When I was a kid, I lived in a family where my mother smoked like a frickin' chimney. This, in turn, caused me to have MASSIVE ear infections that kept happening all throughout my childhood. Back then Doctors hadn't made the second hand smoke/recurring childhood illness connection yet. They talked about tubes, special meds, everything to try & knock these things out, but no go. It was only AFTER I moved away that doctors realized second hand smoke was causing my illnesses. Gee, thanks guys. Anyhoo... in 10th grade, I had a doozy of an ear infection that was so bad, it burst my ear drum. You have to be way sick for that shit to happen. (Never could figure out why they didn't take me to the doctor that time.) Another side effect was I now have a fluid imbalance in my inner ear and have episodes of unbalance every once and a while. I have to use visual cues to keep my brain thinking straight. This means that if my eyes are closed and I'm standing up, I'll fall over. It also means if I ever get pulled over by a cop & they ask me to take that roadside test where you close your eye, stand on one foot, and touch your fingers to your nose... I'm gonna fail while being stone cold sober! Shit!
Thanks to the inner ear imbalance, roller coasters became dangerous ground. I'd get pretty darn close to puking if not actually puking. The drops felt HUGE even when they weren't. The turns & corkscrews sent me into a dizzy spells. I started having panic attacks anticipating the worst. Once the panic attacks started, I no longer rode roller coasters. The end.
Enter last Saturday.
Once I turned 40, I felt like I needed to crack down on my fears. Fear of roller coasters was one of them. I was determined to beat. To that end, I said I'd ride Disney's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before 41 rolled around. Back in the day, I rode it before the ear fluid loss and enjoyed it very much. So, on an overcast Saturday morning, I followed HHH and my two youngest children onto the ride. I did great at first. No run away heart beat, no hyperventilating, no panic. I was great all the way till.....
..... they snapped the lap bar down!
Then I started hurriedly saying, "I can't do this! I can't do this! I can't do this!" HHH turned around and tried to comfort me, but we were already moving. The ride had already started climbing the first hill.
I started BAWLING!!
Yup, seems the quickest way to turn a 40 year old woman into sniveling baby is to stick her on a roller coaster! I was in full panic attack! It was so bad my 14 year old held my hand and kept saying, "Hold my hand mommy. It will be ok.", over and over to me as we wound down through the dips and dives. Not my finest moment, I will admit. In fact, it was down right embarrassing! We arrived back at the station and got off the ride, and my legs were jelly. It took a good 15 minutes till my heart quit racing. I mentally checked my pants and found them dry and unsoiled, which surprised me greatly. I was..... ALIVE!
I had done it. I beat the ear! I rode a real roller coaster (Not the kiddy kind) before 41! I may not have done it gracefully, I sure didn't do it calmly, but I did do it! I rode a roller coaster. Now...
Let's never do that again!(maybe)