When we made our first trip to St. Jude from Jonesville, we had no idea where the hospital was located. We assumed (you know what that does) that it would be simple to find on the interstate once we got to Memphis, TN. We left in the wee hours of the morning in hopes that Amber would sleep through the majority of the trip. Our sister-in-law Tammy traveled with us for the trip.
We made good time getting to Memphis and thought we would be very early for our appointment. Now remember, this is 1994. No one had smartphones, no one had access to the internet in their vehicle. Because all of this happened quickly and we were on the road two days after diagnosis, we didn’t have time to go shopping for a map. So, here we are driving into Memphis for the first time ever and no idea where to go.
Basically we were “country come to town” the first time we drove all the way around Memphis on I240. No sign of St. Jude. Time number two around Memphis on I240 was the same. Still no sign of St. Jude. By this time, Tammy and I are telling Jeff (Amber’s father and my husband at the time) that we needed to exit somewhere and get directions. Being a typical man, he didn’t agree. For some reason, he seemed to think that we would find the hospital on the third trip around Memphis (still on I240).
Needless to say, we did not find the hospital on trip #3. We finally exited and asked for directions. No one knew what to tell us. Tammy looked up the phone number and called St. Jude to get directions. The person she got said just get on I240 and you will run right into it. That leads to the fourth trip around Memphis on, you guessed it, I240. And, you guessed it again, still no hospital. By this time, we were all frustrated. We exited again and Tammy called one more time to the hospital, this time getting good directions.
Back on I240 we go but this time we know the secret. You have to EXIT I240 on I40 towards Little Rock. Amazingly, right after you get on I40, signs for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital begin to appear. We were finally where we were supposed to be. We were three tired adults by this point but Amber was quite rested.
Just as an afterthought, I am certainly thankful for the technology we have at our disposal now. Having a map readily available on your phone that you keep with you all the time is a definite traveling advantage!