Settle yourselves in, readers, this is going to be a long one. Go to the bathroom, get a glass of water or a cuppa joe; it’s going to get gruesome, but I promise you, I will try to tie up all the loose ends. Hang with me.
Several days ago, 425Heidi alterted me to the fact that actor Jim Caviezel was injured in a motorcycle accident near Leavenworth, Washington. He was wearing his helmet, I’ll have you know. Fortunately, Jim was released from the ER with only minor injuries, much like my mother, a.k.a. the Radish this evening, her second of such visits of the summer. For sporadic, infrequent, or new readers, Jim Caviezel is part of an elaborate family inside joke.
So you can imagine my surprise when I saw him behind the wheel of a white Mustang convertible yesterday at the intersection of Pioneer Highway and Highway 532 in the small city of Stanwood. Cruising down the highway with the three Things, tuckered out and slumbering in the back of the minivan, there he was! He pulled into traffic behind me and followed me through town. When we got onto “the island” I was almost positive it was him, since his parents also live on “the island”. He must be visiting, right? And driving a rental car after the accident. His hair was cut short, much like in the above 2003 photo. I knew, however, that my family would never believe me unless I had proof. Fortunately, my Nikon was in the backseat!!! All I would have to do is pull over and then get back into traffic and follow him to his destination. (This, BTW, is how stalkers are born). Once there, I would introduce myself and wake a kid up to take the photo. There are not many places to pull over on “the island” so after several miles I managed to pull off into an antiques warehouse parking lot and swivel my head quickly to watch him pass by for final visual confirmation. Result: cute, but no Caviezel. Maybe a Marine? Devastated, I continued home.
This past week I took my self on a 48 hour vacation to Orcas Island. Mr. Understanding thought I was having an affair and he was right: I was romancing myself, getting a little R & R in before Moving Hell begins in earnest. I could have stayed in my darling shingled cottage, but the piles of laundry, stacks of papers, and to do lists clamored ceaselessly for my attention. “No,” I thought to myself, “I am getting away.” KLab suggested the aptly named Outlook Inn on Orcas Island. Since it included a ferry ride through the San Juans, I knew that was the place. I got the last room at the inn, which I considered an omen.
The Outlook Inn is situated on a small bay in the small town of Eastsound; a tiny Episcopal church sits across the road on the waterfront. The rooms look as if they’d been decorated after a successful day at garage sales, “haphazard” being the only decorating style evident. But whatever. The sun was out, the air was crisp and clean, and no one needed me. Looking through the guest book of amenities, there was an ad for in-room massages. I’d had a muscle spasm in my scapula wake me up in the middle of the night earlier in the week so I called and ordered one up for the next afternoon.
The next day Rosie came to my room. She also did “readings of past life”. I could find out if I’d been a Native American, a fisherman, or a “singing nun”. As she massaged me she told me she was “sensing stories from Holland”. So after the massage, she sat down across from me and told me a few stories (all in the name of journalistic research). My aura, she said, was pink and gold. I adore those colors so that was good news. I was from royalty (hello? Expat Princess! But how could she have known?). I’d also been a glassblower in a previous life; my children should become boatmakers. When she got to the part about the pervy Russian at the ice cream parlor and how I should call the FBI if he showed up in my life, I began to question her capabilities. However, having been known to call the FBI in the past, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. When she got to the part about Navy frogmen in the Samish Slough, I officially thought she was cuckoo. A small crisis might be headed my way but I will get through it, she said, because I always do (presumably I have lifetimes of crises behind me).
And then she said, “So are you feeling alright? Do you have any health issues?”
“No! I just had a clean bill of health during my physical! The only problem I have is that muscle spasm in my back which you hopefully helped get rid of,” I replied.
Rosie looked skeptical but kept her mouth shut. “Keep in touch,” she said, as she packed up her massage table. “Get some rest, you really need to rest right now.”
Fast forward two days. I am in the 425 area code, larking about with MCV at the Trish McEvoy makeup counter during the Nordstrom sale, lunching out, watching The Proposal. I have to pick the kids up from camp the next day so I am going to spend the night. We have a fine time together. My back is still not feeling great but I soldier on through dinner with Leezer, the two of us a deux discussing Clarence Thomas and other weighty legal matters, two lady lawyers* yakking it up. I go to bed by 10:30. My back is killing me. I fish around MCV’s linen closet and find a blessed heating pad. By 11:30 my back is seriously spasming and I am pawing through the medicine cabinet looking for aspirin like a rabid monkey. How can driving have made my back this bad? By 12:30 I have slouched out of bed to a recliner in the TV room so see if sleeping upright helps. It does a bit and I doze until 3:30 a.m. when I trudge back to the guest room and sleep for a few more hours. The next morning I run outside to my van and find a jar of Advil and take 3. Pain managed, I fetch my children from camp. Everything is under control. I am overjoyed to see my children.
The next night, the spasming continues like a knife relentlessly stabbing me, the pain snaking around to my right boob. There is no relief. The phrase ‘beside myself” springs to mind. I want to cry but resolve to get a shot of cortisone in the trigger point in the morning instead. The pain is crushing my right side in a vice and my ta-tas are like anchors, as if I just had a baby and am waiting for my milk to come in. That spasm must really be radiating, I think. Three Advil takes the edge off and I manage to sleep for a few hours. After communion the next morning, I sneak past my parents and the rest of the parishoners and head to the Doc-In-A-Box. The sermon had been on how our bodies need to rest, to refresh, from the rigors of daily life. Even Jesus told his disciples to take a break. Mentally, I check that off my list – I am just back from a minivacation! It doesn’t apply to me!
In the examining room, I tell Dr. Digman**(his real name; I long to ask about the etymology of his name but in the interests of an expedient shot in tablets is prescription strength, but you don’t take it as often.” Dr. Digman says.
“You don’t happen to have a rash, do you?” he asks.
“No, not that I know of. Feel free to check,” I say.
Dr. Digman lifts my shirt.
“Yes, yes you do have a rash. It extends around to the front.”
“Don’t say it!” I cry out. “You’re going to tell me I have shingles, right?” As they say in Brazil, “a ficha caiu”. Ding, ding, ding! Thing 3’s recent bout surges to the forefront of my brain.
“Can I use an expletive?” I ask.
“Go right ahead.”
“Holy EFF,” I say, actually saying “eff” instead, not wanting to offend Dr. Digman.
“I use that one occasionally too,” he says gently. “So, I am going to give you some drugs to manage the pain – don’t drive after taking them. Stay out of the sun because heat can spread the virus along your nerve lines.” (I’m guessing that heating pad just speedballed that virus right along.) He hands me a sheet all about shingles and exits the room. (For those itching to know about shingles, it is chicken pox redux, the same sneaky virus laying in wait to blossom when one’s immunities are low or one is under extreme stress. Me, under stress?)
Once home, I call my mother and tell her the good news. She offers to take my kids to see the Harry Potter movie. Fantastic. It starts at 3:30. The Things get in the car with the Radish and head off. I call LawBuddy and cancel our rendezvous this week. She enthusiastically endorses popping my prescription pill and wafting off into the ether until I am all better. I hold off, for some reason I cannot explain, since I am a huge proponent of better living through pharmaceuticals, especially those obtained over-the-counter in Latin America. I call my SIL Dr. Skin who tells me I should really be taking another drug, one to hopefully contain the rash with the big ugly blisters coming my way; it might be early enough to prevent the radical spread. She also says that I can blame the Spanish government for making the immigration process so onerous and stressful. Finished talking, I sit in bed and wonder if my mother and I are locked in some cosmic struggle to see who can outdo whom with their maladies every summer. Who is the better nurse? Are we each seeking attention in a very sick way? Who is worse than whom? No sooner do I have this thought than the phone rings. It is Thing 1.
“What are you doing calling me? Aren’t you supposed to be in a movie?” It is now 4:20 p.m.
“Don’t worry. Grandma fell and hit her head. She’s being taken to the ER for sutures and a CT scan.”
“Yeah, she tripped going into the movie theater,” Thing 1 calmly tells me. “But don’t worry, she’s lucid, she answered all the questions correctly from the firemen. They just want to make sure she isn’t bleeding internally because of the blood thinners she takes.” I waited for my fifteen year old to tell me that Grandma’s pupils weren’t dilated as she ticked off the list of concussion indicators. A nice student from the local glassblowing school helped them get to the clinic, which was closed, and then helped find a policeman, she added.
“Poppy is on his way to the ER and Things 2 & 3 are watching the movie.”
“Hang on. I’ll come get you.” (This is why I didn’t take the Percocet.)
It turns out my father has not left his house next door and we ride to town together. The pharmacist tells me the new drug may make me irritable. You think? Wunderbar! The Radish returns a few hours later, bunged up, her forehead glued together, seriously worse for the wear.
Is there a point to this laborious, painful story? I am not sure. I just said I would try and tie up the loose ends. Rosie’s proclamations don’t seem so wackadoo in retrospect: we have a crisis, a glassblower, and the need for rest. Perhaps I was a singing nun in a former life and Jim Caviezel was my confessor? My mother is lobbying hard for me to loosen the reins on the teenagers, especially Thing 1 since she was such a level-headed gem in a crisis. My mother has waited a long time for me to have a teenager and now it isn’t even really satisfying to her to have me be a disciplinarian (and here I gently remind her that, in the scheme of things, I was a pretty fine teenager). Maybe this is the lesson? Or what about the need for rest? Jim Caviezel takes vacations. Is this what I get for taking a blog vacation?
There is only one clear thought I have floating across my now-Percocet filtered brainwaves: I am buying my parents shingles vaccinations for their birthdays. With any luck, it will protect them in their future lives as well.
Quote of the Day: “Honey, get off your cross. Somebody else needs the wood.” Dolly Parton
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BEA LONG WHO TURNED ??? YESTERDAY!
**Dr. Digman’s name is only superceded in entertainment value by that of Dr. Kramp, the anesthesiologist who (partially) attended to me for Thing 1’s birth. Dr. Kramp was a little irritated when I asked him if he minded spelling his name for me after he told me his name twice. “K-R-A-M-P.” Lesson learned there: don’t piss off your anesthesiologist.
*refer to March 2007 archives for title allusion