Sunday, March 29, 2009

saint patrick is not my lucky day

Several years ago, I somehow got the flu on St. Patty's day. I lay on the couch in my misery, not sure what to do - as I hadn't had the flu since I was a child. My temp was 99. I decided to sleep a while and I don't remember why, but husband came to check on me an hour later, and my temp had shot to 104. That's borderline brain-baking, so he got me up and said we're going to the hospital. I'm too unaware to protest. We arrive and I stand at the entrance, dazed while husband explains the temperature spike to triage. We don't wait in the lobby, we go inside and a nice lady takes my blood pressure while standing up. I don't remember much, but I saw the numbers go up and up and up, somewhere around 186 and she looked nervous and told me to sit down before I pass out.
They walk me straight to a bed and prod me with a needle to start putting some fluid back in. I've been here less than 10 minutes and I'm already laying down. When I go to the emergency room I do it right, eh?
Couple of pints and some ibuprofen to bring down the temp and I'm given clearance to go home. Now I understand how people die from the flu. It's just that easy.

Fast forward to 2009. I'm hanging with some friends at Sticks in Depot Town for St. Pattys day. I'm under pregnancy suspicion because I'm the only one without a beer. Blow me, I've got a volleyball game at 9:20pm, and if I have a beer it just makes me sleepy. Not good. I leave the group and head to my game. I really love volleyball, and our A league consistently comes in first or second place each season. We were also playing a team that would be a challenge, but a good game.
It was some point in the middle of the first match, and normally when I injure myself I remember the details well, but for some reason this time I don't. I remember that I landed on my right foot wrong, I landed on the side and rolled it, hard. I heard a quick succession of 5 or 6 small cracks from my foot, like cracking your knuckles. Without thinking, I grabbed the net and pulled myself back up, pain quickly radiating from my foot. I don't remember if it was during play, if we got the point, or if the ref called me for being in the net. All those game details are gone. My team surrounds me and I tell them what I did and that it really hurts and I need to just sit for a minute. I hobble to the sidelines, someone puts an ice pack down my sock. And it hurts. Holy hell it really motherfucking hurts.
I once dislocated my knee and in the ambulance I told the man on a scale of 1 to 10, my pain was a 9. I thought somehow, just before you died, that's where you reach a 10. I've been told patellar dislocation is more painful than childbirth.
I'd rate this immediate ankle thing at about a 6 or 7. It fucking just hurts.
I'm pretty good with pain. I broke my finger last year playing volleyball and kept playing. Sprained my knee last november, too. Maybe all these injuries would make me stop playing? Nah. Just pisses me off.
Why can't I just play without getting hurt?
I watch my team play without me and we start losing. I'm sad because I so badly wanted to be on the court. Ankle is not letting up. Pain just keeps on. I know I'm not getting back on the court. I peek at my ankle and it looks like someone stuffed an egg in there. Already a knot of swelling, that isn't a good sign.
I borrow crutches of a girl on the opposite team, who blew her knee out a few weeks ago. My teammate helps me out and I now have to drive to Depot Town to pick up husband and friend. My car is too small to drive left footed, so I brake with the left and gas with the right. It really fucking hurts. I get the boys and make one of them drive home. I just can't.
The next morning husband and I visit my doctor, and they poke and prod at my very swollen ankle. She thinks it's a sprain, maybe be okay in a 3-4 weeks. We have to get xrays just in case. The xray positions my foot in several uncomfortable ways, once grabbing my ankle and causing me to shriek, "OW OW OW OW OW." I mean, what are you, fucking retarted? That part of my ankle is swollen, and I'm GETTING X RAYS. You don't think manhandling me will hurt? Be gentle you fucktard.
This is the second time an x ray tech has done shit like this to me.
Anyway, back to the doc. She comes in and says I actually broke it. We are all surprised. I'm to be fitted with a walking boot and have to return in 6 weeks. The boot. 6 weeks. None of this really sinks in. I'm going through the motions.
I am supposed to fly to Providenciales the next day. I'm given permission to go.
In Provo, we hunt down a second boot at the "government clinic" which looks like something you'd see on CNN if they were talking about poor countries and medical care. I get my boot here for $40. At least I can go swimming.
Walking is a pain. Walking on the beach is way fucking harder than I think it should be. I'm annoyed that my ankle is broken. After the first couple days it pretty much stops hurting. The swelling continues until I have no ankle bones, just flat on each side. I've got... a cankle. As the days go by the swelling goes down and the colors start. Dark purple and blue on one side, purple on the other side, from heel to toe, green on top. Many rainbows of damage in this foot.
I enjoy my vacation despite my handicap and the fact that EVERYONE wants to comment on it. I talked to probably 100 different people. I started making up stories. I told someone I beat up a hobo. Two guessed right off the bat that it was volleyball. That was pretty awesome.
I get home and I finally crack. I spend the entire day being absolutely foul and pissed off. It wasn't at anyone (poor husband) I just needed my day to crack. Maybe crying a couple times, but mostly just fuming the entire day. I'm over that hurdle, I hope.
Five more fucking weeks to go. (Husband needs to stop saying 6 to 8 weeks. In five, I'm having a bonfire and the star will be this goddamn boot.) It's an obstacle to walk, sleep, shower, anything. I should just enjoy this and play video games, watch tv, but I like being active. I don't want to get all squishy and weak. I want to be in shape, but after this I know I'll need physical therapy to put it back to normal again. And a friggin diet to lose the weight I'll put on sitting on my ass all the time. Oh, and I still can't drive! This sucks.
Next year, on St. Patty's day... tell me to STAY HOME!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

maybe this is boring? ymmv

I’d been dreading it for weeks.

The upcoming Red-Eye Flight. Number seventeen in my lifespan of just thirty years. I love to travel but something about red-eye flights to Europe make me want to slit my wrists. From the moment you depart for the airport, until about 48 hours later – it’s all pretty much pure torture.

I depart my home for Detroit airport, knowing that a blizzard is wreaking havoc on the Eastern Seaboard, and upon arrival find my connecting flight to Newark has been cancelled. I sweet-talk the nice lady behind the counter, explaining that I’m the group leader for a tour and without me my traveling companions will be hopelessly lost. She puts me on standby for a 1pm flight delayed until nearly 3pm. I go to the gate, make a few phone calls and wait. If I make stand-by I arrive in time for my 7pm flight to Birmingham. If not, I leave tomorrow.

My luck is good today and I make the stand-by flight, arrive in time to make my flight to Birmingham. I decide to go and get a better seat, as my recent trick I like is to pick a window seat in the rows of the high 20s and low 30s – where the middle seat is empty and the aisle is occupied. Nine times out of ten, the middle seat remains empty and I can spread out. I’m in luck. Nice guy behind the counter gives me an entire row to myself. Score! He also realizes I’m not even checked in. When I “checked in” earlier, the gate agent checked in the wrong person on my group itinerary. Good job asshat. You could have made me miss my flight. And, you even looked at my ID. Did you not notice my ID didn’t match the boarding pass you handed me? (Yeah, neither did I.) You’re still an asshat.

The chance to spread out offered no opportunity for sleep. I change position over and over and sleep will not come. I consider taking the Tylenol PM I brought with me but with a 5.45 hour flight, that may be a bad idea. After dinner I’d get three hours of sleep at the most and then possibly feel more miserable with the sleepy drugs. I went without. I pacified myself with my own personal TV monitor and watched “Twilight.” I’m pretty sure husband wouldn’t want to watch it, and I was intrigued. Happy I watched it, because I really liked it. Completely absorbing (as If I had other things to do), a little bit obvious the target audience was 13, but overall pretty good movie.

We eventually are served breakfast of a flat warm croissant and a fruit salad of un-ripened honeydew, canteloupe and grapes. At least it isn’t yogurt.

We land and shuffle to baggage claim. My bag is the first to arrive as it was gate checked in Newark. I had to lug it around from DTW to EWR because of my stand-by status.
All bags arrive. We depart the airport for the hotel. We arrive and are told by the cold front-desk staff that check-in is at 2pm. I explain that I know when check-in is, but we’d like rooms as soon as they are ready, as we’ve come off red-eye flights and will be sleeping in your lobby until rooms are ready. I ask every other hour and am continually told no. Find my travelers a room or I’ll annoy the crap out of you. After waiting in the lobby for about three hours (which seems like a freakin’ eternity when your body thinks it’s awake 3am – 6am). I go to my room, unpack and light-nap for about 4 hours. I get up, shower, brush teeth, and go to dinner. I turn on my sociable front and buy a round of drinks for everyone, and then dinner for everyone. My co-worker does not arrive after a severe-onslaught of the flu stomach has rendered her unable to leave the bathroom. I’m asked by all the dog lovers on this dog trip what kind of dog I have. I’ve never in my live owned a dog. I tell them he’s small and furry and his name is Sebastian. And he meows. Owning a dog is not a prerequisite for escorting a dog tour. We also do tours to two of the world’s largest flower shows, Wimbledon, Oktoberfest, and Blackpool Ballroom dance. I also do not garden, play tennis, care much about beer, and really don’t like dancing. So, there you go. I’m still good at my job.

Afterward, I return to my room and my lovely pajamas. I again consider putting myself to sleep with Tylenol PM and forgo the idea. For some reason this first night I can always fall asleep easily, but will always wake up somewhere between 3am and 5am and be up for about two hours. Upon returning to sleep when the alarm goes off I am too exhausted to get up. This particular trip, I’m up from 4:39 am until about 6:30. I finish off “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris. The alarm goes off at 8am, I reset it for 9am. I awake at 9, jump into the shower and begin to feel weak. I feel weaker and woozier and horrible and odd. It worsens until waves of nausea set in. I begin to think I’m pretty sure I’m gonna throw up in the shower. I quickly rinse off and get out. If I don’t lie down immediately, I’m going to pass out. I look in the mirror and I’m white as a sheet, no color in my lips, cheeks or anything. I throw on the robe and lie down on the bed and curl up in a ball, waiting for this … this whatever it is to pass. I must be dehydrated. Maybe I’m getting sick? Maybe I got up and got moving too fast? I remember one trip to Italy where I was hit with early-morning nausea. It must be the jet-lag. Slow down. I lay there for about 5 minutes and then slowly get ready. I go downstairs and get cereal, pineapple and a croissant and coffee. I sit and stare at my food for about ten minutes, with no desire to eat. I eat a few bites of each item and sip a bit of coffee. Slowly throughout the day I feel better and better, but cautious because of the weird wave of whatever that knocked me on my ass this morning. And, as I predicted about 48 hours after leaving my house… I begin to feel normal. Optimistic about exploring Birmingham and enjoying the UK.

After all this, I get to do it all over again in May. And June. Don’t cha just love travel?