Thursday, November 28, 2013

Off the Beaten Path

While we were at the beach in Florida, we could only take so much sun, sand, and surf without burning and blistering our pale skin.  So we scanned the tour guides looking for adventures off the beaten path.  Something different to do so that we could say, “Remember that vacation to Florida when we …….”  Charles picked out one activity and I got to choose another. 
Ever since I first saw one, I’ve wanted to try a Segway—the personal electric balancing transportation machine you ride standing up.  I was nervous when I called to inquire about the price and how much skill would be required to take the Segway tour.  I knew I could no longer balance on a bicycle, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by falling off a Segway.  I said, “I am a senior adult and I’m not sure I can do this.”  The voice on the other end was encouraging, “My best customers are senior adults.  I will train you until you are comfortable.”
It was a slow tourist day in Clearwater Beach and Charles and I were the only two who showed up for the Segway tour. Our tour guide, Fred, worked with us in the parking lot until we got the hang of the machine. A real no brainer- lean forward, machine moves forward, lean backward, machine stops-lean to the left and lean to the right whenever a turn is required. Our seven mile tour on an absolutely gorgeous Florida day was a thrill. We rode past the beach and onto the causeway built for non-motorized transportation over the high bridge overlooking the beautiful bay.  The bottle sharks and dolphins frolicked in the water while we watched from the bridge.  The egrets and pelicans dove into the water for their mid-day meal. We rode down the bridge and toured the historic section of Clearwater Beach seeing the100 year-old mansions that were the winter homes for wealthy industrialists from the northern states.  Riding a Segway is the best way to tour a new place, and I won’t hesitate to do it again. 
Charles’ describes his ride in the Sky Surfing Flying Tricycle. “I have piloted or flown in almost all types of aircraft except the Flying Tricycle, and I really enjoyed the ride with Dane in the Sky Surfer. Being an aerodynamics engineer I had to think at least twice before going. However, the "Sky Surfing" Flying Tricycle appealed to me because it has a well proven Delta Wing. I spent an enjoyable hour during the scenic tour of Clearwater Beach and the nearby islands.”
These two late bloomers won’t forget our Florida adventures any time soon and look forward to our next opportunity to cross something off our “bucket list.”  Zip-line here we come.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Rhinestone Hospital

Our Florida beach vacation was just what the doctored ordered.  Rest, relax, eat out, and leave all our cares back home. We spent four glorious days in Clearwater Beach with a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico from our hotel. The weather was perfect and the Gulf crystal clear with very little surf. It was overcast and cooler on Friday morning as we packed up for the drive home.  Valdosta, GA was our destination to spend the night to break up the long drive.
About the time we got to Valdosta, I started getting the chills and shaking so hard it was impossible to get warm.  Charles heated up bath towels in the room microwave and wrapped me up like a mummy. With Tylenol and lots of prayer I made it through the long night and the miserable drive back to Acworth. 
I had no idea what was wrong with me or why my fever was almost 104 degrees, until my right leg started to swell, burn, and turn bright red.  At the Kennestone Hospital emergency room, it was soon determined that I had cellulitis caused by a bacterial infection which left untreated could prove to be deadly. I was admitted to the hospital so that treatment with high-powered IV antibiotics could begin.  The memories of sun, sand, and surf quickly faded only to be replaced by needles, nurses, and no-sleep. 
Watching TV and checking my email on my Smartphone was my main form of entertainment while I was confined to my hospital bed. Early one morning, I received an email from a friend who asked me to critique a story she wanted to submit.  I managed to reply (not easy with hands hooked up to IV tubing) that I was in Kennestone Hospital being treated for Cellulitis. The Android operating system for my phone did not like my reply one bit and decided to fix my ignorant statement with its auto-correct feature.  In its infinite wisdom, Android replied to my friend, “I’m in Rhinestone Hospital being treated for Cellulite.”
Once I realized what happened, I started laughing and couldn’t quit. It was 5 AM and I’m in my room laughing my head off. If a nurse had shown up, she would have called the men in white coats for sure. In my mind I was off to an exotic and expensive fat farm, eating rabbit food, and undergoing liposuction treatments for my dimpled, lumpy skin. If laughter is good medicine, then I improved my chances of recovery every time I thought about it. 
Reality soon hit with the shift change and the fresh deluge of nurses, aides, and doctors and the overhead bright lights so that everybody could check my progress. I recalled one of the lines Glenn Campbell sang from his hit song, The Rhinestone Cowboy. “But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me.”
After my two weeks in the spotlight, I am almost recovered and according to my scales, still carrying around way too much cellulite.