Susan and Sophie drove off to pick up carryout. Look at us gamely gutting through our vacation. Resilience. I read a blog post comparing it to a coat hanger. When a coat hanger gets bent out of shape, you can bend it back, Heck, you can untwist it, fish your keys out of a locked car, and later, reshape it to hang up your shirt. It keeps plugging along, functional, worse for wear, sure, but still a coat hanger. It just looks like shite.
Delete coat hanger, insert vacation.
A couple of hours ago, we returned from Eli’s second trip to the emergency room in five days. Vacationing in Bethel, Maine he crashed his bike, fractured his pelvis. Today, now in Bar Harbor, he was simply ill. Eli’s stomach hurt since his accident. We blamed the opiates. Those things make me feel like crap. Upset stomach, uncontrolled sweating, shaking. After my appendectomy, they wrote me a script. No thanks, I said. I stuck with Tylenol. No wonder Eli felt so bad.
He stopped taking the opiates on Sunday. Susan and I stressed him out: “You took ANOTHER oxycodone?” But his stomach didn’t improve. Last night, Monday night, he started sinking. Long intervals in the bathroom. Increasing irritability. His stomach degenerated. He looked a little green.
Yesterday, we started the day on an upbeat note. We bought him a wheelchair so he could still enjoy vacationing with us. You can only gimp along on crutches so far. At the Wild Gardens of Acadia, we took turns pushing him along the narrow boardwalk of the mile-long nature trail. His initial apprehension gave way to the absurdity of the situation. We spent the whole time laughing.
After dinner, as we prepared to head out to watch the sunset from the top of Cadillac Mountain, it started. He needed convincing to come along. By this morning, he was vomiting.
I don’t know if all parents experience this feeling or if it’s just me because I make bad decisions: When Eli fractured his pelvis, my first thought was “I guess we’re going home early.” But then we didn’t. We just kept on vacationing, less active than planned, but we never slowed down. At times Eli struggled, but he soldiered on. Susan and I never suggested we should bail. We assumed we would continue, so we did. This morning, I began to wonder if we pushed him too hard. I wondered if it was just the fracture, or did something else happen to him in the crash that’s just showing up?
I called urgent care in the next town. I gave them the rundown: Bike crash, opiates, nausea, concerned about additional internal injuries… Can we come by?
“I’m sorry, sir, the doctor said you can’t come here.” I sat in silence waiting for an explanation. “I’m sorry sir.” She hung up.
Back to the E.R. As Eli laid in bed awaiting results from the blood test looking for a related infection or markers of internal bleeding, Eli said “I think I’m about done with vacation.”
The lab work showed nothing. “It’s just gastrointestinal. Maybe he picked something up at the hospital, but more likely, he ate something bad.” So Eli’s diagnosis: Unlucky.
Sophie and Susan should be back any second. A lobster roll for me, a fried fish sandwich for Susan, fried chicken for Sophie. Eli had pasta, pan-fried with butter, not yet well enough to eat bar food. He’s tough, but tired. Eli’s the coat hanger, mangled, bent somewhat into a shape resembling his old self, but clearly worse for wear. Possibly it’s time to head back home and rest.