I was grateful for the fact that throughout my relapse, it didn’t seem to have affected the girls too much. I think it had something to do with the fact that we went to great lengths to keep their routine as normal as possible, keeping them in school and allowing them to do after school activities and everything else just like they normally would. I was lucky enough by that time, to have formed a fantastic group of friends who really banded together and helped us out wherever possible whether it was fetching the girls from school or taking them home with them until we got back from the hospital.
Hospital visits took up an entire day with a long drive there and back. We would leave at about 7:00am and only return at about 7:00pm. In the midst of all the chaos, Karen arrived to lend moral support and help out wherever she could. Her visits were in part, my lifeline because throughout my treatments I kept on thinking what it would be like if my mum and dad were still alive and able to visit me. I no longer had them however, and I needed a sense that there was still family out there that cared enough to travel 8000km to come and see me. Karen knew this without me having to say a word, and so dropped what she was doing to fly out. The girls also looked forward to their Aunts visits with great excitement. This time it was in December over New Year. Karen had it all worked out. Recipes, the lot. After visiting the supermarket, she went about in the kitchen with military precision cooking countless meals for us and freezing them so that on the days when I was feeling really under the weather, Jaco could just pop it into the oven and presto…there was a cooked meal for everybody to enjoy. I was incredibly grateful for what she did, as there were indeed days when those frozen meals were a lifesaver and there were so many of them. They lasted for weeks!
It wasn’t all work and no play during that time. December in the UAE is a lovely time of year and very pleasant outdoors and so on a day when I was feeling up to it, we went and visited a water park in Dubai. I’m not one for steep, fast rides. They make me very uncomfortable and overall, it’s just complete sensory overload. There were plenty of those where we were. After a while my second youngest daughter Arlise and I, decided to band together and went on a double tube on all rides. That way the two of us could stick with all the rides that we were comfortable with, while the other thrill seekers could go off and do their own thing. Thing is, my husband took Arlise and I for a ride…in more ways than one. As we were standing in the queue for one ride, he came over to us and directed us to a different one, assuring us that it wasn’t too steep and that we would enjoy it. This was our first time there so we had no idea! Anyhow we got into our tube very excited to see what this was all about. When the lady in front of us was pushed off, I just remember her suddenly disappearing and screaming. Arlise looked back at me looking like a deer caught in headlights and asked, ‘Mommy why did she make such a performance?’
A red warning light went on in my head straight away as I realized that Jaco had just been up to his old tricks again…at our expense. Problem was it was too late for us to back out. When it was our turn to go and we were sent off, we immediately realized why the damsel before us had made such a fuss. The ride began with an almost sheer drop. For the first 5-10 meters the tube didn’t even touch the slide. My stomach immediately launched into my mouth, as a blood curdling scream involuntarily escaped my throat. Arlise’s scream was even louder than mine, so together we were making total spectacles of ourselves. Getting to the bottom of the steep slope, we were thrown into pitch darkness. Whether we were going up hill or down at that point still beats me to this day as disorientation reigned supreme, with arms and legs going in all directions. From there the ride was tossing us from side to side as it guided us around sharp bends that were whiplash worthy. By this time I was begging for the ride to end and was already planning in my head what I was going to do to Jaco as soon as I got off. I could sense that we were quite high up as the ride slowed down to a nice even keel and the sun shone on our faces. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, but not for long. To my horror and utter dismay we were then thrown into yet another sheer drop even longer than the first! The ride couldn’t end soon enough, and when it did and we emerged at the bottom, we were greeted by Jaco standing there with an irritatingly evil grin on his face. Wisely, he ran off as soon as I got out of the water. If I got my hands on him…!!!