Monday, December 13, 2010

In Progress - Part 4: Cruel Summer

I'm watching Eric unload the car, humping tents and poles and coolers stuffed with food. Kieran is helping in that non-committal way teenagers do - a pillow here, a pop bottle there, dragging his body from the car to the picnic table.

It's our annual, end-of-school-hop-on-the-ferry-drive-to-the-interior camping trip and we've just arrived at Paul Lake Provincial Park. The campground is full - it is Canada Day after all - and we are perched at the end of what is essentially a parking lot. A parking lot with spectacular views of the lake and a cool shower close by. It is hot and dusty and my teenager is moaning. I want to jump in the lake so desperately.

But there are chores to do - setting up camp and all that implies: assembling tent poles, inflating mattresses, organizing food and drink and camp chairs and camp stoves. I am not doing a damn thing. I am standing, sitting, pacing. I am about as useful as a turnip.

The day before we left the island, I saw John, my cast man at the orthopaedic clinic. He was casting me for the third time in 6 months, but this time it was my right arm.

A month previous, in my desperate search for a surgeon, I had paid $500 for a surgical consultation at a private clinic in Vancouver. This new surgeon examined me and proposed the exact procedure I didn't need at a cost of about $8000. He did, however, cut off the 4 1/2-month-old cast that encased my left arm. I had been anxious to have it removed, something no one would do without a surgeon's requisition. I didn't have a surgeon, yadda yadda...there is a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear I guess that was worth the $500.

Anyway, John was acting on orders from Dr.G. and was prepping his materials when I asked for a light summer colour in fibreglass. Sorry, but we're all out of gortex right now, I can only do a plaster cast, John shouts from the computer. Turns out, there is no gortex in any of the hospitals on the southern part of the island. Will take about 2 weeks, John tells me. When did I start living on Gilligan's Island? It's the beginning of summer and I'm about to leave for the lake for a week. Me and my old-school plaster cast. I can't quite believe it.

So here I am, Mrs. Turnip, with a left arm so weak I can't trust it with a cup of coffee and a right arm weighted down in layers of plaster, dreaming about swimming in the lake and helplessly watching my husband do virtually everything.

As the week passes, we settle into a routine of early morning walks, midday swimming, and afternoon excursions. The same families seem to gather at the lake shore by mid-morning and there is an easy rapport amongst us all. I've wrapped my plaster in a plastic grocery bag, securing it with elastic bands. I splash a little at the water's edge when the heat becomes unbearable.

One of the dads around that week, middle-aged with a bit of paunch and goofy look, makes a new wisecrack about my cast every morning. What does the other guy look like? Time to stop skateboarding, hey! It makes me crazy. I see him lumbering towards me with a floating duck ring under his arm. He's smiling and about to greet me with something spectacularly unfunny about my cast. I sigh.

It's going to be a long,
Cruel Summer:
Bananarama - Cruel Summer .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

No comments: