Friday, August 03, 2007

Anticipatory Anxiety

One doctor is back. Sort of. For the moment. And yes, I have coverage.

A week in Canada, all that free national health care, and the place is kind of pretty, too.

Talk about a room with a view:

Traveling with teenagers, though, you can't just Look at it, ya gotta DO something. Hiking led to some amazing views, a surprise waterfall, a tea house in the sky, even a rainbow, but was still deemed "boring," "pointless," and ultimately, "not worth it."

I decided we needed to go whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River. Note, this was my idea.

I've been rafting once before, decades ago in Montana during a draught when there was no whitewater to be had. We floated along scraping the bottom. And I've been on a canyon float trip, this isn't what my kids were looking for. So, credit card in hand, I signed us up for the non-refundable Classic-- all participants had to be over 12 years and over 90 pounds-- and the half-day trip provided a barbecue lunch (these I'm good at) and Class III and IV rapids. The other option was a shorter Family-friendly trip suitable for children over the age of 5. That one sounded nice. It sounded safe, too.

I asked the Concierge if I'd be okay.

"I don't like roller coasters," I said.

"Sit in the back of the raft," he told me. Everyone returns alive. I'd be fine.

Still, I worried. The next day I asked another concierge, a nice young man named Rory.

"Will I have a heart attack?" I asked.

"Yup," he said.

"What should I do?"

"Go on a different trip than the kids."

Gee, thanks Rory.

"You'll be fine, Mom," Kid said.

You know, I wasn't really worried about injuries or death. I don't like roller coasters and it's not that I think they're unsafe-- it's that I'm afraid I won't like the feel of my stomach being stuck inside my knees, or that I'll get sick, or terribly frightened, or that I'll want to get off really badly and I won't be able to. If safety were the issue, I would be worried about my family. No, I was worried about the possibility of Unpleasant Sensations.

We drove an hour and a half to the rafting place and went to sign in. I was handed a bunch of waivers to initial in three places and sign on the bottom. I promised not to sue if I died. Okay, now I was worried about safety.

"Does anyone get hurt?" I asked the young woman with the Australian accent who told us that a 45 minute safety session would precede the adventure.

"Well, yes. But, it's rare. It's not like someone gets hurt every week. It's not like someone even gets hurt twice a month."

This didn't sound so Rare to me.

"How hurt?" Scrapes, right?

"Oh, about as bad as it can get," she said.

My anxiety mounted. Maybe we shouldn't do this, I told my husband. My family glared at me.

The trip was delayed for hours. They were clearing a log jam-- an event that entailed sending swimmers into 42 degree water with chainsaws to chop up a tree and make the river safe. I ate a buffalo burger. Really. I worried. The safety lecture began.

We were instructed on how to put on wet suits, life jackets, and helmets. (No pics of this folks). How to hold the paddle so that it doesn't knock out any one's teeth. And what to do if you fall into the river, how to pull someone back onto the raft without dislocating their shoulder. What to do if you get separated from the raft. What to do if you miss the line that's thrown to you. What to do if the entire raft capsizes and everyone is in the river. What to do if you get trapped under the raft. What position to take while being reeled in and another position for being swept away. Don't get caught in a log jam-- too much paperwork. Really, don't get caught in a log jam. This is rare, I'm thinking, how often do people actually fall in? Oh, on a trip this size of roughly 70 rafters, 1 or 2 usually fall in. 42 degrees in the water. I waddled in my wet suit. This really wasn't sounding like a good idea.

We split into "teams" of 9 and boarded our craft. No seat belts. We sat up on the sides of the raft and Darren, my very experienced guide, showed us how to hold tight, get low, cross over to balance weight of the raft.

"When I tell you to row, it's a command, not a suggestion," he said. "Any questions?"

"Is there a seat for someone who wants to just sit and pray?" I asked. Darren glared at me. My kids wanted to die.

I got on the raft. I paddled when I was told to, even when I'd rather have been holding on. When we hit the rapids we bounced about, I got wet, and I laughed out loud. It was fun in an addictive sort of way. No one fell out and any sense of danger dissipated. No Unpleasant Sensations whatsoever. And to think, I almost bailed before we even began; after the fact, all that worrying was a waste.

Of course, there was my emotional support goat up on Sulphur Mountain:


My Own Woman said...

Heck, I just read the post and was anxious for you.

Dr. A said...

Great story (although kind of scary). Are there any emotional support ducks on the mountain?

Rach said...

Yay Canada! (Actually, I'm in the states right now at a conference... Yay America!) Actually, Dr. A - I think the air is too thin for emotional support ducks, or any other ducks up on the mountain.

Aqua said...

Great story...I was having an anxiety attack just reading it. That anticipatory anxiety is a daily occurence in my life. Just trying to get myself to leave the house and go grocery shopping, or do the things I know I need to do to get well, (like get to the pool or for a walk, or to my volunteer work), is so stress inducing. Can I borrow your support goat?

Sarebear said...

BREATHTAKING! I want to get up there sometime. I've been to Montreal and some other areas, when I was a teenager (we lived in New York state at the time), but nothing like what I see in your pic; stunning!

Experiences I remember as boring or not worth it, as a teenager, I really appreciated later on, and still do. They'll remember it . . . .

I've been rafting on the Snake River up in Wyoming, whilst camping between Yellowstone and the Tetons. INCREDIBLE. There's nothing like it!!

I saw my first eagle in the wild, as we were on a more placid portion between rapids, an adolescent as it plummeted to the river to pluck out a thrashing fish in its talons, and soar away again.

Go, Dinah!

NeoNurseChic said...

Sounds like a great trip!! I have such bad anticipatory anxiety over things!! My family and friends don't even want to talk to me the night before I work 3 12's in a row or if I'm even working 2 days in a row after being off for a couple days. I love my job, but the night before I go back, I get into this panic mode and get all moody and anxious! haha Even the other night - I had this project to work on, and the anxiety about doing it was keeping me from doing it - when I finally sat down, it wasn't bad at all! haha Story of my life....I'm the biggest procrastinator I know all because of my anxiety about doing things for various reasons! lol

Anyway - the trip sounds like a blast!! What's funny is that I don't remember being the "typical teenager" you describe here when I was growing up - but then, I don't think my brother was either, even though we are night and day from each other. I was always a dork - always interested in everything and wanting to learn new things. When I was going to England, I was looking for gifts to bring the kids from "America" and my mom was trying to help me figure out what to get. She was saying not just to get them a book or things about Philadelphia because they might not be "into that kind of stuff like you were." It was funny....I got them stuff I would have liked at that age, though, and they loved it! Those teenage years are tough....I'm always hearing nurses at work talk about their kids - now I'm getting anticipatory anxiety over someday having kids that will turn into teenagers!! lol (All kidding - I think kids are great....but teenagers are definitely the hardest to please! I know my future teenagers are going to see me as a huge dork/embarrassing! Oh well...)

Glad you are back, even if only momentarily!! Glad that rafting was so much fun!!

Take care,
Carrie :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great read. Kudos to you for stretching yourself a bit! :-)

NeoNurseChic said...

Hey Carrie,

Nice name! :)

Take care,
Carrie :)

Literacygirl said...

It sounds like you are in Banff! Love that area!

HP said...

I'm taking that photo and sticking it on my window...only way I'll get such a stunning view!

A braver woman than me, Dinah. Emotional support goat or not, I'm too much of a wuss to try something that adventurous.


Anonymous said...

EEK, You definately worry too much. I still love you though. abf

Anonymous said...

As part of our "free" health coverage here in Canada, everyone is supplied with an emotional support goat. (They are most heavily relied upon at tax time.)
We also have a private system to tend to the health care of the goats.

Dinah said...

Yes, Banff. Gorgeous. I didn't see any ducks.

Aqua-- it was quite a journey to get to that particular support goat. He's yours if you want him.

Carrie--why are you talking to yourself? And the teenagers are (mostly) pretty wonderful.

I'm now back, but my co-bloggers have ventured off on their own adventures. Clink's had something to do with hail and bears.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the backlinks to this post: Can You Believe, someone actually translated my entire post into German and reposted it????

NeoNurseChic said...


Cuz that's a different Carrie above! Although reading her profile, I saw that she also plays piano. :)

Glad you're back!

Take care,
Carrie :)

Anonymous said...

You had me laughing all the way with you through your story. Sounds like a page from my travel log with my son's. Glad you came out the other side with a great memory to share. Your kids and hubby would have never let you forget it if you had wussed out.

Still chuckling.

Sarebear said...

Dinah, people do that because they make money from ads on their site, usually google adsense. and yup, I saw some there (I think). You need to try to get them to remove it, and if they won't, the whoever hosts the site, or something.

I hate this kind of thing; there is actually some pretty big money in doing this, and you'll notice alot of blogging hacks, blogger tips type blogs, or whatnot, have a bunch of ads. I surfed through a bunch over in India, this is a big thing there . . . . there's one site I saw that I might consider legitimately interested and legitimately active in providing content, instead of re-wording what one sees elsewhere, or worse, copying it.

The company/ceo that "owns" the blogs Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and some other well-known ones, actually does it as a business, hiring people to write stuff. These are alot more "legitimate" blogs, in the sense that I don't have the shady, edgy, sort of I contamination of slimy greediness by association factor I felt on a bunch of the Indian sites, as these sites by this CEO, actually provide useful info (in the case of alot of Lifehacker posts (I pick and choose what I like, though), that they search out, compile, come up with from scratch, pull together in ways that are often new (to me) or useful.

Anyhoo. It's been an interesting eye-opener for me, but also explains some of the "strange", something's "off" feel I get at some blogs sometimes, especially ones that I've gotten to by doing a google search or something.