Monday night we had three extras at our house for dinner. Daughter-in-law Anita, recently moved out son David, and family friend Aliah. I am calling Aliah a family friend, but in reality she has been hanging around with us for so many years she is really more like family, which is probably a good thing given all that transpired.
Our pre-dinner appetizer came courtesy of Alexandra. For some time I have been trying to convince her to start taking fish oil supplements. Last week she finally got as far as opening the bottle of the brand I use, took one look, and said there was no way she could swallow something that big. Fair enough. Her GI disease causes swallowing issues so it is not simply a case of "mind over matter." I went to the local health food store and bought smaller pills.
About an hour before dinner I pointed out the new pills to Alexandra. She begrudgingly removed one from the bottle and went to the fridge to get some water. She popped the pill in her mouth and within seconds was retching and running towards the kitchen sink. As I ran towards her I happened to glance over at Aliah and Anita. There are no words to describe the looks of horror on their faces so I won't even try.
Having something stuck in the esophagus can quickly morph into a medical emergency (ask me how I know) and to be honest I was scared. I hadn't seen this happen for a long time and had hoped to never see it again. Alexandra was retching into the sink which had dirty dishes from dinner prep sitting in it that were about to become a whole lot less clean than they had been just moments before. I was very close to calling 911 but when I asked her if she needed help she indicated she was going to be okay. What that really meant was she could still breathe even though the pill was stuck. Whew. That meant this mom could start breathing again too. I'm not sure about Aliah and Anita though. They looked like they might pass out. I would say this was not the appetizer they were expecting from my "in training to be a chef" daughter.
Dinner itself was uneventful. In our house uneventful is always good news. Unfortunately this status was short-lived. David had brought clean clothes with him so he could shower between work and the poker tournament he was playing in later that evening. As he lifted the clothes out of his gym bag there was that horrible, instantly recognizable sound of shattering glass. I ran over to where he was standing and saw glass shards scattered across the tile floor, along with a liquid that was running down the wall and puddled on the floor at my son's
My first thought was that he had a bottle of liquor stashed in his bag. Oh that we could have been so lucky. It only took a couple of seconds for the truth to be made clear. It was his after shave. I might not have had words to describe the looks on Anita and Aliah's faces during the before dinner incident, but I have no shortage of words to describe this stuff. Stinky, vile, noxious, repulsive are the first that come to mind. After David cleaned up the mess and headed to the shower we opened the sliding door to the deck to try and get rid of the stench. Forty five frozen minutes later we shut the door, realizing that our core body temperature was the only thing being reduced.
After David got out of the shower we sat around in a scent-induced haze and visited for awhile longer. Somehow the topic of David's hepatitis B came up. (He was infected in Thailand before we adopted him. The short story is do not get dental work done in Thailand.) He was asking me some medical questions about being a hep B carrier that I couldn't answer. Just so you know, they weren't extremely personal questions. They were of a more general nature. I finally suggested he phone the sexually transmitted disease hotline and ask them. Here is the part that still leaves me shaking my head. His response was to ask me if I could do it for him. Seriously. My 22 year old son was asking me, his mom, to phone the sexually transmitted disease hotline for him.
Then as Aliah and David got up to leave I asked David if he was 100% sure he had picked up all the glass shards. He looked me in the eye and said, "Yes mom. I even swept over the area with my real foot just to be sure." (For those of you who don't know David personally, he is an amputee and wears a prosthetic leg.) This was the saturation point for poor Aliah. She totally lost it. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen her laugh so hard! As she was walking out the door she was still laughing, saying what a great evening it had been and how much she loves spending time with our family. Go figure.
And just in case you think we Hammonds confine our unique experiences to within the four walls of this house, I encourage you to go read Rebekah's blog post from February 10.