I’m going to try to lay out the vacation better than I have so far. I have just not felt well enough to do so until now. We’ll go backwards through the story. It is a well known literary device called “going backwards through the story” and is used when all other flashes of inspiration fail utterly.
Seattle: Part Deux.
We left my father’s house in a flurry of suitcases which were packed so tightly that the addition of a single crazy straw would have created miniature black holes and torn the fabric of the space-time continuum. Seven nearly-black-holes were safely packed in the back of our rental car and we were on our way.
That rental car, by the way, is one of the single biggest reasons for economic upturn, costing over $1,000 for two weeks. Ow. But we did our part.
Our drive north towards Seattle was rather dull. It was spiced up a bit by my continued wheezing and gasping for breath. I sounded like a veteran Darth Vader impersonator and scared the kids silly.
As mentioned in an earlier post, we stopped off at Albany, Oregon to go to the ER. Albany is better than Deliverance, but still has that certain air about it that causes one’s senses to cry out in alarm. Possibly this is because of the pulp mill.
I shuffled into the ER and said “(wheeze) I feel horrible (rattle) and am (wheeze) having trouble (gasp) breathing…” In a near-state of laid-back panic they rushed me into triage where I sat next to this little clock sign with a cartoon rooster that said “Back in 15 minutes”. Fifteen minutes later the nurse waddled in and began with the important questions – do you have insurance, ID, note from your mother, proof of citizenship (can be waived if you are president), and a DNA registry number? I had some of them and presented them for her myopic review.
I was passed through the Portals of Well-Being and led to a bed. The nurse there assisted me in putting on a hospital gown that looked suspiciously like a Thneed from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. It wasn’t scratchy at all so it is possible it actually was from a Truffula Tree, which is unusual, even in Oregon.
The nurse carefully looked me over for places to put electrodes and promptly slapped them on whatever part had the most hair – maybe she had a dual major in Nursing/Waxing.
I explained that I couldn’t breathe and was having tingling/numbness in my fingertips and that I was beyond exhausted. I actually was able to relax a tiny bit in the bed which is very nice considering they are normally made from gravel and bone fragments. She turned on the monitors and set the volume for the most pleasing setting where the monitor sounds go <BONK> <BONK><CRASH><WHEE!-WHEE!-WHEE!> at irregular intervals. I was lucky – the sound from the bed next to me was that of machine guns punctuated by the screaming of livestock in a slaughter yard. The guy’s moaning did me no favors, either. Geez, get a room, willya?
A half hour later the doctor came by, read the chart, asked me the exact same questions by rote, yawned, and then ignored everything I told him. He suggested a nebulizer treatment – which didn’t seem necessary to me because everything was quite nebulous already, thank you. It looked like a gigantic medical hookah, and was steaming and puffing all over the place. I admit I did get a little excited when I saw that it definitely looked SteamPunk – brass, wood, and leather all over.
To my great surprise it worked. I could breathe again, which was a mixed blessing because of the way Albany smells, but I decided to make the best of it – we were to be leaving Albany as soon as possible.
We left Albany after another hour wait at the local witch-doctor/pharmacy for an inhaler, some rooster charms, and some round clear pills that looked like fish eggs.
Four child-entertaining-but-adult-IQ-draining DVD’s later we found ourselves in Kent, Washington. If you’ve never been there, Kent is one of those towns where they drink the beer and then eat the glass. We got settled into our hotel easily enough and then set about to find a Denny’s for a midnight dinner in a town where everyone seemed to have fresh stitches somewhere on their body. FrankenStein boy seemed to fit in nicely.
We found a Denny’s and bought a meal that would be familiar to any parent of young children – waffles and cheese sandwiches that weren’t even touched and two adult meals that were covered in congealed grease. I ate with gusto since I hadn’t had a meal in four days. It was fantastic until the second-to-last bite when the congealed grease staged a revolt in my lower intestine.
Back at the hotel we whipped the kids silly with SpongeBob toys and pillows until they stayed in bed and then collapsed on our own bed. Our flight left at 4:30pm the next day so rushing wasn’t necessary. Rushing would not have worked out well anyway as I was winded every time I had to use the stairs – two steps (wheeze wheeze cough… wait) – two more steps (wheeze wheeze cough… wait). You get the idea, but it was ever so much worse when I had to carry nearly-black-hole-luggage. I should be clear here and note that the wife also had pneumonia/tuberculosis/bronchitis/ebola (or whatever this bug is), too, just not as bad.
The airport was a gasping blur. It whirled around me and drifting through the air were Burger King meals and fries (Cruel Wife and kids) and for me the Udon Noodle Bowl from the Udon-Is-Us airport fast-food joint. Our standing-room-only flight left 30 minutes late but was made up for by ascending to 63,000 feet and quadrupling our carbon footprint by burning double the fuel and coal mixed with passenger clothes at regular intervals. Several Goths and karaoke singers disappeared during the flight so I suspect the attendants were surreptitiously lightening the load a bit, too.
Arrived at DTW airport, got our luggage except for one piece which couldn’t make it to the carousel (“lost”) but was somehow correctly delivered 50 feet away to the lost luggage room. I think they do that so you are later impressed with their ability to snatch lost luggage from the brink of the abyss. I wasn’t impressed.
We wheezed our way to the shuttle bus, on to our car, and back home in record time. Cruel Wife ignored every suggestion painted on the roadway and treated signs of every stripe with utter contempt. I cheered weakly from the shotgun seat and the kids shouted “Do that again! Cut another semi-truck off again, Mom!”
I was so happy to be home! Everyone should be so lucky to make it home to die horribly. Everyone was exhausted and fell asleep quite rapidly even though we were on Pacific Time, certainly by 4am.
We all woke up bright-tailed and bushy-eyed at 2pm. A few hours later we picked up Zoe-pup. She piddled her dog britches. I piddled my jeans. It was, as I may have said before, a regular piddle-party.
Now a week later, I sit here, drinking narcotic cough syrup which does marginal good, and eating Ceftin. Ceftin is the second-line antibiotic since the Amoxicillan did not do any good. Ceftin’s claim to fame is that if you let it dissolve in your mouth the rotten-leaves flavor actually makes the cough syrup taste good by contrast, and is so intense that drinking out of a dairy-farm manure-pumping pipe sounds like a great way to get the flavor out of your mouth. Or licking your dog’s butt. Haven’t tried the pipe yet.
GirlHead has been horribly annoying yet so damn cute I turn into a puddle of goo. I have no natural defenses against her. More later.