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“I can’t go?”
“You’re too young for Vegas, maybe next year. Sorry son”
The Sunday before Thanksgiving 2009 was the year my mother and step father went to Las Vegas and left me with my father and three dogs.
“I guess that’s alright, but who will watch the dogs when I have to stay with dad in Manchester?”
“You! You and your father can stay here to walk the dogs and feed them.”
What a change that was; staying with my father at my mothers house for a whole week. I just knew it would be a disaster.
My mother is very strict, I used to have to eat a salad everyday and be in bed by nine. My father on the other hand was almost the complete opposite (which could be a reason they got divorced). I could eat anything I wanted and when I was tired I could go to bed. Now that I was going to be with my dad for a whole week it was like getting a break from my mom that I saw five out of the seven days a week.
On Monday my dad and I went to the grocery store and he bought 1% milk, chocolate chip ice cream, barbeque chips, Kraft macaroni and cheese, roast beef and pistachios. This was pretty much the food that was in my father’s refrigerator all the time. Throughout most of the week not much happened, on Tuesday I went to school and came home to my father passed out on the couch in a food coma. On Wednesday my dad and I took my dogs out for a walk. This was hard for us to do considering I have three dogs, a Rottweiler, a standard poodle and a cokapoo, that is a blend between a poodle and a cocker spaniel. We had a plan though, I took the rambunctious poodle and he took the big old Rottweiler and the little cokapoo. Thanksgiving Day was when my dad’s horrible stomach pains started. The day started off normal, well sitting on the couch all day playing fetch with my dog until my father’s stomach was hurting around 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
It got to the point where he was curled up on my mothers bed in the fetal position. I was twelve at the time and I didn’t have much experience with any of this. My dad told me “go call an ambulance” that seemed like all he could say at the time.
I was really scared because I’ve never seen my dad been in this much pain or had to dial 911 on a phone before, I felt like my stomach was turning upside down. Almost immediately after I pressed the three scariest buttons on a phone a woman answered and asked me, like they all do “911 what is your emergency?”
I told her “my father is having pains in his stomach and it’s causing him hurt.” I was surprised that came out as good as it did. She then proceeded to ask me “where in his stomach it was hurting?”
I ran to him to ask and he said “I have sharp pains in pelvic region.” and I repeated his phrasing almost perfectly. After she was certain this was real she asked what my address was and a call back number. As clearly as I could I stated “71 Shirley park Ave. Manchester New Hampshire and the call back number is six-O-three, five-three-eight, thirteen thirty… umm one-three-three-one.” She then instructed me “turn on your porch lights so the ambulance can confirm the house.”
It took about three minutes before I could hear that siren plow down the street. Before I knew it I was in the passenger seat of the ambulance on my way to the hospital.
My dad was rushed in to a room and I was left waiting outside his room. The nurse said I could go see him but didn’t think I had the stomach to see him like that, so I told her to tell him that I just couldn’t. A couple of the nurses probably feeling bad for me let me into their lounge when I got some turkey dinner, it was Thanksgiving and all. The nurses could tell that I wasn’t in the mood to talk, so we just sat there. All I could hear besides the crunching of the bread in my mouth was the rush of the hospital and the occasional ambulance every couple of minutes. After I was finished my last slice of cheap turkey the nurses said I was free to their refrigerator in the lounge but said “no thank you”, remembering the manners my mother taught me and I went back to my father’s room. This was the moment that I wanted to see my father and swiftly went in. His face was very pale and couldn’t say much. He told me that “it is going to be okay and before we know it we will be back home walking your dogs again.”
Suddenly my father told me to get a trashcan; he was feeling like he was going to throw up the orange juice a nurse gave him earlier. One thing you should know about me is I hate vomit, in monster movies I cover my eyes when the main character vomits from seeing a mangled body, not when they show the body being mangled by the monster. It doesn’t even make me vomit I just can’t look at it happening, it’s like some kind of phobia. As fast as I could I grabbed the trash can beside me and shoved it close to my father’s bed told him I was sorry and in the blink of an eye I was back out of the room telling a nurse that my father needs some help.
Moments later the nurse came out and said it’s over. I was happy to see my dad smiling at me. He then proceeded to tell me “that was very brave of you. Humph, a little bit better after that.” After another two hours of waiting my father was ready to go home, still having cramps but able to walk and be released from the hospital.
We ended up getting a ride back to my mom’s house and going to bed at midnight. The next morning my dad still wasn’t feeling 100% and slept in till twelve. Once he got up he informed me he was too sore to cook anything for lunch and that I could just finish the pistachios he started Wednesday or something. I declined and decided to make both of us some Mac and cheese, which was probably the only thing I was able to make by myself and not mess up. We both ate slowly and silently. To break the silence of our chewing he told me “thank you for everything this week.”
On Sunday my parents came back and my dad was feeling fine by then. I tried to tell my mom about what happened and she didn’t seem to believe me. Probably because I have a habit of making up stories to get attention, till my dad told her it was all-true and she was thankful everyone was okay. About two weeks later I was watching the news and a report came on about salmonella contaminated pistachios that were being sold in New Hampshire throughout the month.