Tomorrow is a big day for Rick. He's got a long, long trip to take.
Background: After battling for ten years to get a military pension and some compensation for his medical release from the Air Force back in 1994, the ruling was finally made and Rick was denied any compensation at all. It was said that there was no link found between his Lupus and his having been sprayed with Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
We are now beginning the appeal process and our first meeting with an advocate (Sam Johnson) and the VA is tomorrow at 1:15. Yes, tomorrow is a big day.
Rick is driving again, but the distance to the appeal office is still a bit too far for Rick to go on his own.
Here's where I come in. I will drive him there and will inevitably end up fighting this battle for him. But, that's okay. I'm just as angry about having been denied as he is.
Although I am accompanying him (and doing the driving) to the VA tomorrow, Rick still felt the need to map the route out on his GPS. And he did just that. Never mind that I worked for Lewisville ISD for five years and was on the road for most of that time. Never mind that I have a decent sense of direction, too.
"242 miles," he proudly announced. Proudly, because that little GPS of his, trips him up all the time and he was thrilled that he'd figured it out and could get us there so easily.
"Wait, where is this place?" I asked.
"And it's HOW many miles away?"
Just for the record, Plano is right next door to Frisco.
"Rick, don't you find it a bit odd that the GPS is telling you it's 242 miles away, yet we live just a few minutes away from Plano?"
"You don't get it," he said. "It's on the other side of Plano."
"Oh. That makes sense. But let me ask you this... How come your hospital, in Richardson, was only 11 miles away? And Richardson is much further than Plano?"
"You still don't get it. We're going to the OTHER side of Plano."
"Ah. Sure. And, uh, how many hours will it take us to get there? I mean, if we were, say, going 60 miles an hour... You think maybe four? Five?"
"No. Because we can't go 60 miles per hour down Coit."
"Oh, so it'll take longer? Maybe I better take the whole day off work ... an afternoon just won't cut it, I guess."
"Yeah, especially if we want to stop for lunch first."
"I don't know, Rick. That's a long trip. Maybe I better pack lunch. And dinner. Who knows when we'll get back. Plano's a lot further than I thought."
"Nah, we'll be back by dinner," he said. "There's a game on I want to watch."
Sigh. Just what I need. A five hour trip to Plano. That's what I get for letting Rick plan the trip, I guess. But never fear, I'll drive. And I'll get us there in 20 minutes. Maybe 23, if I make a Sonic stop.
By the way, I checked Rick's GPS after he'd gone to bed. He, for some reason, was starting our trip to Plano, from Houston. Good to know that it's only 240 miles to Houston. 266 if I want to visit Mexico. Not sure it can all be done in just one day... but then, isn't NASA in Houston? I could always get a little assistance from NASA. They probably have more reliable GPS's than Rick.
So wish us luck tomorrow. If we don't make it to the VA appointment, we'll be heading to the moon. Whichever one is closest.