The summer I was sixteen, which was last summer, my parents were unsure of the feasibility of a kid-free vacation because I had suffered major injuries and illnesses during the spring. I had a serious compound fracture of my tibia and fibula, in addition to a less-serious fracture of my clavicle, from a hurdling injury, and had developed an infection which had nearly cost me my leg.
A month or so later, my parents had left me in the care of one of my father's sisters and her husband (an MD) because my mom was too sick to care for me and my dad and Aunt Heather, who sometimes fills in as a caregiver, both had to work. To say that the aunt and uncle who were to care for me (at a cost of five hundred dollars for one week of their services) were incompetent care providers would be a gross understatement. They left me more or less unattended in an attic, with diapers from their four-year-old's stash instead of the use of a bathroom and Spaghettios and stale sandwiches masquerading as meals. I already had a kidney infection when I got there, for which I was to receive nightly injections. I didn't receive the injections. Between the lack of injections and the lack of adequate food, care, or even a bathroom, I became much sicker. Then my aunt left the house with something cooking in the oven, which started smoking. I escaped, believing the house was on fire. A neighbor eventually drove by and saw me sitting on the curb in my nighty with smoke pouring out the front door. She called 9-1-1, and the rest is history, as is my relationship with that particular aunt and uncle. It was a close call as to whether my kidneys would recover, but they did.
My parents weren't sure about taking a vacation with a cast still on my leg,
but they eventually decided it would be OK to go to Alaska and that the Pseudos would be able to handle things for three-and-one-half weeks or so.
Right before I went to the Pseudos, I had been with my aunt and cousins to a place called "Cat Haven." While there I had become overheated, and in the process of cooling me, the staff had soaked my cast. I had to have a new cast. Either bacteria from Cat Haven or from the hospital where I got my new cast caused the skin on my leg to become infected. This wasn't as serious as the bone infection, but it did required me to go to the hospital in Utah.
When I got out of the hospital, I was weak, and Pseudo-Aunt was impatient because I could not do everything that I could do before. She was complaining about how little money they had as well, so I was afraid of eating very much. This caused me to feel weak and sick all the time. If we went somewhere, I would get weak while using my crutches, and Pseudo-Aunt would roll her eyes or sigh loudly. This made me feel worse. It felt almost as bad as the car ride from the airport to the apartment with Pseudo-Uncle, except it went on for about a week. Eventually Pseudo-Aunt and Uncle realized there was a problem and tried hard to make me feel more comfortable. They became almost like my parents. When I'm with them now, I still miss my mom and dad, but whem I'm with my mom and dad, I miss them.
They came to visit me several times, both at home and at my facility, since I was last at their apartment. I'm going back to visit them tomorrow. They have a new apartment, which supposedly isn't quite as ghetto as the last place. I'll believe that when I actually see the apartment and observe for myself that I can't hear the breathing of the next-door neighbors on either side. I'm curious to see if the furniture has been upgraded as well.
I don't really like Utah. When I'm there, I'm too likely to run into relatives on my dad's side, all of whom consider we either the incubus or the succubus. (I don't know the difference between the two terms, and it hasn't occurred to me to look th words up until now. as soon as I finish this, I'll look them up.) I do like being with my Pseudo-Aunt and Uncle. When they move to California and I can visit them there, I will be in heaven.