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Emergency in Calgary

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Our trip to Vancouver starts off with a medical adventure.   By Charlie Huisking   Vancouver, British Columbia, June 19. When I planned this trip to the Canadian Rockies and Vancouver, I told my editor that I’d focus in my blog on some of the unique inns and resorts where I’d be relaxing between hikes […]

June 19, 2007


Our trip to Vancouver starts off with a medical adventure.
 
By Charlie Huisking
 
Vancouver, British Columbia, June 19. When I planned this trip to the Canadian Rockies and Vancouver, I told my editor that I’d focus in my blog on some of the unique inns and resorts where I’d be relaxing between hikes and whale-watching expeditions.
 
Little did I know that, initially at least, I’d be spending more time in Canadian emergency rooms than in cozy fireside lounges.
My friend, Barby, and I left Tampa for Calgary last week. At the Calgary airport, we met my sister, Sarah, who had traveled from Atlanta. I noticed immediately at baggage claim that Sarah was hobbling. I remembered she’d told me a cut foot had become infected, but that she’d had it treated at an Atlanta quick-care center.
Well, when we got to our Calgary hotel room, I was freaked to see the foot was red and swollen to Elephant Man proportions. The next morning, we drove to a Calgary quick-care center. The doctor there suspected a staph infection, and directed us immediately to the emergency room of a Calgary hospital.
 
There, Sarah received a thorough examination and an I.V. treatment of a powerful drug. Though our emergency room stay lasted four hours, I was impressed with the efficiency and friendliness of the staff. The doctor was patient and happy to answer every question. Familiar with the Canadian Rockies, he even gave us some sightseeing tips.
 
The only major downside of the experience was Vomit Girl, an unfortunate young woman in the waiting room who had the dry heaves for, oh, a couple of hours.
 
The good news for us was that Sarah got the doctor’s OK to travel north. The bad news: She would have to receive five more I.V. treatments during the next three days. The treatments were administered at the hospital in Banff, the Canadian Rockies’ main tourist center. Unfortunately, we were staying 35 miles north, at an inn in Lake Louise.


Grizzly seen: Our first look at a grizzly bear was from a major highway.
 
But we turned those twice-a-day drives into wildlife expeditions. We took the Bow Valley Parkway, a slower, more scenic alternative to the main highway between Lake Louise and Banff. And each time we traveled, we encountered deer, elk and bighorn sheep. On one drive, we took the main highway to save time, but even this trip proved rewarding. I saw about 15 cars pulled to the side of the road ahead, and figured this had to mean a bear sighting. Sure enough, we spotted a grizzly and two cubs wandering in the grass alongside the road. Fortunately, a fence separated us from the bears.
In my next blog, I’ll actually tell you about some of those wonderful inns.