I’ve undertaken a project of late: digitizing and tagging my parents’ old photo albums. Part of it is quite the walk down memory lane. But with all the smiles, laughter, and fond recollections, some of them have a dark shadow too. We live in an era of omnipresent selfies, snapshots, and video streams. These images are curated and often manipulated into a false perception of reality for public consumption. The outtakes are deleted, leaving the illusion of perfection. But perfect was a bit more fleeting during the days of film. You had to wait and see what you had, and hope some of them were worth sharing.
Many years ago, a Dublin Irish football player would leave practice to head downtown for some 10¢ hamburgers. I’ve never been told how many teammates accompanied him, but I can’t imagine there were many. There simply isn’t room in the establishment. These burgers, what we would today call sliders, were as small as the building that begat them. But these are not normal sliders, burgers, or even as some have called them knock off Krystals. This delicacy of steamed beef and bread evolved from a snack for a hungry high schooler to become inextricably linked to what it means to be a part of my family.
I’ve been wanting to do some sort of series to highlight areas that have a special importance to me, or to where I enjoy traveling. Since I’m not really able to travel at the moment, I figured this would be as good of a time as any.
I can’t say Milledgeville is my hometown. But, I do call it the nearest civilization to where I grew up. It was the closest Wal-Mart, Shoney’s, and McDonald’s. As a child of the late 1980s, that was what was important then. As I grew, it became so much more to me. It grew to trips to the library, my first job, starting college, graduating and beginning the next degree, my first professional job, meeting my wife, my wedding, and starting our home together.
Unlike most of the counties around us, Baldwin only has one city – Milledgeville. But that is not our biggest claim to fame. We are a designed capitol city and was the seat of state government from 1804 until 1868 when it moved to Atlanta. The two main governmental buildings remain, along with many antebellum homes and historic sites.
I know I shouldn’t complain about being in the hospital for 6 days when I was initially projected to be hospitalized for ten to fourteen days. I don’t know what I was expecting from the process, but it delivered. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but wasn’t sure what would happen. But true to form, I really didn’t have the “normal” side effects. I had the weird ones.
So, I’m calling it the “first” day, but in reality, it has been three… They just all blurred together. We got to Atlanta on Sunday evening and had the first appointment Monday morning. We were able to sit down with the pharmacist and go over the treatment protocol. Then the lab results came back. They wanted me to have two units of blood before they started treatment. So off to the infusion center for two hours. Yes, just two. I’ve never had a transfusion that quickly before. Normally, it’s at the rate of about 150 ml per hour. On Monday? It was 400 ml per hour. Once all that was settled, we headed back to the hotel to try to get some rest.