My Life as a Traveler

With a Little Help from My Friends

It’s a new day in Ketchikan! It’s still foggy and cold, but I’m leaving this hospital today.

Fortunately I have a lot of friends in Ketchikan who can help.

First, I have my friend Susie sleeping in the fold-out lounge chair next to my bed. I’m so happy she was at hand last night when the nurse ripped the IV out of my hand (gah! I just knew that would happen! law of attraction, anyone?) Her calming presence helped me get back to sleep.

This morning, I woke up in a sweat with a fever.  I’m not sure what that’s about. However, when I went to the bathroom this morning I was rewarded with some nice poo! Hooray! I’ve never been so happy to see poo. Took a walk around the wing to celebrate. By the second round, I was humming the theme from Rocky as I was strolling the halls.

When my friend Doctor Burman came by, he freed me from the IV and told me I was good enough to go home. Although I definitely wanted to leave the hospital, I wasn’t really ready to get on a plane yet. I wanted a recovery day or two more in Ketchikan. He promised to make a call to a woman he knew who had a bed and breakfast near a stream where the grizzlies liked to fish. Nice!

I felt a new energy and was ready to make the arrangements to get out of there. My new friends at the Port Authority offered to make them for me, but hey, I’m a travel agent and Chairman Preferred on USAir; I can do this!

First, I wanted to see when we could get home. Unfortunately, USAir doesn’t fly out of Ketchikan. In fact, nobody flies out of Ketchikan except for Alaska Airlines. I could change my USAir ticket for $150, but we still needed to get to the closest USAir city, which was either Seattle or Anchorage. A look on the Alaska Air website told me that it was cheaper to fly to Seattle. Still, that was going to be over $300 for an hour and a half flight! Yikes! I arranged the flights from Seattle to Newport News for 3 days from today. I figured that would give us two nights in Ketchikan, fly down to Seattle, then one night there before we fly home. Breaking the flight up seemed like a good idea. I’m feeling better but a little fearful of getting too tired.

Here’s where my new friend Carol Topping, Princess Passenger Liaison, could help us. Because Princess cruises puts so many people on Alaska Airlines, they get a special rate. Terrific Carol Topping was able to get us from Ketchikan to Seattle for $146. Wow, that was more than half price off. Thanks, Carol!

Now we needed to find a decent place to convalesce in Ketchikan. Since we’ve spent the last few days in “downtown” Ketchikan, it was time to enjoy the nature of Alaska. Unfortunately, the bed and breakfast recommended by Dr. Burman was not available. My new friend and nurse, Jenny, found us the number for the local youth hostel, but it was downtown. Finally, I called and my new friend Janet found a little cabin north of town on the water where we could walk along the beach and enjoy a gorgeous view of the Tongass Strait.

Now I had a reason to call my friends at the Port Authority. They offered to drive us not only to the airport, but to the pharmacy (I needed iron for my blood and antibiotics for the *&%^ bladder infection I got from the &^$%# catheter), the store (not sure if the cabin had food), and out to our cabin, 11 miles north of town. They would also come to pick us up and take us to the airport two days later. Wow, that’s hospitality. They didn’t charge us a thing, either.

It took me almost all day to get these arrangements set, but we were all ready to go by 3pm when our Port Authority ride came by.

We found our cabin open and ready for us. The owner, Judy, lived in a bigger house down toward the water. It was easy to settle in. All we needed was an extra blanket. We called Judy with this question and waited for her reply. When she called back, she asked us if we would like some frozen salmon that her last tenants caught and gave to her. Would we?!? Oh, and how about some smoked salmon that she made herself? With some cream cheese on the side? OMG we’re in heaven!

I’ve heard that the people in Alaska are super-friendly. I can tell you, it’s so true. I got by with a little help from my new Alaska friends!

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