Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I have always hated, loathed and despised bumper cars. For the local folks back home who might remember the place, it all began at Noble Park in Paducah, KY. In the summertimes of my small town youth, it was our Disneyworld. A beautiful park with rides that were open all season. A rickety and undoubtedly dangerous roller coaster called The Wild Mouse, which would leave you with a sore neck, the Merry Mixer, the Octopus, the Parachutes, the Swings that made me so sick once that I threw up behind the merry-go-round, a train that ran around the park, and tons of great junk food like corn dogs and Astro Pops. There was even a water slide adjacent to the park in later years. Good times. Mostly. (Although, I spent one of the worst days of my entire adolescent experience at that water park. But that's another story.)

And then there were the bumper cars. I can still see them, mocking me as I waited in line to ride. I'd try to scope out the one that moved the best...the one that didn't die in the middle or get stuck in a corner. It never worked. I always ended up getting smashed over and over by some smirking, pimply-faced punk who enjoyed my misery waaaay too much. I remember the antenna-like things on the backs of the cars that connected with the ceiling for electricity. Even got burned once by flying sparks. Stupid bumper cars. Yet another scar on my childhood.

It all came rushing back to me last night when I had this moment of "wow." Several of the kids on the floor were out at the same time last night, taking walks around the wing and getting some exercise. Some were walking, some were in wheelchairs...but they all had one thing in common. The antenna-like things that are IV carts. Everybody has one. Some have lots of IV bags, some have only one or two, but everyone is alike with their tagalong hardware. Occasionally, as we crossed paths with one another as we took our walk, it was necessary to move to one side or another, or even make a quick dodge if the patient was little and not a very good "driver."

And then it hit was suddenly a distant version of bumper cars. Sometimes you get stuck, in a doorway that has a bit of a threshold that is hard to get across. Sometimes you get bumped even when you're minding your own personal beeswax. Courtesy is the norm, but there's always that chance of running into someone or getting in someone else's way. I've even witnessed a bit of rudeness in traffic. We have a couple of kids who are just so miserable that they refuse to move, but I can understand that now. At least there's no one grinning and trying to smash us into a corner.

Looks like we are OUTTA HERE tonight! Sahara's hydration cycle ends at 11 pm, and Dr. Wolfe says we can leave any time after that (or we can stay until morning...which do YOU think we chose?). She's taking a short nap now, and in a while I'll throw everything into the duffel bags and be ready whenever they give us the okay to go. At night, the University of Texas security shuttles give rides, so it'll be easy to get back to the RMDH.

She was tired today, but never got sick. Had her radiation treatment at 2, a couple of doctor consults in the room, and that was that for the day.

Can't wait to sleep in a nice, quiet room tonight. No nurses, beeping machines or trying to get her and the IV cart into the bathroom. Oh yeah!

Tomorrow I'll post all of the details I currently have for the benefit on October 15.

Have a great night, all!