No one knows I'm awake now. If they did, my computer would be confiscated. The twelve-year-old girl in the next bed, is a) a heavy sleeper and b) not a snitch, so unless someone randomly decides to look in on us, I'm safe for at least the next few moments.
Today I went snowboarding in Utah. Snowboarding is a strenuous activity that demands greater muscular or cardiovascular strength than I now possess, thanks to mononucleosis and the resulting removal of my spleen. Both the doctor who removed my spleen and the one who was treating my mononucleosis finally gave me clearance to get onto an airplane and to snowboard. I actually had clearance to snowboard one day earlier than I had clearance to get onto a plane full of people. Planes are overcrowded and germ-infested capsules in which the too many people in them are breathing the same air. I wore a mask, which offered only partial protection, though arguably better than no protection at all. It was the rough equivalent of having protected sex with a person known to be HIV-positive. If you're going to do anything so stupid, you would be even stupider not to avail yourself of what limited protection was available, knowing still that you weren't exactly placing yourself in a danger-free zone. While I have nothing to gain at this point from having sex, protected or otherwise, with someone who is HIV-positive, I do have something to gain from getting on a germ-infested aircraft.
Visualize. The Pacific Coast - the central Pacific California coastline, to be more specific, is where I was. Mountains are there, but not mountains with snow on them. If I were to snowboard, I would need to travel to mountains covered with snow. While there were mountains closer to where I was than the Rocky Mountains, no one closely acquainted with me, or at least no one willing to take me along, was planning a trip there. On the other hand, acquaintances willing to tolerate the inconvenience of toting me along with their luggage were planning a trip to the Rocky Mountains. They didn't plan a car trip. Were I to travel with them, my only option was to climb aboard a germ-infested aircraft. I placed a mask over my mouth and nose, said a couple of quick prayers, and boarded, looking at as few people as possible in the process. i did make eye contact with the flight crew as I boarded, hoping that it would reduce the chances they might think I was a terrorist. It helped just a bit that I was not the only person on the flight wearing a mask. PseudoAunt, too, had a mask on her face. Whenver Pseudoaunt wears a mask, her husband, PseudoUncle, wears one as well just as a display of solidarity. Anyhow, on that flight there were three of us instead of just I loooking like either freaks or terrorists.
Today I snowboarded. I was probably physically capable of succesfully completing one-and-one-half snowboarding runs. The quandary is that snowboarding runs don't come in halves. You either do a complete run or you don't. My policy in snowboarding as well as in life is to always round up to the next highest number. I went on the second run, capable or not. I made it down the run successfully.
There ended the extent of my success. I was virtually immobilized. My legs could not move. My hands could not unclasp my snowboard from my boots. I was standing in a major foot trafic thoroughfare. Other snowboarders and skiers were not pleased at having to walk around me. One guy didn't bother; he just sort of ploughed right over me as though we were playing football, he on the defesive line and I on the offensive line, as though it was his job to disable me in order to get to the quarterback before the ball was released. Had it been a game of football, he would have been given credit for the sack. Since it wasn't a game of football, he gets credit merely for being a complete @$$hole. Depite knowing that he had knocked down another human - one who weighed approximately one-third what he weighed, he did not stop to help me up. He turned and glared at me briefly, but that was the extent of his acknowledgement of the situation.
Perhaps he actually did me a favor, though. Before, people who weren't cursing me walked past as though they didn't notice me. Once I was on the ground, it was more difficult not to notice me, although some still pulled off the feat successfully. Perhaps it's insensitive of me to make such an analogy, but it all reminded me slightly of the little girl who was run over in China, while peope stepped over and around her and walked past her, seemingly oblivious. Was this it? Really, God? Would I die either from hypothermia or from being trampled between the lodge and the bottom of a downhill run at a ski resort in Utah? It seemed incredulous, yet at the same time was seeming eerily likely.
Finally, to my defense came a man with two boys several years younger than I but close in size to me. He saw me on the ground and paused. "Are you hurt?" he asked as he knellt beside me.
"I don't think so," I answered with my near-frozen lips through my ski mask the best I was able to manage.
"I don't want to move you or get you up until we're sure," he stated.
He whistled loudly. Soon an amployee of the resort appeared, followed by another employee who was some sort of first reponder or paramedic. The paramedic guy asked what happened. The guy with the two boys explained about the other guy's defensive lineman maneuver flattening me. The paramedic guy unclasped my boot from the snowboard and asked me if I could move my ankle. I moved it the best I could in its frozen state, apparently satisfying him. "Did you hit your head?' he asked.
"Not very hard if I did," I answered him.
He started asking me all the questions anyone is asked when a head injury is suspected. The answers came to me with ease but were still difficult to articulate through my frozen lips. The paramedic man asked if he could remove my ski mask. I gave my OK, and he carefully removed it from my head. At that point, the man with the two boys recognized me. "I know you," he announced, pulling off his own ski mask.
"You're Will," I answered him.
"You're that little gitl who stays with Scott and Jillian. Alexis, isn't it?'
"Yes," I answered. He was, if my understanding of extended family non-relationships was correct, my PseudoFirstCousin, Once Removed.
The paramedic and another who joined him were confirming before helping me to my feel that I was merely cold and weak, not injured. They checked my neck, back, hips, and legs before concluding that a stretcher would not be needed. When they helped me to my feet, my knees collapsed as they caught me. While they debated the merits of a stretcher, Will lifted me over his shoulder, grabbed my snowboard with one hand, and told the boys with him to bring my poles. He carried me into the lodge, where he spotted my PseudoAunt. "I think I found something that belongs to you.," he called out to her.
PseudoAunt and Mother of the Boy who is a Friend jumped up. "What happened?' they demanded in unison.
Will explained about the defensive lineman who had run directly over me in his attempt to get to the imaginary quarterback.
"Were you OK before then?' PseudoAunt asked.
"Not exactly," I explained. "I couldn't walk and I couldn't unlatch my snowboard. I was standing in traffic and people were getting impatient."
""So the idiot just knocked you down instead of walking around you," concluded the Mother of the Boy who is my Friend.
"Basically," agreed Will.
"So ARE you OK?" PseudoAunt asked.
"I don't think I'm injured," I told her. "I'm just cold and stiff and tired."
An employee moved a leather-covered lounge chair next to the area where Pseudoaunt, Mother of the Friend who is a Boy, and now Will were seated. Will had given the boys with him, his sons, money to get food. They were at the concession counter. The employee motioned for me to sit on the lounge chair.
"May I touch her?" he asked all the adults at the table.
"You're her mother on this trip," PsuedoAunt said to Mother of the Boy who is a Friend.
"Touch her where?" asked Mother of the Boy who is a Friend.
"Arms and legs. Head. Maybe neck and back just a bit," he answered as PseudoAunt explained to Boy's Mother that the man is a physical therapist who moonlights as a massage therpist at the resort.
"Go ahead," she answered him.
The physical therapist moved my arms and legs at their joints, moved my head a bit, and moved my neck.
He commented on my lack of muscle tone. PseudoAunt told him of my recent instance of mono and my splenectomy. He asked if my doctor cleared me for strenuous physical activity. "There's the doctor who operated on her right there," PseudoAunt non-answered, pointing as Dr. Kent, who had removed my spleen, walked toward us. Another employee approached with a blanket, which physical therapist put atop and around me. PseudoAunt and Will explained what happened.
Dr. Kent lifted my shirt and lightly probed the scar area and the spot where my spleen had been while I pretended it was all happening to someone else. "No problems here," he announced. "It's probably about time to gather everyone and head back home." I assumed he meant to the condos. Surely he didn't think we should all go back to California just because a jerk had pretended to be a steamroller, and I had the misfortune to be in his path.
"I just ordered food," W ill told him.
"We could probably eat first, then head back to the condos," Dr. Kent announced. "No sense in wasting perfectly good food." He looked down at me. "You OK with that?"
"Sure," I answered him.
The physical therapist continued to manipulate my arms and legs, allowing me to experience what it is like to be a marionette, as everyone else with me ate the food that PseudoFirstCousinOnceRemoved Will had ordered.
As the food was finished, Will picked me up and lifted me onto PseudoUncle's back for a ride to the car. The snowboards, poles, and snow clothing made it back to the cars. I fell asleep probably before we made it out of the parking lot. I woke up when Mother of the Boy who is my Friend was easing me into a warm jacuzzi tub in the condo. She helped me to shampoo my hair, helped me out of the tub, helped me to dry off, and helped me to get into my pajamas. I slept for about five hours.
Thus ended my resoundingly successful first day of snowboarding for this season. I've been banned from making an appearance tomorrow, but I should be back on the slopes by Monday.