Thursday, May 28, 2015


The transportation stories get weirder and weirder while the photopheresis gets easier.

So the thing that would seem simpler – getting from one place to another – is more difficult than a complicated medical procedure.

Let's start with my ride from South Hadley to Boston yesterday. They scheduled the pickup at 1. The previous rides were at noon, which made more sense for getting through traffic to Dana-Farber by 3, but it wasn't up to me.

I went to George's clinic at 9: a great way to head into the two days of ECP because it made me tired and happy. I left early at 11:30 and stopped at the store to get a few things. About 12:15 I got a call from the driver saying he was 20 minutes away from my house. When I told him the ride wasn't scheduled until 1, he practically shouted at me: "I want to go to Boston! You mean I have to wait around?" I told him I would move as quickly as possible, and, remembering the first fiasco, I said, "You can't leave without me."

I got home before him, took a shower, and was ready at the originally scheduled time. When I went out to the driveway I saw the car but no driver. The other ones had helped me with my bags, but when I located this one I saw that he was smoking at the edge of my driveway. He didn't budge until I had gotten everything into the car myself. He went the slower way into Boston, through traffic on Route 9, complaining on the phone to someone saying he couldn't believe he had to take someone to Boston at this hour. Lovely.

Lovely, on the other hand, (I can hear Jim as my editor at the T-T making fun of that phrase: "On the other hand, I have five fingers," but it's my blog and I'm gonna use it) is a good word to describe my nurse. She made me as comfortable as could be, situating a pillow on my lap so I could rest my computer and my book on it, and getting me snacks that have become a routine: a package of mini Chips-Ahoy during the first part and Cheesitz and an apple juice towards the end. I thought I would read, but I fell asleep quickly and slept through almost the whole three hours. I told her I was surprised, and she said the machine does that to people.

Now we come to another little fiasco. When I had called The Ride on my way to Boston to confirm my cab ride to Margaret's, the operator said it wasn't scheduled. I was pretty sure I had scheduled it, but in any case I asked if he could put me in for a pickup at Dana-Farber at 6:30. With the same rationale as the last ride I had booked, he asked me what time I needed to be in Needham because he could only work backwards. I said I didn't care, it was just for going to a friend's house. This was unacceptable. I suppose I should have estimated the time it would take to get there, say, 45 minutes, so then he would be able to put me down for a pickup at the correct time. In any case it took a few go-rounds for him to get it. "You mean you want to be in Needham at 6:30?" No, and no, and no.

We finally settled on a pickup time at 6:30, but when I got outside there was no cab. So I called the dispatch number and the same man as before said that I was on standby because it was a same-day reservation. He said he couldn't guarantee a ride and I would have to sit there for an hour and someone might show up or not.

"You have to be kidding me! You didn't tell me that before!" I said. Too bad for me. These rides are often for people who are old or disabled. What if they were just left sitting?

Luckily Joe had put the Uber app on my phone. I put in for a ride, and a nice driver in a spotless Toyota arrived in six minutes. He took my bag and put it in the trunk. There is no meter, and I had no idea how much it would cost. I guessed $30, so I was pleasantly surprised when I got the receipt in my email and it was $24.05. The average cost of a cab ride would have been $45.

As I sat at the kitchen table telling Nick about this experience, I noticed the front page of The Globe had a story saying that Uber and Lyft drivers face $500 fines for driving without a license from the city. This is part of an ongoing battle with taxi cab drivers and cities against the popular ride-hailing services. Well, my ride certainly got me out of a bind.

With one more round to go today, I wonder what adventures await me.

1 comment:

Diana Louise Carter said...

Ronni, hope your rides go better today. Your "other hand" comment made me laugh out loud because I could just hear Jim say it! When I called the T-T office at 7:30 a.m. one day, telling him excitedly that I had just seen a fatal accident, he replied "how do you know it was fatal? Are you a doctor?" By noon, my "hunch" proved true, unfortunately for the young man in the accident. But I learned a lesson in making assumptions. Jim's other words of advice after a trying day went something like this: "In the newspaper business, every day is a fresh chance to do a better job." So yes, I still hear his words in my head all the time, too! Diana