Maybe for vacation we should book a hospital room | HumorOutcasts

Maybe for vacation we should book a hospital room

September 1, 2018

Right after Labor Day we’ll be on “vacation”. The quotes are because our vacations in recent years have been of the kind people need a vacation to recover from. I do wish I could go on a vacation to somewhere like the Philippines, I heard it’s a great place to visit and there are companies like 2GO Travel booking that might be helpful when trying to travel around the islands.

My wife or I–or both–have been either sick or injured on every single vacation we’ve taken, since the moment we met. Two years ago she was sick on vacation when a guy hit our car head on, leading to both of us being injured. In a variant of that, five years ago we were happily vacationing at a state park along the Mississippi River when we found out my father had been rushed to the hospital with cancer. (He’s fine now, by the way.)

So I’m not expecting much.

In the run-up to this upcoming vacation my mother was hospitalized, and we got bad medical news about two other relatives, which I can’t help thinking was a shot off our bow–a little warning that maybe we should just build a panic room and stay in it for two weeks. But no, we usually go for it; and Emily and I are fond of camping, hiking, and traveling to places where we can camp and hike. The question of what could possibly go wrong easily answers itself.

We also like to climb, as you can see from this photo of Emily at Prophet Rock, in west-central Indiana.

That answer may have come early this year. Maybe it was the hospital chairs, which were about as comfortable as the iron throne made of swords on Game of Thrones. Maybe it’s because I’ve been wearing a knee brace, which could have caused me to lean more heavily on other muscles. Whatever the case, this week I’ve had the worst back pain since I pulled a lower back muscle three years ago–while on vacation.

It’s in my middle back, in the area where I first hurt myself way back in 1983 at a business fire in downtown Albion. We wore heavy steel breathing air tanks back then, and I wore one for way too long, and you know the rest. (No, I wasn’t on vacation at the time.) Instead of the dull ache I experience almost all the time, this was a sharp pain that refuses to be ignored, kind of like the American election cycle. It hurt so bad that for a few days I couldn’t even make fun of things.

I could still read. Let’s not get silly. (Oh, and about the end of the third Game of Thrones book: What The Living Heck?!?!)

So now I face going into vacation with back pain (oh, and knee pain), which might cut into my hiking time. I know what you’re going to say: “Just relax, sit around the campfire with a good book and some music, have a beer … you know, relax”.

I hate beer. More to the point, according to Emily, I suck at relaxing. At the moment I’m thinking road trip, since I can still drive, and there’s a lot of road we haven’t seen.

On any road trip, there are certain roads you should avoid.

There is that fourth Game of Thrones book to read … but man, those gargantuan kill-fests aren’t so relaxing. Just the same, Emily and I do want to get away for awhile, kind of an escape from reality thing.

At least, until one of us gets sick.

“Nobody asked if *I* liked to climb.”


Mark R Hunter

Mark R Hunter is the author of three romantic comedies: Radio Red, Storm Chaser, and its sequel, The Notorious Ian Grant, as well as a related story collection, Storm Chaser Shorts. He also wrote a young adult adventure, The No-Campfire Girls, and a humor collection, Slightly Off the Mark. In addition, he collaborated with his wife, Emily, on the history books Images of America: Albion and Noble County, Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or So With The Albion Fire Department, and Hoosier Hysterical. Mark’s work also appeared in the anthologies My Funny Valentine and Strange Portals: Ink Slingers’ Fantasy/Horror Anthology. For two decades Mark R Hunter has been an emergency dispatcher for the Noble County Sheriff Department. He’s served over 32 years as a volunteer for the Albion Fire Department, holding such positions as safety officer, training officer, secretary, and public information officer. He also has done public relations writing for the Noble County Relay For Life, among other organizations, and served two terms on the Albion Town Council. When asked if he has any free time, he laughs hysterically. Mark lives in Albion, Indiana, with his wife and editor Emily, a cowardly ball python named Lucius, and a loving, scary dog named Beowulf. He has two daughters and twin grandsons, and so naturally is considering writing a children’s book.

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4 Responses to Maybe for vacation we should book a hospital room

  1. September 5, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Love reading your columns, Mark. But am I endangering myself?

    • September 7, 2018 at 10:17 am

      Oh, I wouldn’t worry; so far no danger has been proven from second-hand me.

  2. Jim Nolan
    September 1, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Great piece, Mark, I really enjoyed it. I hope you and your wife will manage to have a trouble-free time for once. It could be worse. You could be a character in “Game of Thrones.”

    • September 3, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      Well, maybe I’d get a chapter with my name on it before someone lopped my head off!

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