‘I’ve got two tickets to paradise…”
I wonder if the late Eddie Money actually made it to paradise.
I did, and it was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful.
Aquamarine lagoons and verdant jungles. Multi-coloured sunsets and endless sky.
Calm blue waters, which paired well with the Grey Goose vodka on the rocks with three slices of lime.
But even a well-planned holiday can go awry, as I soon discovered. Trouble in paradise or ‘First-World’ problems, as my younger daughter would say.
It started with a nagging, dry cough which wouldn’t go away so I visited the doctor and asked her for some cough medicine.
A simple request I thought but after a half-hour consultation, she said in her thick European accent, “You don’t need antibiotics.” To which I agreed.
Still awaiting the liquid panacea, the doctor exclaimed, “You use Botox on your face, yah?”
“No,” I assured her. “Never.”
“Fillers then!” she replied.
“Absolutely not!” I stressed.
“I don’t belief (sic) you!” was her retort.
Then she handed me her bill…sticker shock!
Within two days, I felt fabulous and off I went swimming and snorkeling with the sharks in one of the turquoise lagoons. Floating like a porpoise in the salty sea although I looked more like a beached whale, I am sure.
Pleasantly sated, I returned to my cabin to discover my gold turtle bracelet was missing.
After the initial shock, I adopted a Buddhist mantra of “let it go,” as nothing in this life is permanent.
More Grey Goose assuaged my sorrow.
More swimming and sunbathing and sharing a laugh with new-found friends. I then switched to Cosmopolitans before dinner.
Within an hour, I was vomiting all over my deck. I begged my partner to kill me as I was dying already.
“Sunstroke,” he insisted. “And perhaps the alcohol didn’t help.”
The next day, I felt right as rain and went for a hike on an exotic atoll, making sure to wear my supportive, sensible hiking shoes.
I usually am able to multi-task, as in walk and talk at the same time, but suddenly both ankles went sideways and I fell on the rocks. Gracefully, I might add.
No serious damage done. Just sore feet and a bruised ego.
And as our adventures in paradise drew to a close, we spent our last few days in an over-water bungalow where the water was clear enough to see tropical fish and lemon sharks.
And every day, I was visited by a friendly turtle who assured me my turtle bracelet was reunited with its ancestors at the bottom of the ocean. I was reassured by his daily visits and felt at peace.
But obviously, not completely, as I bought another bracelet with two pearls instead of one turtle. A fair exchange, I am thinking.
So much for my brief dalliance with Buddhist enlightenment.
Time for one last snorkel.
As my beloved climbed down the ladder, his foot slipped and got entangled in the rung before he fell face first in the deep blue sea.
Blood and gore on his leg.
I immediately played the role of the attentive girlfriend and administered antibiotic spray and bandages. Followed by a healthy dose of Scotch for my disheartened patient.
As an epilogue to this traumatic incident, upon our return, said patient presented himself to Surrey Hospital emergency department and was told he had a raging infection.
So much for my tender loving care.
Safely home, our troubles in paradise were just a blip on the radar. It was worth it.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and see you in 2020!
April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.