Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Warning: Yearning For Summer May Result In A Summer Of Uninvited Events

(I first want to thank Heidi for her advice regarding my book search. I have not seen anything at the Library. It has just dawned on me that you might be right and, sadly, a book like this does not exist, although I don't want to believe it. There is definitely a need for a book like the one I am looking for.)

As the snow drops on Chicago, yet again (and these suckers are big, like cotton balls) it makes me yearn for summer. All I can do is think about the joy that brightness and sun on my face and flower breezes across my skin and consistent time outside, bring me.

But then I think about the Summer of '94, and I remember - not all summers go as planned, and sometimes summer just downright sucks.

The summer of '94 started off like most summers. I finished a semester of school and would be transferring to a different college in the fall, so I was not taking summer classes. I was working part time as a "manager on duty" at a local eating establishment. And I was a camp counselor for a few hours each morning, but mostly I had a lot of time on my hands. I probably had a few dates thrown in here and there, but obviously, nothing too exciting, so I was mostly hanging with my other single friends.

But Summer of '94 offered me some uninvited events, causing my time off to become pretty crappy.

After the first few, heavenly weeks of summer, I started feeling sick. My diagnosis - strep throat. Who gets strep throat in the summer? Well I do apparently, but no biggie. I will get my antibiotics and all will be well. Not so much...

The Doctor prescribed the really obvious penicillin, which I am not allergic, nor sensitive to in any way. However, my Mother, who is very frugal and salvages medicine from the dark ages, decided to take a looksie in her medicine cabinet walk-in-closet and see what she could find. She came out with Erythromicin - another antibiotic.

"Here, this will probably work just the same."

"I am not taking that, it probably expired five years ago."

"No - no, no, it is still good. It doesn't expire for two more months."

"Well, I have no idea if that drug is an equal replacement for Penicillin, I am not taking it without the professional go ahead." (- the future nurse in me.)

So my Mom called the completely inept Pediatrician I was still seeing at the age of 19 and without offering any information on side effects , she gave me the go ahead to take the Erythromicin.

So I had taken it for about three days without any problems. The pain in my throat was subsiding, but a knock me out, just kill me now pain was developing in my abdomen. And then..... the vomiting....

My mom was out of the house one summer day, I was home alone, Dad was out of town, and when I had nothing left to vomit I would just wretch and wretch and wretch. I felt like I had gone a few rounds in the boxing ring and I was pummeled directly in my umbilicus over and over again.

My mom came home and found me curled up in a fetal position right under the kitchen sink, until I lifted myself up to wretch again.

"What's going on? What are you feeling? Should I call the Doctor?"

"Uhhhhhhh ohhhhhhhh ahhhhhhhhhhh - I think ...dieing..."

My mom got me to the hospital where I was diagnosed with acute vomiting and dehydration - GENIUS!!! The culprit - Erythromicin.

Erythromicin may cause severe abdominal pain and discomfort as well as nausea and vomiting. Who knew???

I might have known this if the friggin' Doctor offered up this information. I was given IV for dehydration with a dose of Compazine thrown in to curb the nausea and vomiting. (Apparently Compazine is also used for anxiety and schizophrenia - which makes sense since profuse pain and vomiting induced in me panic and insanity.)

It took another week until I was fully recovered from this episode. So between the strep and the Erythrofrigginmycin - two weeks of my summer were already shot and summer wasn't done with me.

I had a few good weeks and then I shot out of bed one night with terrible stabbing pains in my right lower quadrant. I was convinced I had appendicitis. This time, Mom was out of town and Dad had no choice but to be my savior.

Off we were, to the hospital again, at 2:00 in the morning. Thank the Good Lord, my appendix was fine, but I had some sort of bacterial infection and was prescribed antibiotics once again. No Erythromicin please!!! I was fine a few days later and this event proved to be the quickest of my summer misfortunes.

But only about a week later - I was OUT for the duration of the summer.

I attended a friend's wedding, which was probably cursed from the get-go, as they are divorced today. During one of the dance sessions, taking place on a crowded dance floor, some other chick felt compelled to wrap her foot around my ankle pulling my foot out from under me. My right shoe went flying and I was down for the count. Immediately as I tried to stand up, I knew something was terribly wrong.

I had sprained my ankle on many occasions before, but this was different. The fact that in under two minutes, my foot was bright purple and had swelled to double it's size, also clued me in on a problem.

My friends helped me hop all the way through the hotel to the car, got me home and brought me up into my house. I sat on one kitchen chair with my extremely noticeable purple balloon for a foot propped up on another chair. With my Mom still out of town, I called out to my Dad who was in the basement.


After a few shout outs, he finally emerged. He took one look at my friends, and one look at me and said,

"Ohhhh nooo, ohhh no, uhuh, I am not taking you to the hospital... again."

And with that, he retreated to the basement.

I would like to say, my friends were in shock by my father's approach, but they knew him by now. It was as if I already filled my quota for hospital visits during a two month period, and my Eastern European father wasn't having anymore.

It was late, everyone was tired and my Dad was unable to be convinced of my need to visit the ER, which I gathered from his suggestion, "Just go to sleep with some ice and you'll feel better in the morning."

Try to complain about agony to a Holocaust survivor, go ahead - I dare you.

My lovely friends told me that if I needed, they would drive me to the hospital in the morning. Needless to say, writhing in pain, I did not sleep that night.

The x-ray confirmed, I had two broken metatarsals (the bones that connect the toes to the feet). I was casted and sent on my way with a lovely pair of brand new crutches.

This took me out until two weeks into the school year. Although I did teach myself to drive with my left foot, which is harder than one might think, because I refused to be completely tied down. I also ended the summer by hitching a ride with some friends to Milwaukee to see Billy Joel/Elton John in concert, even though I had to walk a mile from our parking spot to the stadium and climb the four thousand steps to my seat all on crutches. Some things are just soooooooo worth it.

So while I do in fact yearn for Summer, I am hoping this one will only be good to me.

3 have shown Orah a little love:

Brie said...

in the book "free to be a family" there is a sweet story about a boy with downs syndrome and how another boy relates to him with his parents' help. my kids are sleeping in the room with the book right now so i can't tell you the author of the story but let me know if youre interested. I bet google could find it too.

Candice said...

Sounds like the summer of 94 was definitely not a good one for you.

I think summer 2009 sounds promising. I don't think I'm quite as ready for it as you are though. It gets hot as hell here. ;)

Heidi @ Tayterjaq's Rebels said...

I looked around on the internet and came up with a few titles but I would research them if I were you to make sure they are what you are looking for. I haven't read or seen any of them so there are no promises. I might be off in what type specifically you are looking for.

Your Feelings: I'm Special
by Jen Green.

Don't Call Me Special: A First Look at Disability
by Pat Thomas

and this website seemed to have several and described them a bit too.

Sorry to hear about your rotten summer...I can remember the summer many years ago when I broke both my wrists 1 week before the end of school. Two NON waterproof casts for over 8 weeks. That was not a good summer.