Well, everyone was disappointed that Esme didn’t clear last night and she and Jackie had to stay another day. They said they would draw her labs again this morning and try again. We were sure she would clear this time, but we made a contingency plan just in case, because Jackie was scheduled to work tonight (Tuesday). I got a call from them about 7am. We were looking for 0.08, Esme was 0.09 – so close! So that meant the contingency plan was activated. Maslin brought her pre-packed bag with her to school and would go home and spend the night with her friend Katy. As soon as I dropped Maslin off at school, I would head to Atlanta so Jackie could make it home to get some sleep before her 7pm shift.

No traffic

The drive into Atlanta went quickly – no crashes, no jams. I encountered a little snow, but nothing that was sticking. I made it to the hospital and relieved Jackie. When she left, the snow had gotten a bit heavier and was starting to stick.

Snowing at Egleston

Snowing at Egleston

She immediately ran into heavy traffic trying to make it home. Meanwhile, Esme’s doctors made rounds and said they could go ahead and draw her labs earlier so we could get home before the worst of the storm hit. A few minutes later, a nurse came to the room to draw labs. Esme’s primary nurse was with another patient, so she had asked someone else to assist. After drawing the blood, the nurse had to flush the line. Instead of pushing the flush slowly, she really pushed it fast. Esme is sensitive to the flushes anyway, and apparently pushing it super fast makes it worse. Esme put her hand over her mouth, which means, “I’m getting ready to barf!” I grabbed the basin, and as I was rushing to put it in front of her, she erupted. Luckily, I got there and caught it i mid-air just in time! Didn’t get a drop anywhere! So, needless to say, anytime anyone gets near Esme’s port I will be emphasizing the fact that they need to flush her SLOWLY.

Speaking of slowly, that’s how traffic was moving. The normally hour and a half trip was taking Jackie much longer. As she got closer to Calhoun, she decided it would be better to just stop at the hospital, try to rest, find some scrubs and do her shift instead of trying to make it home and then trying to make it back to the hospital in time. It was a good decision, because it ended up taking 5 hours and 15 minutes just to get to the hospital!

About 30 minutes after the lab draw, Esme’s nurse peeked in and said, “pack your stuff!” We quickly packed up, got her port de-accessed, and headed to the car.

Released!

Released!

After we loaded the car and made our way out of the parking deck, we immediately ran into traffic.

Stuck in the parking deck

Stuck in the parking deck

It took about 15 minutes to make it out of the parking deck. Once out on the surface streets, it took another 35 minutes to get 1 block away from the hospital. We knew we were doomed – 50 minutes to go one block!

It continued to snow harder and we finally made our way to I-85 South. The first quarter mile was awesome! I hit 45mph! Then, the gridlock began…

Gridlock

Gridlock

Slippin' and slidin'

Slippin’ and slidin’

Gridlock

Gridlock

Zonked!

Zonked!

The traffic creeped along slower than a person could walk. It continued to snow, and the temperature continued to drop. I could see cars in front of me sliding – especially rear wheel drive cars and pickup trucks. After a couple hours, we had only gone  few miles and were approaching the 75/85 split, where we needed to be in the far right lane to hit I-75 North. After hearing traffic reports about I-75 North in Cobb County, I realized that if we did manage to make it home it was going to take at least 6 more hours. Plus, there was no way for me to get into the right lane, so we continued on and got off at the Varsity exit downtown. I thought we could stop there, grab some food, take a potty break (Esme had fluids running until we left the hospital), and try to call a get a room at a hotel.

No way to get in the I-75 North lane

No way to get in the I-75 North lane

We got off I-75 and pulled into the Varsity parking lot. There weren’t many cars in the lot, so I was afraid they had already closed. I made a quick call, and sure enough, they were closed. Bummer! I called every hotel around and got the same answer – no vacancy. One hotel said the only rooms they knew of that were available were in Stone Mountain. Since that is where Jackie’s mom lives, I thought maybe we would try to make it there. The normally 30 minute trip would surely take at least 2 hours and we would be exposed to bad drivers on icy roads.

The ATL

The ATL

As we pulled out of the Varsity parking lot, I noticed there was a Hampton Inn on the Georgia Tech campus. I quickly turned on my phone, searched for ‘hampton inn downtown atlanta’ and the phone number came up. I called, and after asking if there were any rooms available, the immediate answer was no. Then she said, “hold on, let me check something.” I held, and after a few seconds came back on the line and said there was one room left – 2 queen beds, $269. I told her I would take it and would be pulling into the parking lot in one minute. She took my name and reserved the room so the internet didn’t sell it before I arrived. The valet parked the car, we checked in, and got the LAST ROOM IN DOWNTOWN ATLANTA (as far as we know).

Last room!!!

Last room!!!

Of course, no restaurants were open, nobody was delivering. Luckily, we had food left over from Esme’s hospital visit. It consisted of all the stuff she craved – Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Beefaroni, Ravioli, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Frosted Corn Flakes. Luckily the hotel had a microwave in the lobby, so dinner was served! Now we are winding down, watching Judy Moody. Hoping the roads are passable tomorrow, wish us luck!

And a big thanks to our neighbor Leslie Young and son Ethan for making sure our dogs still had dog food.