want to kick me out, which is what I was most afraid of.15) It's better than camping in somebody's yard without permission, like I did for the Wilmington fiasco, but not as nice as a campground. You're not as afraid that every car passing by is going to kick you out.
He even told me about a nice little bald spot on the trail about a mile down the path, which I greatly enjoyed. I ate energy bars that night, not wanting to risk the smell of food for the bears. I even hung up my bags on a tree, which was a ton of work. Slept pretty well, very grateful for the blanket John lent me, though it was heavy.