Sunday, January 16, 2011
I May Have Left A Lung On the Mountain
I've been to the mountain and back and all future vacations will be at sea level where oxygen is plentiful and nothing more then shorts and a t-shirt are needed. I had grandiose plans of taking the family to the Rocky Mountains for a little fun in the snow. In hindsight, I realize now that bouncing back from bronchitis doesn't necessarily mean you are ready to don 50 extra pounds of clothes and trek up a mountain with three children in tow, all of whom need assistance getting their own snow gear on. I believe I was approaching a near death experience as I sat on the bumper of the jeep in the extreme cold of the public parking lot trying to shove my son's foot into a boot that looked like he could walk through swamps or pools of nuclear waste. These were the biggest, heaviest boots I've ever seen and I had to wonder why he selected these. They warded off cold and water and probably cute girls, too. As I gasped for oxygen and forced children into clothing that didn't fit, I had to wonder where the fun was. Something told me it was on the slopes and I just had to hang on.
As my blood thinned and oxygen levels depleted, I attached lift tickets to everyone's jackets and soon we were headed up the mountain for a little tubing. Now, my idea of tubing was nothing like what waited for us. I envisioned gently skirting down a hill in white powdery fluff, laughing all the way. What I paid $150 for was an over-inflated tube of air and four icy runs that we go careening down after my daughter screams "Spin Us" to the attendant at the top of the hill. Certain all oxygenated blood had now left my body, I spun upward into the bank of the run only to come shooting down backwards at speeds surely prohibited by OSHA and any safety conscious ski-patrol.
As my daughter mapped out new and exciting ways to come down the mountain (backwards, upside down.... connected in a chain of death) my son made two runs and excused himself to the warmth and comfort of the lodge. Had there been little oxygen masks in there like they had on the plane, I would have joined him, but instead stayed with my daughter to make a few more runs down the mountain while I denied the obvious signs of sudden onset heart disease or decompression sickness from the lung that I was certain collapsed from the last time I flew upside down around the bend of the tubing run. On our last run, we had five people in a chain and I was in the lead position. It didn't take long before the tail of our chain came swinging past me telling me I was about to be whipped down the slope in a violent shift of energy. That's about the time you could hear my daughter yelling, "Wheeeee........" We landed in a pile of giggles at the base of the run where we gathered our tubes and my collapsed lung and headed to the lodge to join my son who already wore the look of exhaustion and winter fun.