In advance of my surgery — yesterday was GBGB Day, or Goodbye Gall Bladder Day — we paid a two-day visit to the Six Flags Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom Indoor Water Park in Lake George, New York.
Sweet M had been begging to go rollercoaster riding at Six Flags, and I'd promised her we'd go this summer — before I found out that I'd be having my gallbladder out. Since rollercoasters would be a post-operative no-go for me, we had to get the Six Flags trip in pre-op.
The indoor water park was really something to see . . . A thunderous sound of water from a giant attraction of waterslides, spray hoses and bucket showers, and simulated ocean waves for artificial boogie boarding. Quite the sight.
I don't know about you , but when I read about amusement park accidents, I usually find myself wondering "How'd they manage to do that?" But once it happens to you, you find yourself thinking "Just how in god's name did that happen?"
Incredibly, my left big toe got caught in the top of the waterslide, so I was more or less dangling by a toe. When I finally liberated the digit amidst a very un-family-friendly spew of reflexive expletives, I went zooming down the slide, luge-style, with my battered toe leading the way.
The park's first aid EMT was just about to look at my toe when a little boy of about six let out a piercing wail after colliding into another child and knocking out a tooth. Following the rules of triage, I encouraged the EMT to deal with his bleeding younger patient, and hobbled off in search of an icepack.
As my incredulity gave way to bruising, swelling, and limping, and a pretty much spoiled week, I just kept wondering, "How in god's name did that happen?" And to think I had been anxious about going to the hospital — about the impending surgery — when I ought to have been worrying about surviving Six Flags.
But the upside in all of this was that as Sweet M were reclining on the bed in our Lodge room, its Adirondack Camp decor replete with images of brown bears, she and I were musing about bears and mosquitoes.
Do bears eat people? she asked.
If they're hungry enough, I said.
No, they don't, they eat fish and berries, she said.
Yes, they do eat fish and berries, I agreed. Detecting just a bit of anxiety there, I added, And the fish eat mosquitoes and flies, so they won't bite you.
She paused for a moment, and announced, So there you'd have a food chain.
A food chain! She knows what a food chain is!
Yes, that'd be a food chain. Where'd you learn about food chains — at school?
Oh no, I learned it on TV.
I'm begining to think I should stop looking for a new school for Sweet M and just invest in a widescreen television. Some people think television is a damaging plug-in drug. I'm thinking that maybe, as one of my favorite disability writers, Martha Beck says, it's a vitamin.