My trip to Bonavista

Ed Smith
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I spent an intriguing and unbelievable two days in Bonavista this past weekend.
There are those who will maintain that the story isn’t true, but like the story behind Sleeman’s Ale, we won’t hide it because it is true.


Those who were part of the experience could probably correct some things. It’s important you understand that this is told entirely from my perspective.

Again, there are those who will not believe this story. And again, I can understand, but I humbly swear to its truth. Well, as humbly as I get.

Evidently, on Thursday night, I suffered a reaction to the antibiotic and other meds I was taking, not to mention the fact that I was severely dehydrated. On Friday, I was so bad they carted me off to the hospital where the real fun began.

I objected strenuously and physically to going to the hospital in the first place. Let’s say I was “persuaded.” Some time during that process, it was decided that OH and I take advantage of this situation to go to Bonavista. We both needed some complicated work done on our teeth and our regular dentist was away. I objected to that, as well, but not nearly as much, and shortly we were on our way.

We arrived in beautiful Bonavista around suppertime, after which we were told there was a health-care board meeting in their offices. I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to attend, having been a health-care board chairman for almost 20 years, and asked if that would be OK.

Well, it most certainly was! The chair welcomed me as a longtime board chair and a one-time chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Hospital and Nursing Home Association, as it was then called.

I was asked to say a few words and tried to, but in the middle of this I became quite stomach sick and OH, who was also invited to sit in, had to take me out. It wasn’t an auspicious occasion for the one-time chair of the aforementioned long-winded title of my one-time organization.

I recovered sufficiently to be taken to the dentist office where we had an appointment for some time around midnight. The hour seemed odd, but I was told they bent over backwards over some weekends to accommodate people from out of town who needed special attention. Evidently this weekend was particularly busy.

When we arrived at the clinic, I lost track of my good wife, and found myself alone in a room with a single bed. To my great surprise, I saw someone arrive at the door with a large sign that said in red letters, “Heart Attack Victim.” I had no time to wonder about that before personnel arrived to take my vital signs.

I could only surmise that, because earlier that week I had been sent to hospital with pain in my jaw and face — and there was some concern that this was the beginning of a stroke or something even worse — they had been given that information and decided to take no chances. As it was, I had been sent home from the hospital in Springdale cleared of any heart or stroke problems. The doctors arrived and the confusion was cleared up during Saturday.

Later that day, OH and I found ourselves in the dental clinic. We were told the oral surgery involved took some four hours. We had an additional four-hour wait because they were about to start work on another patient. We did the math and weren’t at all happy with the result.

Then they hit us with another little gem. The doctor in charge had taken ill because he was exhausted and had gone home. Our choice was to return to Springdale or be transferred to Grand Falls-Windsor.

I was infuriated. We are going home, I said to OH. She agreed, and agreed to meet me at the house in Springdale. I don’t remember how or why we went in separate cars. Again, it didn’t seem to matter. She got away two or three hours before I did at about 2 a.m. We would meet at home, beautiful, blessed home in beautiful, blessed Springdale.

I fell asleep on the way back and got to Springdale around 7 or 8 a.m. I awoke in a bed in the hospital. In the bed next to me lay OH.

That was cause for some concern.

Was she sick? Had her car been in an accident? I called to her and she didn’t respond. The girl sitting in the chair couldn’t or wouldn’t give me any information.

Finally I fell asleep. When I woke up, a man I knew well was sitting in the chair and I demanded to know what happened to OH.

“She went home,” he said simply.

“What time?”

“10 o’clock last night. She came to see you around 7 and went home around 10.”

“But that can’t be,” I protested. “We were both in Bonavista last night.”

He looked at me strangely.

“Ed,” he said gently, “you were not in Bonavista last night.”

“But I’ve been there since Friday. I attended a board meeting. I talked to their doctors.”

“Ed,” and his voice was patient. “You’ve been right here in this hospital since Friday.”

My doctor came in later.

“You were in pretty bad shape when you came here on Friday,” he said, “but you recovered nicely. I think you can go home later today.”

“I’ve been hallucinating about being in Bonavista for two days?”

“Seems that way.”

Some of you may remember seeing the movie “A Beautiful Mind,” in which a brilliant mathematics professor at Harvard fantasized for some 10 years that he was working for the CIA decoding documents that had been intercepted between the Soviet Union and its allies.

Now I know how it happens.

Let me end on a happy note by saying a warm thank-you to all those who left birthday greetings for me on Facebook. There were far too many for me to reply to individually, but it’s a beautiful thing when so many remember a little thing like that. I even had three telephone calls!


Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His email address is

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Hospital, Nursing Home Association, Harvard CIA

Geographic location: Bonavista, Springdale, Soviet Union

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