jump to navigation

Not A Leg to Stand On June 15, 2013

Posted by alwaysjan in Health, Personal.
Tags: , , , ,
12 comments

metalkneejpgI’ve gone and done it again.

When I last wrote about my knee in 28 Days Later, I was four weeks out from Total Knee Replacement (TKR). I’m pleased to say that at six weeks, I no longer wanted to die. And just as my doctor had predicted, by the time I hit that 12-week mark, I was in love with him.

I went back to school after 10 weeks, as I’d exhausted my sick leave and was on Extended Medical Leave  (1/2 pay). I was a little bit nervous about my ability to navigate the stairs, but ultimately I did just fine. And it took me all of 10 minutes to regain control of my classroom after being out for so long. It was all good. Too good?

Okay, my right knee now makes a THUNKing sound  (which is good way to teach about onomatopoeia?). I asked my doctor about this and he said, “Well, your knee is all titanium and plastic, so what do you expect?”  It’s not like it was in Silent Running mode before. Point well taken.

I was floating up and down the stairs at school. Heaven!  Then my LEFT knee began acting up. A shot of Cortisone did the trick. My husband had tickets to go to The Strawberry Festival in Yosemite to meet up with his best friend from kindergarten, Anne. I love Anne because she remembers more about my husband’s childhood than he does. Approximately 20 some odd people were to converge at Camp Calamity. Oh, how aptly named.

Neither my husband or I had ever been to Yosemite. Finally, we were going. Oh what fun we would have.

The first night was great. The camp was set up so that there was a long table for all of us to gather. The women’s restroom wasn’t too far. Who could ask for anything more?  Okay, the ground was uneven, but our hosts had laid out artificial turf and rugs so that it was the ultimate outdoor space. They had this down as they’d been doing this for 31 years. I was in awe of just how organized they were.  We slept the first night on an air mattress. Oh, what a difference it made. This was going to be fun. (I’d never uttered the words “camping” and “fun” in the same sentence before.)

The second day we got in Anne’s car and she drove us to Hetch Hetchy. We walked down the road and across the dam and through the tunnel. I couldn’t believe how easily I could walk. I hadn’t walked this far in years and kept waiting to be in pain – but I was fine.

When we got back to Camp Calamity we dined and then as the sun began to set, we set off to the Music Meadow. The paths are traced with white chalk, so it’s easier to walk. We hadn’t gone far when I stepped off the path. My left knee twisted as I slid into a hole. I would have fallen to the ground if the two guys walking next to me had not grabbed me. The pain was exquisite. So I was carried me back to Camp Calamity. I was laid out on a chaise lounge and someone made me a wicked Margarita. My husband, Richard, soldiered on to the Music Meadow. When he returned, I was immobilized and had to be carried to the tent. Not a good sign.

I’ll cut to the chase. We drove back to Los Angeles the next morning as I had to have people carry me to the restroom. Talk about humility. I was wheeled into the hospital ER where it was determined that I had no broken bones. My entire leg was encased in a knee immobilizer and I was sent home with pain meds.

The hardest thing was writing to my students’ parents that I’d injured my OTHER knee.  I was out for four days while awaiting the results of an MRI. Meanwhile, our collection of crutches was ever expanding.

The MRI showed a torn meniscus, a Baker’s cyst, and some arthritis, but I was given the okay to go back to school. I managed for two days and then everything went south. By the last day of school when I had to clean out my classroom, I was limping and in excruciating pain.

I finally met with my doctor. I now have arthroscopic surgery scheduled, but he couldn’t fit me in before my trip to the UK, which was to be my reward for having the TKR. I had this same surgery on my right knee in 2006 which compared to the TKR was a piece of cake.

So I’m hobbling. I have been ordered NOT to pivot. I ice my knee three times a day and try to keep it elevated. This was not the summer vacation I envisioned. I’ve warned my Lesley/s in the UK that I might not be up to doing the Highland Fling. I might have to just be put in a wheelbarrow and taken to the local pub?

So if my readers wonder why I’ve been errant in posting, it’s because I’ve been waylaid once again. At least this has made it impossible to put my foot in my mouth. I, however, choose to see the glass as half full. Cheers!

Photo Credit: Drawing by Daniel

28 Days Later – After Total Knee Replacement Surgery January 20, 2013

Posted by alwaysjan in Health, Personal.
Tags: , , , ,
16 comments

kneecap

I’ve never gone so long without writing a new blog post, but then I didn’t know that Santa was bringing me a new knee for Christmas.  Nothing says Merry Christmas like jingle bells on a walker. Ho Ho NO!

Six years ago when I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee for a torn meniscus, the surgeon informed me that I had the knee of an 80-year-old woman. I was considered too young for joint replacement, so the “conservative” measures began. A strap on knee brace that made me look robotic. I saw the look on a student’s face when they got a glimpse of it one day under my skirt and ended up doing my own Show and Tell. The kids thought it was pretty cool. But, in reality, it was hot and itchy since it was all synthetic. Then there were Cortisone injections that did nothing. And for two years, I worked with a personal trainer to strengthen the muscles around my damaged kneecap. I was on prescription meds, but the doctor worried that ultimately they could damage my liver. “Geez, if I’m going to blow out my liver, I could just do that with alcohol,” I said. The doctor nodded sympathetically.

Meanwhile the two flights of stairs at my old school loomed. Up and down a dozen times a day. Some days people asked if I was limping. A peg leg was beginning to seem like a viable option. My last option was an injection of an organic substance made from chicken combs (I’m not naming names). It was worth a shot (no pun intended). Oh, the jokes about whether I would sprout feathers or lay an egg. But a week later, the pain had only grown worse.

On a walking field trip to the nearby bookstore, I winced and hobbled. I resorted to doing my Lamaze breathing. One of the oh-so-nice parents asked delicately, “Are your wearing new shoes?” By the time we arrived at the bookstore, I had to sit down. If I was a boxer, I would have been down for the count. Later I hobbled back to the school and then home to book a sub. That was the end of November.

I went to see a new surgeon. He thought I was one of the less than 1 percent who have an allergic reaction to the chicken combs. Great. But, when he said he could do the surgery just before Christmas it was music to my ears. He pulled no punches, “For the first 12 weeks you’re going to hate me, but after that….you’re going to LOVE me!”

So, it’s been a month now. The three days in the hospital were doable as the IV painkillers did their job and you’ve gotta love those nurses. I was even visited by a volunteer with “Happy” the therapy dog. But then it was time to go home. The night before I was released my husband returned to find boxes lined up on our front porch. Enough equipment to start a convalescent home. Hey it’s three seats in one – a chair, a commode AND you can sit in the shower in it! Oh the look of horror on my husband’s face. “I’m no nurse,” he said proclaiming what has always been obvious. It was seeing me using a walker that unnerved him the most. When after a week I finally decided I needed to get my hair cut, he drove me up to the side door, let me out, then sped away so no one would see him with me.

Each morning I settled in for the day on the couch with my leg in the CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine. Our dog, Layla, didn’t appreciate losing her el primo spot on the couch to this whirring machine. I’d hoped to read, but mostly I laid in a zombified state while my knee went through the spin cycle. My husband, Richard, is an amazing cook so I was served breakfast each morning with the admonishment, “You better not get used to this!”

I don’t know how people manage to go through this operation who have a family who expects them to soldier on. I literally did nothing but watch movies and read. I followed comments on my blog. Friends texted daily. My husband usually works at home upstairs, so if I needed something, he was only a text away. He cooked three incredible meals a day.

Initially a physical therapist came to the house. After the first visit she informed me I’d need ice next time – and not for drinks. After two weeks I graduated to outpatient therapy. I actually drove to my first appointment, feeling like I was finally out amongst the living.

It’s now 28 days later. The guy hauled away the CPM, so Layla has reclaimed her spot on the couch. Last Thursday the physical therapist kicked my butt. He had me on my belly with something like a dog leash attached to my ankle that I had to pull on to raise my leg behind me. S&M. That day I told him my new nickname for him was “The Mangler.”

“If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view” is a quote I often tell my students, so I shall continue to claw my way up the mountain rock by rock even on days when gaining a foothold seems almost impossible. I can’t complain. I have insurance and I’m in pain because I’m getting better not worse. I’ve done the math. I should be “in love” by St. Patrick’s Day though I have to go back to work before then. I’ll have to settle for being “in like”.

So for this and all my family and friends who’ve been there for me, I am so grateful. Santa may have brought me a new knee, but he also brought me a new appreciation for all that is truly important in my life. Happy New Year!

To find out what came next, read Not A Leg to Stand On.

Drawing by Colby

Swine Flu in a Classroom Near You August 9, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Health, Teaching.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
6 comments

vomit

I’ve read three articles in as many days advising schools how to handle an outbreak of the swine flu.  I had my pig Maisie do some research, and she’s reported back with her findings:  Although it might not be on your initial class roster, it seems the swine flu is set to enter your classroom this fall.

Federal officials at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are recommending that schools be closed as a last resort.  The New York Times has all the news that’s fit to print, so if you want to check out more stats, acronyms, and some recommendations, click on that link.  You can also check out flu.gov.

Fortunately, the initial panic about the swine flue as a pandemic that could potentially kill millions has subsided.  But the swine flu is still no laughing matter. Over one million Americans have been infected so far.  If you’re a teacher, you’re already accustomed to being on the front lines.  Or should I say the first in line to get “what’s going round.”  Children have an uncanny ability to sneeze, cough, hack, spew, vomit…  Okay, I could go on, but you get the picture.  To date, the flu aka H1N1 has been mild and has not mutated – yet.  (Cue scary music.)

I, for one, am marshaling all my resources.  All teachers are issued a first-aid kit at the start of the year.  The first year I kept looking for this “kit.”  I finally realized it’s a Ziploc bag containing a pair of latex gloves, some band-aids, and a few cotton balls thrown in for good measure.

The CDC suggested that schools might want to issue masks to personnel. Sounds good, but I’d settle for kleenex.  Last year, my students were reduced to blowing their noses on art tissue paper.  Hey, it works.  But when I tore off a piece of bright green tissue paper and handed it to my new student from Korea, I was shocked when I saw the dye had rubbed off on his upper lip.  He had a bright green Charlie Chaplin mustache that wouldn’t wash off. So, kleenex would be good.

It was also suggested that teachers could move students’ desks father apart. Now, my students don’t have individual desks.  They sit at tables for two, and now that my class size has been upped from 20 to 24, I’m still trying to figure out where to put THOSE kids.  My cup may runneth over, but the space in my classroom does not.  The CDC recommends that schools might want to offer web-based instruction for students out sick.  Can you hear me laughing hysterically?

One final note.  My pig Maisie wanted to make sure I mentioned the CDC said “People cannot become infected by eating pork or pork products. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Farenheit kills the virus as well as other bacteria.”  Maisie doesn’t actually recommend EVER cooking pork.

She also wants you to know she’s never been sick a day in her life.  Okay, there was that time she ate five pounds of butter set aside for Christmas baking.  But that would upset your tummy too.  On a more positive note, Maisie smelled like a butter cookie for a week.

Butt, Naked? March 8, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Health, Teaching.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
9 comments

chickendance1

Nothing prepared my third grade girls, or me for that matter, for a walk through the women’s locker room at a nearby local aquatic center. No, there wasn’t anything titillating. Tits, yes, but nothing titillating. It was strictly R-rated – “R” as in  Real. Real people. Real bodies. Real scary – as in adult naked women, who bore no resemblance to Hannah Montana, toweling off. The horror!

First, some back story. Our entire third grade was given the opportunity to participate in the center’s “Olympic Challenge.” Four weeks of swimming lessons, four days a week, at the most gorgeous aquatic center imaginable. Swimming doesn’t get any better than this.

But to get to that gorgeous pool, you have to go through the locker room. Now, I never liked locker rooms when I was a kid. In middle school, I was so skinny that I could hide INSIDE my locker to avoid the dreaded gang shower. Luckily, the swim lessons were provided by young hard-bodied instructors. Us teachers got to sit pool side warming a bench – fully clothed, ostensibly “grading papers.”

No sooner had we marked our territory with the our grade books, than a wide-eyed boy emerged from the men’s locker room. “There’s a naked man in there!” he announced, as though he’d just seen an alien. Yeah, the boys have their own issues.

The teacher I partnered with has spent a lot of time in Europe and is married to a European. She gave me the impression they actually have a hard time keeping clothes on those fun-loving Europeans. But reading The Emperor Who Had No Clothes two weeks earlier was the closest my class had come to discussing nudity. We’d decided that the Emperor was wearing his “birthday suit,” though some kids later wrote that he was “butt naked.” (I don’t have a problem with the word “butt,” unless it’s preceded by the word “big.”)

I told my students to hurry up and change. They had no reason to linger in the locker room. “It’s not like you’re at Starbucks,” I told them. The first week was the worst. My Korean girls opened all the lockers and then draped towels between them so as to make small private dressing rooms. At least, that’s what I was told. I only set foot in the locker room once and the collective scream that went up sent me scurrying outside.

The first day, kids had to try on a swim suit (which they got to keep). Several of my bigger girls had to try on more than one to get just the right fit. One girl, who can look me eye to eye, sat pool-side the first week because she was “coming down with a cold.” After a few days, the swim instructor told me she needed try on a suit so she’d be ready to swim. The instructor then handed me three suits.

The girl hunkered down in a bathroom stall and I had to talk her through trying on each suit. Lots of grunting and groaning followed by, “Oops!  I think I have it on backwards.”  I offered to take a look, but she was horrified at the prospect. I finally convinced her this was okay, but first I had put on my dark glasses and keep my eyes shut as I’d promised. I groped around and fiddled with the straps. Then I was granted a quick look. “Hmmm.  I think the straps cut into your back,” I said, reaching for the next size up.

I groused as I heard the girl’s elbows knock against the sides of the stall, “You could have at least chosen a handicapped stall!” At last, we found a suit that covered the subject. I was exhausted. I had no idea that being a “highly, qualified teacher” involved THIS. The icing on the cake was when the girl’s family went out of town the next week – for the duration of swimming. Hmmm… But then what do I know?

When it was first announced that students would be swimming, my Muslim girl’s mother took me aside. She was concerned that her daughter be dressed “modestly.” I assured her I’d figure something out. That night I found myself googling “Muslim swim wear.” Oh dear. Snappy music came up with a woman riding a jet ski wearing what appeared to be a beekeeper’s suit. So not! Later, I found myself at Target checking out board shorts for girls. In the end, my student wore board shorts and a matching top, and yes, the other students knew why. It was no big deal. My student had never been in a pool before, so when she jumped off the diving board on the last day, I was ecstatic.

It was easier for the boys, although the bigger boys (those who wear “Husky-sized” pants), were plagued by an even more embarrassing issue – man boobs. Most of these boys were used to swimming in a t-shirt, so having it all out there for the world to see was humiliating. They walked around with their arms folded over their chest which made them look like they were chronically cold.

Each day we took the swimsuits back to school and hung them up to dry. When I noticed that one of my boys was always the first ready to swim, I realized he was taking his suit home and wearing it under his pants to school each day. Yeah, that would have been me, so I said nothing.

The first day, one of the instructors said the last boy out of the locker room would have to do the “chicken dance” in front of the girls, and vice-versa. This got the kids moving at warp speed. It is possible the “chicken dance” is just an urban legend, because I never actually saw it performed.

I never got around to grading any of those papers, what with taking photos of my students and passing out towels and all. But I had plenty of time to check out the other people at the pool. Not a lot of hotties swim during school hours. Like I said – “R” rated. We were sitting there one day when a guy walked by, his trunks clinging for dear life to his back side. The other teacher turned to me and said just what I was thinking – “crack kills.” We both burst out laughing.

Remember, last one out has to do the “chicken dance!”

Photo Credit:  Chicken Dance by babka_babka on Flickr.

Old Cold Blues October 14, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Health, Teaching.
Tags: , , ,
4 comments

It’s Day 13 of my not-so-common cold, and today I lost my voice.  This does not bode well as when you’re a teacher you have to talk all day long. I’d like to believe my voice sounds sultry, even sexy, but in reality, I sound like a bullfrog in mating season one minute and Mickey Mouse the next.

For a week now, I’ve been taking anything that ends with -Quil, so I’m officially on Elvis Time. (see Quotation Rotation #1).  “Why don’t you just use sign language,” my oh-so-thoughtful students suggested. Yes, I do sign a lot of directions in my class.  But really, it’s not like I know how to sign, “Quit thumping that pencil.” (or I’m going to stick it in your ear). That, by the way, is an imperative sentence – something my students need to know next week for The Test.

I get two colds a year.  It could be worse, considering I’m surrounded by 20 kids whose first impulse when they feel like throwing up is to run toward me. “Teacher!  I feel sick!”  With outstretched arms, I form a cross with my fingers, as if to ward off vampires.  “Move away from the teacher, ” I repeat calmly, as I back away from them and toss them a plastic grocery bag. Whew! Another ticking biological bomb diffused.

The classroom is one big germfest, so I’m not the only one sick.  I looked over today and saw that my new student from Korea had a stalactite of snot hanging from his nose. We were just finishing the spelling pretest.  I’ve got some really good spellers who asked, “What about a challenge word?”  I didn’t hesitate. “Snotty,” I said, straight-faced, as I handed Mr. Stalactite a tissue.  In my class you get one tissue per day.  “Uno solamente,” I told him, forgetting, in my -Quil induced haze, that he speaks Korean.  If I didn’t ration tissues, the kids would go through two boxes a day, just so they can get out of their seat to get one, and then get out of their seat again to throw it away.  Repeat this ritual ten times a day – you get the picture.

I like to look at the glass (of Robitussin, that is) as half full, so I’m trying to look on the bright side. All my students spelled “snotty” correctly.

Coke for Breakfast August 12, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Food, Health.
Tags: , , , ,
4 comments

When my computer starts up in the morning, my husband likes to say, “That’s Jan booting up.” When I snap open the can of Coke that’s part of my not-so-balanced breakfast, he adds, “There’s the second sound that tells me she’s alive!” It’s pathetic, I know, but I’m a creature of habit. Besides, I’m a third generation Coca-Cola drinker.

I never knew my dad’s mom, as she died when he was a teenager. But he inherited her sterling silver coffee urn and liked to tell how she kept it filled with Coca-Cola. I thought this might have been because back then, it WAS the real thing. But Wikipedia set me straight. Although the formula for Coca-Cola was originally intended as a patent medicine (and did once contain an estimated 9 mg. of cocaine per glass), the “real thing” was removed in 1903. So my grandmother wasn’t a junkie – not unless that’s what YOU call someone who enjoys a Coke for breakfast. (For additional “Cokelore,” click here.)

The other story that was oft repeated about my grandmother was what happened when her daughter, after an argument, announced she was leaving home. My grandmother said, if that were the case, her daughter would leave the same way she arrived. She then proceeded to strip her naked and shove her out the front door. I think I would have had a lot more in common with my grandmother than just our love of Coca-Cola.

My mother liked to drink Coke. But once she switched to diet, I had no choice but to disown her. There’s only so much one can take and I don’t do diet. Really, my highly evolved taste buds can taste the difference.

When I was growing up, you could order a cherry Coke at the soda fountain and watch them squirt in the cherry syrup. It’s not the same in a can, so I don’t do Cherry Coke either. My friend, Kristina, likes to tease me that I’m old school as I’m the only one at school who keeps a Coca-Cola Classic in the fridge. At least I don’t have to worry about anyone else drinking it.

I actually drank Dr. Pepper for years. But after I was pregnant, I developed a craving for Coke. We were living in New York City when New Coke was introduced on April 23, 1985. This was a red letter date, as all dates pertaining to Coca-Cola are “red letter” dates. My taste buds knew instantly that New Coke was just a sad-ass version of Pepsi. What I loved about Coca-Cola was its battery acid tang.

Disgusted, I switched back to Dr. Pepper and cultivated a friendship with a woman whose husband managed the Gramercy Park Hotel, because the hotel had a stockpile of “old” Coke. It was like Prohibition, only the stakes were higher. When the New Coke fiasco ended (a little less than three months later on July 10th), old Coke was re-christened Coca-Cola Classic. Ah! It was back to my daily 14 ounces of sugar, caramel syrup, and caffeine – which I personally think deserves its own category on the food pyramid.

Yeah, I’ve heard all the stories about how, if you put a metal spoon in a glass of Coke overnight, it will be eaten away by the morning. But, I have an iron-clad stomach and am of the opinion that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. So I take take my Coke like I take my vitamins – once a day.

Done with the Sun July 23, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Health.
Tags: , , , , , ,
2 comments

It’s no secret.  I’m white, but not white like raw chicken.  I like to point out that although I have red hair, I don’t have freckles. My mother always said I was lucky to get my father’s olive complexion.  As a child, I found this confusing because when I held up a cocktail olive next to my skin, I couldn’t see a match.

Last year I decided that a hat, sunglasses, and sun block were no longer enough.  I bought a lacquer-coated paper parasol like the ones I’ve seen Asian women carrying.  I read that for many Asians, it’s more of a cultural thing.  Historically, having a tan was a dead giveaway that you worked in the fields.  In the store, all folded up, the parasol looked like it had Chinese characters on it.  I imagined they said “Prosperity” or “Abundance.” But when I got the parasol home and opened it, those Chinese characters said “Skull and Crossbones.”  Oops!

I wondered if this image, which I associate with a label that screams POISON, might alarm my students, so I worked on my comeback line.  “The sun is like poison to my skin,” I’d say.  I needn’t have bothered.  The first day I carried my parasol, a crowd of children yelled, Pirates of the Caribbean!  

When students asked where I’d gotten my parasol, I took to telling them I got it from a pirate who was in touch with his feminine side.  They’d walk off looking rather confused, but then I like to give kids something to think about.

What I’m going to say next is a little awkward seeing as I’m always the person reminding everyone to put on that SPF 60 sun block 30 minutes before they even think of going outside.  

Right now the skin on my back is the color of the pimento in that cocktail olive from so long ago.  Yes, I have a sunburn.  How could this have happened?

I went to the beach to meet my friends.  I don’t even like to go to the beach unless it’s at sunset or during the winter, but I do like my friends so I made what’s called a Small Sacrifice.  But then I did a bad, bad thing.  It was a gray cloudy day.  I was wearing a top with spaghetti straps and had my back to where the sun should have been.  By the time it occurred to me that maybe I should put on sun block, my back was toast. 

I’ve never understood those people who could spend an inordinate amount of time just lying in the sun with their eyes shut.  It’s like being a professional napper.  Growing up in Omaha, laying out on a towel in the grass just left you looking like a piece of meat set out on a place mat for the mosquitoes.  

My Aunt Lou from California used to come for a visit.  She was a bonafide sun worshipper and could have played “Leatherface” in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies sans make-up.  She was what you call a walking Cautionary Tale.

I did have a great tan – once.  One Spring Break in college, five of us drove 18 hours from Lawrence, Kansas to Padre Island, Texas, where we proceeded to dedicate ourselves to getting a tan the first day.  We were young and full of attitude, so we failed to factor in the change in latitude.  If so, we might have realized that laying out in the mid-day sun for four hours sauteeing in baby oil wasn’t a good idea.  

Sometime in the middle of that first night, I was awakened by the anguished cries of my friends, who’d cast off their sheets.  They now resembled two-legged lobsters hissing in a pot of boiling water.  By the next morning, I felt like the night watchman at the morgue.  I was flushed, but thanks to my olive complexion, at least I could stand up.  My friends pleaded with me to go find a remedy for this hell that was called Spring Break.

I walked over to the manager’s apartment and explained our dilemma to an elderly couple.  I could tell they’d heard this story before.  They motioned for me to follow them outside where they they hacked off a spike from a gigantic green alien life form.  

Now, you have to understand that we didn’t have succulents in Kansas, except for small potted ones at the dime store, and they could have been made of rubber for all I know.  I learned that this miraculous plant had a name – Aloe Vera.  I was informed that it worked on nuclear burns as well. This was before you could buy aloe vera at every grocery and drugstore, so it all seemed very exotic.  When I’d left my friends they were nearing nuclear meltdown, so I figured it was worth a try.

I returned brandishing the foot-long green pointy thing and announced that THIS was the cure.  I’m not sure what my friends expected, but it wasn’t THAT! I slit open the spike and scraped out the gooey green insides.  My friends lined up and I slathered the sticky paste over their backs, one-by-one, as they yelped in pain. Then, one-by-one, they stopped crying.  I’d found the cure!  

We avoided the beach the rest of our Spring Break.  Later, I heard about two students who had such bad sunburns, they were flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital.  So, in hindsight, my friends got off easy.  It also helped that this was pre Girls Gone Wild

A week after we’d returned to Kansas, I was sporting a bleached muslin Mexican shirt and the ultimate tan.  By the time it began peeling a week later, I didn’t care cause I was back to wearing long sleeves.  For some things, once is enough.  So, I’m done with the sun.  That is, as soon as my back is done peeling.