air mattresses and car accidents…purveyors of pain

“Sleeping on an air mattress for 2 weeks is highly inadvisable!” should be required language on the carton…and not in small print…for seniors like myself who need 3D, neon-colored, flashing letters.

Since my husband was headed on a business trip for a couple of weeks I opted to spend the time with my daughter. Thankfully, the plane ride was much shorter than the one to Europe earlier in the Fall. My body arrived at its destination in one piece, instead of a jumble of puzzle pieces as was its fate after 13 hours or so of flying time before boarding the Queen Mary II.

An air matress for use as a guest bed.

Image via Wikipedia

Rather than acquiesce to displacing my daughter from her bed, especially since she was in rehearsal mode for an upcoming performance, I decided to tough it out on her air mattress. It’s a very good, top-of-the-line model, but back support isn’t a feature for which it’s noted. I learned the hard way when the day before I was to fly home, my lower right back felt as though a knife was embedded deep within.

Getting up and down stairs was painful, as was lowering myself into a chair. So I sat through 2 1/2 hours of a ballet without a break, since I didn’t want to trek back up the stairs until it was time to leave. Not until we were back in my daughter’s apartment did I find respite from the pain by applying a heating pad to my lower back. Rather than catching 40 winks on the air mattress my last night there, I opted to sleep on the sofa.

Afraid I’d suffer through the flight home, my daughter was able to get an emergency appointment for me with her chiropractor the morning I was to leave. Minutes from his office, as we were exiting the freeway and waiting to merge into highway traffic, my daughter’s car was rear-ended by a Jeep Liberty SUV. The jolt shattered our attempt to maintain calm despite the off-and-on pain I was harboring. Probably because we had each other, my daughter and I were able to quickly collect ourselves.

Stepping out of my daughter’s Honda CRV, we realized the young woman driving the other car was a “basket case.” Crying into her cell phone, we weren’t able to make out what she was saying. I asked my daughter to call 911. When she approached the other driver, the first thing we discovered was that she didn’t have a driver’s license. She had car insurance, or rather, her husband did. He was enroute to the scene of the accident as we spoke.

Fortunately for us, the spare tire of my daughter’s Honda CRV stopped the Jeep “cold.” The only damage was a ding in the trunk door and a small tear to the spare tire’s fabric cover. Meanwhile the Jeep’s entire front grille was smashed in, transmission fluid pouring out nonstop. AAA was called to tow that car, while we were able to drive away on our own. Nonetheless my daughter will have her car checked out to make sure the rear axle wasn’t damaged in the collision.

After settling matters with the policeman, my daughter and I continued on to the chiropractor. We were both adjusted. She, because of whiplash symptoms that would surely surface in a day or two. As a result of my treatment, I was able to endure the 5-hour flight home to Seattle and walk off the plain, pretty much pain free. It wasn’t until I tried to get out of bed the following morning that the full impact of my back pain, and lack of sleep weighed heavily.

Taking it easy until I saw my own chiropractor a couple of times, I’m finally making my way back toward normalcy. Lessons learned? An air mattress is a very short term substitute for the real thing. Good chiropractic adjustment is a God-send. Things can get worse…when one thinks they can’t. Compassion at the scene of an accident releases tension and curtails animosity…I gave motherly hugs to the other driver who spoke halting English, and looked to be pregnant. 

Was all this worth the trip? Anytime spent with my daughter is more than worth the price paid in dollars and inconveniences to this mother. Life goes on…but cherished moments together…come and go in the blink of an eye.  


where were you…

…when Diana, the Princess of Wales died? I can only think of one other person for whom that question has been asked…John F. Kennedy, our President. I know I was in school when he died, because classes were suspended. Instead we all walked to church to pray for him. In Diana’s case I think I was asleep, and learned with disbelief, about her death early the next morning.

Unlike President Kennedy‘s death of which so much has been written, documented, and analyzed in books and on TV shows, Diana’s death has been treated more gingerly it seems, at least here in the U.S. Either that, or I didn’t bother to read about it in the tabloid magazines because of their tendency to sensationalize the facts to make a profit. I didn’t set out to learn about them even now, they just fell into my lap, by way of Sarah Bradford’s Diana – Finally, The Complete Story

I chose to share this with you because as in life, in death Diana’s beauty remained intact. Her serene appearance belied the inner damage that resulted from the horrific car accident.

It took almost an hour to free Diana from the wrecked car. She appeared to her rescuers to be the least injured of the four: only a slight trickle of blood from mouth and nose indicated that anything was wrong. Yet her internal injuries were life- threatening. After the initial impact the Mercedes had spun away, rotating at high speed before crashing into the tunnel wall on the right. At the first impact Dodi and Diana had been thrown violently forward against the backs of the front seats (not having worn their seat belts), then the rotation of the car had flung them around against the interior. When the Mercedes finally stopped, pointing back towards the mouth of the tunnel, Diana was slumped on the floor, against the back of Rees-Jones‘s seat, facing down the tunnel. Her legs were twisted, one under her, the other on the seat. With her eyes closed and her face undamaged apart from a cut on her forehead, she looked beautiful and as if she were asleep. But the shock of the impact and deceleration on her body had displaced her heart from the left to the right side, severing the pulmonary vein and rupturing the pericardium (the protective sac round the heart), flooding her chest cavity with blood. …

Photo of the Chapel at the Pitié-Salpêtrière H...

Image via Wikipedia

Yet to the first doctor on the scene, Frederic Mailliez, who had been driving through the tunnel in the opposite direction, she ‘looked pretty fine…I thought this woman had a chance.’ He put an oxygen mask over her face while attempting to clear her air passages. When the ambulance arrived, Dr. Jan-Marc Martino, a surgical anesthetist and resuscitation specialist, worked on Diana. Before they could transfer her to the ambulance, she suffered a heart attack. She was given cardiac massage and a respiratory tube was inserted into her mouth. Then she was lifted on to a stretcher and placed in the ambulance which crawled its way with a police escort to La Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, stopping once on the way as Diana’s blood pressure dropped to a dangerous level. She was put on a ventilator. ‘She was unconscious and under artificial respiration. Her arterial blood pressure was very low but her heart was still beating. X-rays revealed the horrific state of her internal injuries and afterwards she suffered a second heart attack. An incision in her chest revealed that bleeding was coming through a hole in the membrane round her heart and later that her superior left pulmonary vein was torn. Adrenalin was administered and cardiac massage kept her heart going but only just; there was no independent rhythm. Diana was to all intents and purposes already beyond help. Electric-shock therapy was administered, to no effect. At 4 a.m. (3 a.m. British time) on the morning of 31 August, she was pronounced dead.

Charles, Prince of Wales outside the White Hou...

Image via Wikipedia

And while it was rumored at the time that Diana allegedly spoke a few words to Prince Charles, that was obviously not the case. “When Prince Charles and Diana’s sisters arrived in Paris, they found Diana looking serene and composed in death, wearing Lady Jay’s black cocktail dress and shoes, her hair freshly blow-dried, the rosary which Mother Teresa had given her in her hand. After Charles and her sisters had spent time alone with her, she was placed in a coffin for the return journey.” 

According to those who accompanied the hearse through the streets of Paris, there was an outpouring of support for the People’s Princess.

‘They do it differently in Paris–they applaud. With the coffin, Prince Charles, the President, millions of police by now,…and the vicar (the Rev. Martin Draper), the whole of Paris was applauding…

Sadly Diana’s body was not received with the same honor bestowed upon it by the Parisians and the British masses, when it came to rest in the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace. Good friend, and the woman thought to have been most like a mother to the princess, Lucia Flecha de Lima flew from the U.S., where she lived, to London, upon learning of Diana’s death. To her amazement the coffin lay “…in lonely state, without flowers.”

Flowers for Princess Diana's Funeral

Image by Maxwell Hamilton via Flickr

‘The first day when I arrived at the chapel there was not one single flower on her coffin. Then I said to the chaplain that if he didn’t allow flowers in, I would throw open the doors of the chapel so everyone could see her there without a single flower and all the flowers outside that people had brought. I said, “Tomorrow I’ll come back with my flowers for her.” And I came every day. And from then on I brought flowers, not only mine but from friends and people who knew her. And I went to a flower van outside the Michelin restaurant (Bibendum in the Fulham Road) and he said: “What are they for?” And I told him, and every day after that he insisted I take flowers to her for nothing…’ ‘And they (the flowers) were around her, over her coffin representing the flowers of the world, and I said to Prince Charles, “These flowers represent the people, thousands and millions of flowers all around the world that people want to give to Princess Diana.” I’ve never felt like that in my life. I have experienced personal loss…but the public’s reaction was extraordinary…’

 One other item mentioned in Bradford’s book caught my attention. While Queen Elizabeth seemingly struggled with her decision to recognize Diana’s death with the pomp and circumstance demanded by the people, personally she too had to deal with the passing of her former daughter-in-law, the mother of the queen’s beloved grand-children. Bradford wrote of Dickie Arbiter, the most experienced of royal officers who had worked for the Waleses before their divorce,

The coffin passing through one of the streets.

Image via Wikipedia

Contrary to public perception, the Queen was, Arbiter said, ‘very grief-stricken’ by Diana’s death. ‘On the day of the funeral when the Royal Family came out of Buckingham Palace as the gun carriage carrying Diana’s coffin passed, the Queen bowed. And the only other time that the Queen bows is at the Cenotaph.’

…there are the rumors…there are the myths…and then there’s…the truth…hugmamma.

Rose, Diana Princess of Wales

Image by nekonomania via Flickr

…princess diana…england’s rose…


Diana, Princess of Wales, at the Cannes film f...

Image via Wikipedia


postaday2011: when was your last random act of kindness?

So many great comments were left in answer to topic #57, a suggestion offered on The Daily Post at blog. I thought I’d share some of them with you, including one I left as well. They may encourage all of us to step outside our comfort zone, and reach out to someone in a gesture of kindness. Like a boomerang, it will return, perhaps when it’s least expected. I think the appropriate expression is paying it forward.”

How ironic that I’m reading this as I wait for what seems like an eternity at the drive thru window of this Mc Donald’s! After 15 minutes just to order some cookies, the cashier gave me too much change back. I honked, smiled, gave it back to him and told him to take it easy. His smile? Priceless! …MyDatingHangovers

A couple of months ago when it was really cold, I saw a homeless guy and went into Dunkin Donuts and bought him a coffee and a bagel. He was very thankful. I really felt for him and thought it was the least I could do. …barneyabishop

My Dad always told me to do one good thing for some stranger everyday. IT has been my way ever since I can remember. Try it! It is wonderful! …Debra Moorer

Earlier today I helped a senior citizen out of a bus, but that’s just something I normally do without even thinking about it. …Jota Ka

Wasn’t random, but I was having lunch with my wife and a friend in my hometown when an older couple sat behind us turned around and asked me if I knew where a certain church was. They were on their way to a wedding that afternoon.

I explained that I had lived in the town most of my life, though I hadn’t lived there for several years and that I hadn’t heard of that particular church. So I used my smart phone to locate it and scribbled the post code and some (admittedly rough) directions to help them get to the wedding. …procrastin8or

I agree, acts of kindness should not be random, and I know myself that a smile from a stranger can help me through the week nevermind the day! I remember I was driving down a country lane where there seemed to be a lot of rabbit carnage all over the road. It was obviously a rabbit “highway”. The vehicle infront of me was driving obliviously to the rabbits running out of the hedge and I was quite frankly driving dangerously trying to avoid them. The inevitable happened with the vehicle infront and it hit a rabbit. I was upset as I could see the rabbit was not quite dead but in death throes, so I stopped. It was a dangerous place to stop but I got out, and picked the rabbit up and got back into the car and kept it on my lap. I drove to a safer place and stopped, and I held the poor animal to my heart until its last breath passed. I was heart broken but felt in my weird way, that I’d helped its passing. …Anastasia Martyn

Today at McDonalds during lunch gave up my seat to a family of 8 that could not find seating for everyone to eat together. …David Wodecki

Random Acts of Kindness – It’s the little things in life that make the difference. A smile, an opened door, a friendly hello, a kind word, these are just a few of the things everyone can do everyday. I do it all day, everyday, whether it benefits the other person or not. I know it benefits me just knowing I tried to make someone else’s day a little brighter. …Robert J. Banach

  • I totally agree with you! Kindnesses can be doled out in mini portions, every day. It’s seldom that opportunities for grand gestures occur. Why wait? A smile, a “hello,” a nod of one’s head, a “thank you,” an excuse me, letting someonelse go first, can all go a long way in making someone’s day good, better, or great. When I’ve the urge to tell a stranger she looks beautiful, I do. Recently a woman exiting the elevator I was entering, looked gorgeous in a gown and fur coat, and I reached out to touch her gently, and told her so.

    And you’re so right. Regardless if the recipient acknowledges my act of kindness, I’m glad I put it out there. What’ve I got to lose? Truth is, they usually express appreciation.

    am in definite agreement with youhugmamma.

good samaritan #11

Saw CBS hit show “Undercover Boss” last night, and realized I had to write about this particular segment when I saw that my husband was tearing up along with me, routine for me, not for him. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the reality show, it follows a corporate CEO who shows up at company work sites to witness the day-to-day operations, first hand.

Kim Schaefer, CEO of Great Wolf Resorts, is the first female boss to do the show. Changing her appearance, with a new haircut and color, she, with camera crew in tow, pretended to be a stay-at-home mom being filmed for a reality TV show. Dressed down, that is, not in her usual suit and high-heels, Schaefer buddied up with an employee in each of the following areas: the day care center, the water park, the front desk and the restaurant. I’m pretty sure some, if not all, were at different locations, of which there are 10 throughout the country.

As a result of her findings, Schaefer reported back to her management team that  no drastic changes needed to be made, but there were things that needed tweaking. Front desk registration took too long, sometimes up to 15 minutes, causing long lines to form. The sweltering heat in the water park was great for guests, but unbearable for employees. Schaefer asked managers responsible for these departments to look into making the necessary modifications. She went on to say the company should look for ways to acknowledge its appreciation to its employees, for their dedication and great service. Credits at the conclusion of “Undercover Boss” noted that Great Wolf Resorts is now rewarding all its employees by allowing them free access to any of its locations for family vacations.

Schaefer acknowledged that while her motivation to go undercover was prompted by her position as CEO, her on-the-job experience as working stiff reverberated with her as that of a working mom. “My expectations were that I was going to come in as a CEO and look at it through the eyes of the CEO…It ended up being about the people and me as a working mom.”

At the show’s start, Schaefer was shown with her family, her husband who enjoys being a stay-at-home dad to 2 teenage children, a son and a daughter. Schaefer acknowledges that she is passionate about working, that she couldn’t imagine not dedicating herself to a job outside the home. In observing the family dynamics, it’s obvious she is a loving mom and appreciative spouse. She looks and behaves nothing like the domineering, sharp-tongued, controlling Miranda Priestly in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Unlike Meryl Streep’s character, Kim Schaeffer seems perfectly capable of being a top-notch CEO while maintaining the warmth of a normal, human being who loves her husband, children, and yes, even her employees. In the “great reveal,” Schaeffer invites to corporate headquarters, the 4 Great Wolf Resorts employees whom she shadowed during filming. Each arrives separately for a meeting with the CEO, unsuspecting that they’ve already met, albeit under very different circumstances.

I couldn’t help but think, as I’ve thought before, that moms would make the best bosses, the best leaders. That’s not always true, as in Sarah Palin’s case, in my opinion. But Kim Schaefer was as warm and unassuming in her CEO attire, as she had been in a camp counselor’s get-up, aquatic assistant’s shorts, waitress’ uniform, and receptionist’s drab garb. Schaefer spoke from the heart, reaching across her desk to hold the employee’s hands in hers. Her appreciation for their service was genuine, as were her tears. Her words weren’t “office speak.” They were the language of compassion, of empathy, for the plight of the working man and woman. 

To each of the four, Schaefer made a personal gift in addition to promotions and pay raises. For the mom who supervised kids in day care, her daughter was given a full scholarship to college. The young man who oversaw aquatic operations would realize his dream of becoming a pilot, with fully paid flying lessons. The receptionist who suffered with knee problems because of a bad fall would not only have surgery, but would be guaranteed the day shift so that she could better parent her children as a single mom, and some extended time off to be with them.

The most heart-wrenching to watch were the tears shed between Schaefer and the waitress, who’d lost a 9-year-old daughter years earlier in a car accident. Of all her employees, this woman resonated the most with her boss who realized how precious her own daughter, and son, were to her. The waitress’ positive attitude about life, “I live each day as if it were my last,” and “I do my job, regardless of the size of my tips,” was an amazing testament to her character. The fact that she worked double shifts to support her family, including a baby, moved Schaeffer to cut her employee’s work hours without reducing her pay, by making her a floor supervisor. In this capacity she would impart valuable customer service experience to others.  And she was also given extended vacation leave to enjoy her family.

As I said before both my husband and I wiped a few tears from our eyes, watching CEO Kim Schaefer interact with her employees. I even said to him, he should keep his eyes and ears open if he ever heard that someone was looking to hire an amazing person to run their operation.

from my lips to bill gates ears…hugmamma.

Following are the 10 Great Wolf Lodges and their locations:

  • Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • Poconos PA, Scrotun, PA
  • Grapevine TX
  • Charlotte, Grand Mound WA
  • Mason OH
  • Williamsburg VA
  • Kansas City KS
  • Traverse City MI
  • Wisconsin Dells
  • Sandusky OH