Is That All There Is?

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 192016

Over the years a lot of people who know about my phobia of high bridges have told me about the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, and I was definitely not looking forward to crossing it yesterday for our trip to the Bay Pines VA Hospital. But as it turns out, it reminded me of the classic song Is That All There Is?

Miss Terry was driving, and though I was apprehensive as we saw the bridge from the distance, once we were on it, it was a piece of cake. Two lanes wide in both directions with a wide shoulder and a high concrete guardrail. Compared to the Astoria Bridge crossing the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington, or the Mackinac Bridge that connects the rest of Michigan to the Upper Peninsula, this was nothing.

Sunshine Skyway bridge small

On bridge small 2

John Huggins had told us that parking at Bay Pines could be a problem and to be sure to get there in plenty of time to find a place. My appointment was for 2:45 PM and we got there about 1 o’clock just to be sure. But as it turned out, we pulled into the parking lot and had plenty to choose from right up front.

When we went into the building there were strobe lights flashing and someone said that there was a fire. But while a handful of people went outside, the rest of the staff and everybody else was going on about their business. I asked one of the staff members what was happening and she said there was a hot electrical cord in a room on the second floor, but somebody had already unplugged it. Nevertheless, the fire department came to check things out.

VA fire truck small

I figured as long as we were there so early, I’d go ahead and check in for my CT scan. I did, filled out a one-page patient information sheet, and they gave me two large glasses of water to drink. As soon as I finished that they took me back to begin the procedure.

When I was in the hospital in Temecula, California they blew out the vein in my left arm where I normally have blood taken, leaving a scarred vein that the VA tech could not get through, even though he poked a couple of times. He kept apologizing, but I told him it was no problem, I’ve been stuck by worse then that. A lot worse, as a matter fact! He switched to my hand, got a needle in, and infused me with the contrast they use for the procedure. I was all done and walking out the door at 2:35, ten minutes before my originally scheduled appointment. I was really impressed with everybody at Bay Pines, they go all the way to do anything they can to be helpful, are very courteous, and if we were going to be living in this part of Florida, that’s where I would get all of my medical care.

My parents used to live in St. Petersburg, and my dad loved fishing at the pier there, so once we were finished at the hospital I wanted to check it out. But as it turns out, the pier that my dad loved, a landmark and tourist attraction that once included an aquarium, restaurants, and specialty shops, is being demolished. We walked down to the little beach next to it and got a picture, looked around for a few minutes, then headed back across the bay toward Bradenton.

St Pete pier small

When the original Skyway Bridge was demolished, sections at both end of it were turned into fishing piers administered by the state Parks Department. For a small fee anglers can drive out onto the pier and fish. Both ends are open 24 hours a day, and besides excellent fishing, the pier offers some amazing views of the sunrise and sunset. Back on the south side of the bay we stopped to check the pier out. If we have time while we’re here, we may go wet a line or two. Nothing beats fresh fish for dinner that was swimming that morning.

Thought For The Day – I don’t mean to brag, but I finished my 14-day diet in 3 hours and 20 minutes.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  2 Responses to “Is That All There Is?”

  1. I remember visiting my Grandmother going over the Gandy Bridge.

  2. Nick, I would like to comment on our write skills, “You are out of this world and looking forward to the next book” I have read all of your books and just finished Dog Run, and it was great the way you brought the end of the book all together. Would of like to see the chief live but a good story has it’s way. The Big Lake series is also on top of my list, and Black Friday was so good I got in trouble, with Cyndy for not putting the book down. Keep up your writing and looking forward to your next book!!!!

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