Our trip begins quietly. An uneventful flight, through which I sleep I and make the nearly impossible odyssey to the toilet. Lisa and I check in to our “handicapped” room which has an accessible shower and two beds as requested….and four stairs leading into the room. The woman at the front desk is in no way nonplussed by this information and I want her to be. Nevertheless she remains……well…..plussed. Our next room has a curb leading into the accessible bathroom. Yes, you read me correctly, a curb. I am at this point apoplectic and the woman is confused at why these things would bother me and utterly unapologetic. Never stay at the Darling Harbor Holiday Inn. They all suck except for Andrew. Our final room has one single bed and they refuse to bring in a rollaway since now they claim we only wanted a single room. What?
Here’s a modest proposal: if you boast the sign with little blue stickman in a wheelchair, don’t put the towels 6 feet off the ground and make doorways wide enough for a wheelchair to pass! Otherwise make a blue sign with a stickman leaning on a cane, or using an ear horn or having a bipolar episode.
The 4 of us propose a scavenger hunt. We need to find a guy named Bruce, a Starbucks, a Latino and a store with the name SHeila in the title. I pick up my Aussue condoms lest I forget (Mom, don't forget my Mexican condoms) and our trip has begun!
That night my fever spikes and I begin vomiting. This continues until we get the hotel doctor to see me. It continues until the ambulance arrives. I am severely dehydrated and in the words of those immortal bards aptly named Foreigner: hot blooded, check it and see, got a fever of a hundred and three. Upshot is I’m in the hospital 3 days. BOO! I’m released with an “against doctor’s orders” note and an order to come in the following day to have my potassium level checked which is almost but not quite low enough to necessitate putting me back on the IV.
Now a word about Syndey doctors. They look like American fireman. Cuter even. I see 5 doctors. 4 are hot enough to hold the big hose, 2 are hot enough to play TV doctors in America and one is cute enough to play an American TV fireman. No wonder my fever wouldn’t go down. Lisa, who worries worst case scenario far more than I do is worried I am in deep health trouble until she sees me flirt with Doctor Mark ( or Maaaak as he calls himself) in between bouts of vomiting. The flirt force is strong in this one. Now Mark is aware that I have MND ( aka ALS – everything is different there) and aware that I’m wheelchair bound so can’t kneel to the porcelain throne. Yet he asks me “Other than the fever, weakness and vomiting, how’s your health?” I give him my most wanton smile and say “Apart from the fatal illness, generally I’m great.” He smiles. It’s so on. Later I find out Mark’s last name is Tybalt – kinsmen to mine sworn enemies, the Capulets. “Oh fair Tybalt, defy thine father and deny thy name. A cute doctor by any other name would smell….so manly, mmmmm – oh oh – time to puke green stuff again.” (That’s my inner monologue).
SO my illness has left me depleted and with about 2 hours worth of sightseeing in me per day. Needless to say I’m in no shape for challenging an Aussie to a drinking game but I have tried Kangaroo and crocodile meat. Kangaroo is tough and chewy and crocodile tastes insincere.
The trip has been hard on all of us in different ways but Mac the most. He told me watching me in the hospital with tubes coming out of me made him wonder if he was glimpsing the future. He and I work so hard to find the silver lining for every cramp, every aspiration, every fall and it’s a never ending task and somehow here, looking out at the glittering turquoise water it’s even harder for him. It's at those times that it hits me -I'm not faking it, I'm not researching a role, this isn't some elaborate plot from the bowels of my imagination. I'm sick, I'm getting worse and I don't want this thing.
But rather than dwell, I work on my AUssie accent, collect words (current faves: dodgy and fuckwit) and look out at the waves.
Tomorrow it’s off to Luna Park ( an old –style amusement park) and then Lisa and Mac will sample some Aussie Improv. More later.