Ed and the boys and I haven’t really been doing much other than working our tails off lately and I don’t want to write about ICU patients and for some reason, Ed thinks client confidentiality extends to spouses too so he won’t tell me what’s going on at his office. A couple of weeks ago though, Mom told me she really wanted to go on a vacation this summer. She had asked my brother Brian to go, but he had claimed to be too busy, so she invited her sister to go on a vacation. This revelation always invokes a groan from me because Mom is a bit accident prone, to put it lightly. I’ve written about her adventures before, but today seems like a good day to write about her near death stories again since she’s apparently intent on threatening her own life again.
1. Mom and I went to Peurto Vallarta, Mexico when I was 19 with my baby brother, Brian, who was 8 years old and a girlfriend of mine, S, who was 18. One of the days we spent in Peurto Vallarta was not overly booked with excursions around the town and we simply swam at the beach. I am a decent swimmer, as was everyone else, but out of the group, I was blessed with the most common sense, which is a rare occurence. If Ed ever reads this blog, he might fall out of his chair because I’m a bit of an airhead on most occasions. So there we were, swimming at the beach, when S and I hear Mom and Brian screaming for help because they had gotten caught in a current and were drowning. S and I swam out to Mom and Brian. I grabbed Brian, told him to float, and started hopping back to shore. Yes, just hopping. I looked back once we were at the shore, expecting to see S and Mom right behind us and they hadn’t moved one stinking inch! I swam back out to them and yelled, “What the fuck are you doing? Swim back up to shore!” (I was 19. My cursing is much more advanced now. I was just a beginner then.) They began babbling about the current and not being able to move. I grabbed my mother’s hand and led her on a diagonal hopping trip back up to the shore. Mom collapsed when she got to shore and said I’d saved their lives. She treated me and S to manicures and facials! We reciprocated by getting way too drunk at the hotel’s dance club. (Again, I was 19! I’ve learned my lesson about alcohol poisoning and cheap tequila.)
2. My mother and her older sister have a propensity for planning overly adventurous vacations. At the time of this particular vacation, they were both in their 50′s. Neither was in particularly fantastic shaped or even exercised on a regular basis. Mom and her sister planned a vacation that was so crazy that the two of them were completely unable to convince any of their combined four children to tag along. There was a train trip from Texas to San Francisco (which was reason enough for me to refuse the invitation). There was a planned stay in a hostel (we all had to be told what a hostel was). They also planned a bus trip with about thirty other people through the Yosemite mountains that included camping. (Shudder!) The near death experience occurred during a hike through the Yosemites. Mom, her sister, and another member of the bus tour went on a hike up a beginner’s trail through the Yosemites. This should seem simple enough. Follow the green course markers. Don’t leave the path. Don’t give your sister ALL of your bottled water just because she’s thristy after drinking all of her own. Don’t give your sister your roll of toilet paper after she’s used all of her own. Don’t tell the other hiker with you to go on ahead and leave the two of you because you’re just holding them back. Really. Neither of them can follow a map on hard paper and have gotten lost in their own major metropolitan cities. My aunt has driven three hours to the south when trying to visit my mother who lived to the north. These two women who lacked any sense of direction at all told the only person with them to leave them. They, naturally, were unable to follow the directional signs for the trail and ended up headed into what they were later told was an uncharted part of the Yosemite mountains. Prior to them being found, my mother ended up becoming dehydrated and having diarrhea, hence the need for bottled water and toilet paper. By some miracle, my mother and aunt were found by a couple of very experienced hikers who took a different trail than they had originally intended to take based on a hunch. The hikers found two exhausted, dehydrated, stinking women who needed every ounce of help they had to offer.
Mom called as soon as she could and gave us an update on her vacation and got every bit of the cussing she was expecting and more.
3. When I was 13, my mother, stepfather, and brothers, aged 11 and 2, went skiing in Colorado. I started out the trip aggravated that my mother was not putting my 2 year old brother in ski lessons. Olympic skiers start learning how to ski when they are 2. Why couldn’t my brother? (The Olympics must have been on, or I don’t think I would’ve possessed that tidbit of knowledge.) So my mother and two year old brother spent 6 of the 7 days when everyone else was skiing just playing in the snow. (Now that I have children who do not live in mountainous states, I completely understand her reasoning, but don’t tell her that.) My stepfather watched my brother play in the snow around day 3 or 4 of the trip so that Mom could ski. Mom managed to take the beginners skiing course and ski the bunny slope 2 or 3 times before having her big fall. According to Mom, it was really more of a tipping over than a fall. She decided that the fall hurt enough that she didn’t want to ski anymore so she began scooting down the mountain on her back side. The snow patrol happened to drive by and she rode down the rest of the mountain on the back of a snow mobile. Mom’s nerves were understandably frazzled and she chose to spend the rest of the vacation playing in the snow with Brian rather than trying her hand at skiing again.
Fast forward 10 years. Mom had been saying for years that she had arthritis in her hip. She had a routine bone scan to check for osteoporosis which revealed a healed fracture on the hip she fell on when skiing. (See? Her luck really is horrible when she goes on vacations!)
4. My mother and her older sister went on a road trip to the most haunted hotels in Arkansas. I was married so I decided not to go on the trip. My two brothers and cousin decided to go on the trip because it sounded like fun, but with the stipulation that they take their own car and not wait for their mothers. My mother and aunt are infamous for not being able to get within 20 miles of the posted speed limit when they’re on a road trip together. This is understandably annoying for their teenaged and twenty-something year old children. So my brothers and cousin left mom and her sister to wind their way slowly through the mountains of Arkansas. Somewhere along the way, my aunt announced that she had to go to the restroom. Immediately. Right then. My mother stopped the car on the side of the highway. It was a fairly open stretch of highway. They left the passenger door open to shield my aunt’s face from oncoming traffic. Mom stood behind her with her back turned and her jacket stretched open to shield my aunt’s backside from traffic coming the other direction. My mother was expecting my aunt to urinate. Who wouldn’t announce voiding intentions other than urination the sweet person shielding their most private functions? Mom was shocked when the backs of her legs got sprayed with diarrhea. The passenger seat of the car also got sprayed with diarrhea. My aunt’s response was, “Oops!”
On a side note, if I’m ever on a road trip with you and you spray my legs with diarrhea, I will leave you where you stand.