Worst. Vacation. Ever. pt. 1

“I hope you have a horrible vacation.”

Those were the last words my boss said to me two years ago before I went on what is now known as The Worst. Vacation. Ever. I posted a tiny summary of this here right after it happened. He was kidding (I think).

Now, two years later, I am finally over the bitterness so that I can tell the full story.

I spent the first day of my vacation trying to unclog the sewer and taking one of the kids to the doctor–during which the sewer backed up more than ever. After wasting my entire morning in an attempt to keep from spending my vacation fun money on a plumber, I still ended up calling the plumber. After another hour and a half he pulled some fist-sized rocks out. They appear to have been dumped down the drain by a small and terrible child.

I thought my chances at camping and floating were shot, but Heather said we still had some money, so the next day I went shopping for supplies. Sunday night I packed the car and made arrangements to pick up my brother Nube. I went to bed feeling great.

I woke up at 5 in the morning not feeling great. My heart was beating like a middle school drummer. Ba-bum. Baaaa-bm. Ba-BUM! Bbbbbbm! Besides that, it felt like my second-hand cat, Her Fat Highness (Fatty for short) was sitting on my chest.

I gave it a few minutes and then woke up Heather. Then I called the nurse hotline, who told me to go to the ER. I gave it another few minutes. Ba-ba-bum! Bum!

Heather loaded me in the car and we headed to the hospital. On the way there I prayed, and was totally at peace with what God wanted for me, whether he healed me or whether I died (though I preferred the former to the latter). Only later would I realize that God was not limited by my two polar options.

At the hospital they checked me in quickly, there not being a lot of business at 5:30 Monday morning. They ran me through the usual battery of needles and very personal questions.

They diagnosed me within maybe a half an hour–I had atrial fibrillation, also known as A-fib. A-fib is when the bottom chambers of the heart are like, “steady as she goes, easy does it,” and the top chambers are like, “LETSDOSPEEDANDSTAYUPALLNIGHTRACINGCARSANDGOINGWHEEEEEEEE!” They tried the most common medication to correct it, but it didn’t help. They didn’t have a cardiologist on staff so they were going to to have to send me to another hospital, so where did I want to go? I told them to send me to St. Mary’s since it was the closest.

They called me an ambulance, which was nice because I hadn’t gotten to ride in an ambulance since my anxiety attack four years before. The doors opened and these two kids got out. They wheeled me out on the gurney, shirtless into the cool November Missouri air. I was cold to be sure, but it’s hard to be mad at a couple of people who are still trying to go through puberty.

At St. Mary’s they put me in a room with some old man who, I would sadly find out, had the world’s most active bladder.

“Did they drive you or did you drive them?” the nurse asked me when she saw the paramedics.

“They asked me to buy ’em beer,” I replied. I don’t know where I summoned the humor.


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