Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mom Checks Into Kaiser Hospital

Friday November 29, 1991

I wake up empty inside and hungry for french toast and orange juice. I enjoy it alot but soon feel awful again. The pains, cramps and diarrhea make me weak and sick. I've lost 12 pounds in 12 days.

For lunch I enjoy a turkey sandwich. I spend the day in bed again. I can't take much more; my intestines are really in bad shape.

Chris calls. She is feeling alot better. She's up, dressed, and has done some housework. I tell her I just decided to check into Kaiser Hospital.

Gary and Maria and boys were to leave early this morning for San Francisco. I just heard there's been a terrible series of wrecks on Interstate 5 due to blowing dust. God, I hope they got through before the 200 car wreck with 20 killed.

At 10 pm we are at emergency to check me in but it is 3 am before I get to a room.

The Woodland Hills Kaiser Hospital is pictured above. This is the closest Kaiser facility to Simi Valley where Mom lived and is undoubtedly where she checked herself in. Unfortunately, my experience with the Kaiser ER has been exactly the same. No matter what time or how crowded the emergency room is, the wait it unbearable. Only those coming in by ambulance with a heart attack or with blood flowing and broken bones sticking out are seen immediately. Everyone else has to wait for hours. The last time I needed to go to the ER, I decided to just wait til morning and make a doctor's appointment. I got in just as fast as I would have to sit in the waiting room all night.

The following article about the massive accident on Interstate 5 that day appears on
A massive car and truck collision in Coalinga, California, kills 17 people on this day in 1991. More than 100 vehicles were involved in the accident on Interstate 5, which was caused by a dust storm.

Interstate 5 runs north and south between Southern California and Northern California. On Saturday, November 29, there was considerable traffic on the highway as people were returning home after Thanksgiving. The area of the highway near Coalinga in the San Joaquin Valley is usually prime farmland. However, in 1991 many farmers had decided not to plant their fields because of severe drought conditions, leaving long stretches of dusty soil near the highway.

As the winds strengthened to nearly 40 miles per hour on November 29, dust swept over the highway, severely hampering visibility. Suddenly, a chain reaction of collisions developed over a mile-long stretch of the highway. One hundred and four vehicles, including 11 large trucks, were involved in the massive collision. It took hours for the rescuers to find all the victims in the continuing dust storm. Seventeen people lost their lives and 150 more suffered serious injuries. Meanwhile, thousands of people were trapped in their cars for the nearly an entire day until the highway could be cleared enough for traffic to pass.

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