Saturday, November 28, 2015

Rock Fever

Rock Fever: the hemmed in, claustrophobic feeling you occasionally experience when you live on an island

Here are 10 signs of "Rock Fever." I am not a licensed Psychologist, so please refrain from using this list as a form for diagnosis; however, if you are experiencing any of the following, it may be time to briefly leave the island on which you currently live. It's Ok. Part of the process of loving where you live is being able to identify that occasionally you need to take a break to gain perspective. The following may or may not be based on real life experiences. You decide.

1) You're talking to chickens - specifically, you are criticizing the chickens' parenting habits: "C'mon Hen, are you seriously walking your babies out in the middle of traffic??? Be a better Mom!"

2) When you ask your students about recent trips to Miami, you begin to tingle with excitement as the student speaks of malls and famous food chains: "Ok, Jevonte, we'll start speech therapy in a minute. Tell me about the mall again... Did you see a store called Express in that mall? Tell me... what colours are in for Fall? Did you see scarves? How about tall leather boots? See those?

3) Your entire day revolves around the cruise ship schedule. The cruise ship tourists are preventing you from living your life to the fullest: "Cocktails at Bar Crudo today? Oh, I'd love to but there's actually 5 cruise ships in port. I'd prefer to do cocktails on Monday when there are only 2 ships in port."

4) You deem a meeting a "success" when one out of four people attend and arrives less than 30 minutes late.

5) You create your own offensive Xmas coffee cup and fill it with your crappy packaged vanilla latte so that you can feel closer to Starbucks.

6) You bring a friend to the Pharmacy for back-up when you go to pick up your prescription: "Ok, buddy, I usually lose my cool after the second hour of waiting for my prescription. You got my back?"

7) You don't even blink an eye when your student tells you that he ate Iguana for dinner last night. In fact, you ask what it tastes like (chicken, obviously), and consider adding it to your weekly menu.

8) When someone tags you in a Facebook photo, you carefully examine the picture and wonder who the blonde Jamaican is in the photo. Upon realizing that the blonde Jamaican is actually you, and your tan resembles the colour of the tangerine rum punch in you hand, you vow to spend the next week in the shade.

9) You've become obsessed with a section of the grocery store called "Day Olds." This is a special place where you can occasionally score $8 CI brownies for $2 CI. You celebrate moments like this by texting all your friends about your sweet pick-up and calculating your amazing savings ("That's only 50 cents per brownie! Boom!")

10) When the power goes out for the second night in a row, you lay in your very hot room pondering hairstyles for work that won't require an electronic appliance in the morning and praying for a "power outage day" (that's like a "snow day" in Canada).

The stealthy Cayman chicken: She waits for you to go snorkelling and then steals your chips

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Just walk it off, Derrek, walk it off

I have this awesome friend named *Derrek (*all names have been changed to protect identity of individuals). Derrek is fun. Derrek is kind. Derrek is dependable. Derrek is a really loyal, awesome friend. Derrek is one of my favourite people in the entire world.  Derrek is also an aggressive vacationer.

By aggressive, I mean that Derrek takes all vacationing activities to the next level. He is not content with seeing sharks behind a glass…he wants to swim with the sharks - and touch them. Derrek doesn't want to buy the coconuts from the roadside stands, he wants to climb a tree and get his own coconuts. The beauty of travelling with Derrek is that you will never be bored. Ever. Derrek will entertain you with his shenanigans. There is; however, a downside - Derrek has a tendency to hurt himself whilst aggressively vacationing.

Take for example, the Cozumel blowhole incident of 2010. Derrek saw some blowholes. They interested him. While we all stood back to watch the blowholes from a safe distance, Derrek insisted on putting his face directly on top of the blowhole to get a much better vantage of what was about it to happen. Yelling, "Don't worry, I timed it!" we managed to get the camera out to capture this moment that will forever be a memory of that powerful blowhole.

Cue deviated septum.

We laughed as Derrek complained about the saltwater in his sinuses and his painful nasal passage for the rest of the holiday. We all felt slightly guilty for laughing when we returned home only to discover that Derrek required nose surgery for a deviated septum. Oops. Sorry Derrek!

Typically Derrek brings about his injuries whilst vacationing aggressively. This time; however, we can't really blame Derrek for what occurred. He was vacationing at a fairly calm level. Derrek and his fabulous wife had just arrived from Canada. We hopped on a tiny little plane and flew to Little Cayman for a long weekend of diving.

The dives were beautiful - and "normal," in the sense that no one went any deeper than they were supposed to, we all did a safety stop, and everyone was fine when the boat took us back to our rental house.

A few hours after our dives, Derrek began complaining of vertigo. Vertigo is a common problem for Derrek, so we handed him a Caybrew, told him to jump in the pool, and all would be well.

Derrek just wasn't feeling better. Typically the life of the party, Derrek was lethargic, barely sipping his beer and quietly sunning himself by the pool.

"Hey Kirstie, my arms are kinda numb."

"Um, hmmm. That kinda sounds like the bends, buddy."

We discussed this new symptom and Derrek deduced that there was no way he could have decompression sickness, given the depth that we dived and our safety stop time.

"You know what…I think my circulation is just poor. I'm gonna walk this off."

Famous last words. A word to the wise: If you have the bends, you can't just "walk it off."

Within 4 hours, we were all being emergency airlifted back to Grand Cayman so that Derrek could spend some quality time in the hyperbaric chamber. Poor Derrek was on tons of oxygen, IV in arm, laying on a gurney, feeling his limbs get tinglier by the minute. The rest of us were trying not to freak out, as our little plane was flying 500 ft over the ocean (Given that we had all just dived, we were all at risk of decompression sickness if we flew at a higher altitude. Plus, Derrek could have gotten much sicker).

Thankfully, Derrek only required about 3 hours in a very hot claustrophobic hyperbaric chamber before all the numbness, tingling, and nausea was gone. Within 24 hours, he was in tip top shape again, aggressively attempting to catch sting rays with his bare hands, whilst vacationing aggressively. Haha.

I must say, although our diving trip on Little Cayman was cut short, we all experienced quite the adventure, courtesy of our friend Derrek. We were all just so relieved that it had a happy ending. The dive Doctor explained that there are many factors that can contribute to the acquisition of decompression sickness. Derrek may have simply been dehydrated prior to our early morning dives. He did not, surprisingly, dive aggressively. It could have happened to anyone.

Moral of the story: vacation aggressively at your own risk. Sometimes the bends happens. You can't walk it off.

Love you, Derrek!