Saturday, February 13, 2010

Popcorn burns retina

Val with tiger shark

I was secretly glad and selfishly anticipating a proper night's rest when my French-Canadian roommate flew back to Florida with a medical emergency.

Val arrived at the Sharklab with allergies the three dogs further aggravated, asthma the humidity made worse and bronchitis, its accompanying cough ricocheting off our thin-walled 2.5 meter by five meter room that ensured a wake-up call two hours before I was required to be at the multi-national breakfast table.

When not hacking up parts of her respiratory system at 1,3,4 and again at 6 AM, I really enjoyed being around her. In the two weeks she was here, we shared our mutual deep love of the boreal, the wonder of the sea and our longing for Canadian bacon. Collectively, the lab's volunteers and staff entertained her notion that a microwave could be brought on board to pop popcorn if a sufficient number of extension cords were found.

"Just don't get them caught in the prop," fellow Canadian and lab co-manager Sean cautioned straight faced.

Later that week, after popping a bag of popcorn in the kitchen to take on the boat for the day, Val excitedly opened the steaming bag, her right eye on a kernel's steam-propelled projection path. A trip to the bravely staffed and inadequately supplied clinic confirmed her greatest fear - that she'd have to leave the Sharklab and seek medical attention back in Florida.

She flew out the next morning and had surgery to repair the burned area of her eye. Val emailed a few days after assuring everyone at the lab that she was going to recover, but likely would not be returning.

No comments:

Post a Comment