Thursday, November 04, 2010

at the circus

On Halloween we decided to go to the circus, which was holding its last performance in our area. Or, I should say, my mother and daughter decided to go. I wanted to stay in and laze around, or at most, go do some grocery shopping. I'm not very ambitious on a Sunday. But I was feeling a tad guilty because I knew we wouldn't be trick-or-treating later, and I wanted everyone to have a good time, so I acquiesced.

At the circus

And we did have a good time. For the first half of the show. And then I looked over at my mom and I knew something was up. She wasn't looking at me or answering my questions. It was getting scarier by the moment. I knew exactly what was up, as the tent had been wickedly hot. The same thing had happened with her once before at an outdoor event a year or so ago. She was going to faint from heatstroke any moment if I didn't do something fast. I tried to get her to sip through the straw of her lemonade but that wasn't working. Luckily a nice lady behind us saw immediately what was up and asked her companion to go for help. By the time they got there I had got some ice on her wrists and neck and got the lid off the cup and forced some lemonade down her. It was like a light going on. She responded immediately. She was back, just as the circus security guys arrived. They helped her down the bleachers and plopped her in front of a large fan—probably the only one in the entire tent—and got her an ice pack. As we were climbing down the bleachers behind them my daughter asked me if she could get a pony ride—you've got to be kidding. Kids are amazing.

She didn't want to go to the ER, and after watching her for a moment I didn't think she needed to, so they lowered a barricade so that I could drive my car right up to the tent. As I was threading my way through the field where we parked, finally managing to get the car to the side of the tent, like a scene from some crazy movie, a tiny man appeared at my car window, banging on it and yelling, "No, NO!" I just shook my head at him and kept driving while someone else called him off. There were apologies all around and free passes to future shows, but I don't think we'll be going back anytime soon.

At the circus

We seemed to have dodged once again, a mini-bullet, but what a horrible mini-movie it was of what's to come. Sorry for all the minis, but I can't get the image of that security guard pounding on my car window out of my head. We moved to Florida expressly for this purpose—to be close to my mom, whose health and ability to care for herself is failing. It's not that an incident like this should or does shock me (even though it shakes me to the core). I guess I just wasn't ready—for the intensity, the speed of it. And it feels like some bad cosmic joke—what, I can't even take them to the circus? As if I needed any proof that clowns spell e-v-i-l.

She bounced back, but I think she was thrown too. She doesn't really remember anything specific about how it happened, how bad she must have felt, but how could she? She was about to pass out. I am trying not to kick myself for not "knowing better." I can't stop the inevitable decline, as much as I might like. But I can try to prevent any future episodes of this nature. I can try.
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