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One of the best trips I’ve ever taken was to Santa Fe, New Mexico, with my two best girlfriends. We’ve known one another since high school. The stores on Santa Fe’s plaza and the art galleries on Canyon Road beckoned us with bold brush strokes and shiny silver and turquoise baubles. Stores where your gold and platinum cards are welcome before you are.

I bought a custom-made paper bracelet and a series of x-rays taken of me at the emergency room in Santa Fe.

The week before our trip I had a bladder infection. Antibiotics and a gallon of cranberry juice and all was well, but two days into our trip… My right kidney felt like I’d been in a WWE Smackdown. A call to my doctor at home produced phrases like “abscessed kidneys,” “loss of function” and a strong suggestion I visit the local emergency room.

At the hospital I listed my girlfriends, Gayle and Lee, as my next of kin. Sisters born of love not blood. The three of us trooped down the hall to the x-ray room; me in my hospital gown, cowboy boots and a blue hospital sheet I tie-wrapped around my waist and made into a midi skirt plus a peach blanket I draped over my shoulder like a serape. Ralph Lauren ER chic.

We should have been drinking margaritas instead of wondering if I had serious kidney problems. To pass the time Lee took pictures of me on the gurney; of me and Gayle on the gurney; of Gayle passing out Oscar Meyer Weiner whistles… I still don’t know where she got them.  

“Maybe the hospital can pierce your ears while we wait,” Lee suggested. We laughed until I feared the hospital would throw us out for bothering the woman in the cubicle across the way.

Like a bolt of lighting a strange-looking man ripped the curtain back and stepped into our cubicle. He smelled of alcohol and was naked except for a pair of orange boxer shorts. On his head was a towering mass of matted hair that looked like Marge Simpson’s “do” except his was lopsided and coal black. Gayle screamed, and in a few seconds two policeman appeared with sheepish smiles and led him away in handcuffs.  

When my doctor arrived he put my x-rays on the light box. “You have some interesting things going on here,” he said. He pointed to a cloudy mass in my colon.

“You have what we typically refer to as FOS.”

Gayle and Lee started to snicker. 

“It’s probably been there since late last year,” he continued, well-aware that the new year was only a few days old. The corners of his mouth turned upward, and he and Gayle and Lee began laughing. “FOS,” he said. “Full of shit.”

“Oh no,” I said, still not getting that he was saying I had a world-class case of constipation pushing on my kidney. “That’s cheese. I usually don’t eat cheese, because it gets “stuck,” but I’ve had lots of cheese over the holidays.”

“That may be,” he said, tapping once again on my x-rays. “But that’s not cheese.”

“Oh, but I drink plenty of water and exercise every day,” I said, still in denial that I was impacted with ancient fecal matter.

“That may be,” he said, again. “But this is pushing on your kidney. A good laxative and you should be fine.” 

How far would you go to have a great vacation? I went to Santa Fe’s emergency room and spent the day with my girlfriends, savoring our similarities and learning from our differences. In many respects we’re still the same girls we were at 15. We have a trust born of youthful innocence and nurtured by almost a lifetime of shared experiences.  

Regardless of where we go next year, I won’t be eating cheese.

Have you ever taken a great trip with your girlfriends?

Love, Brenda


  • Jean C December 8, 2018 at 5:27 am

    OMG! Oh, dear. But I’m so glad it ended up well (no pun). My best trips have been with my sister who’s a wonderful traveling companion. We spent a few days in San Francisco a couple of years ago and it was just the best time! We like a lot of the same activities. And this year, she and I did the Hadrian’s Wall hike for 12 days in England. What a memorable experience!

    • 1010ParkPlace December 11, 2018 at 4:23 pm

      Jean, LOL! Yes. All was well. I’ve been in the hospital probably two dozen times, but this was the most fun! I wasn’t familiar with Hadrian’s Wall so I looked it up. That must have been a great hike and the countryside looks beautiful. You and your sister are lucky to like the same things. xoxo, Brenda

  • Mary Lou December 8, 2018 at 8:54 am

    What an adventure!! A great story and lasting memory. 🙂

    • 1010ParkPlace December 11, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      It was, Mary Lou, and there’s more to tell. We try and go somewhere every year and always have such fun. Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate you! Brenda

  • Diane December 8, 2018 at 9:07 am

    What could have been an aggravating sideline to an otherwise wonderful trip became the stuff of legends with the right people in tow. Remind me to take you and your friends along on my next trip. Just in case! 😉

    • 1010ParkPlace December 11, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Hi Diane, I have a hunch your trips are fun as well… I read your blog!! xoxo, Brenda

  • Laura December 8, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Girlfriend trips are awesome! And as an ex-ER nurse, you are lucky the guy had in any clothes at all!!!

    • 1010ParkPlace December 11, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      Laura… LOL!!!!! I bet you saw it all, didn’t you? It takes guts and compassion to be a nurse, especially in the ER… and patience! Brava to you! I’m so impressed. Brenda

  • Sarah Katherine Gomm December 8, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    What an awesome story! That got a good guffaw out of me.

    • 1010ParkPlace December 11, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      I’m so glad, Sarah!! Thanks for reading and telling me! You made me smile. xoxo, Brenda

  • Mamavalveeta03 December 8, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Lol! You look adorable in the photo with your pretty pals! I’ve had a few great girlfriend trips. I’m hoping to have another one in January, when the women I met at the retreat in Pennsylvania last year reunite. Sometimes, a group just GELS.

    • 1010ParkPlace December 11, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Val, Thank you! We’re all a lot younger then. The trips you described are precious and few, especially when you didn’t know one another to begin with. Please tell me about it when you get home! xoxo, Brenda

  • Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski December 9, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Well, that’s something you’ll never forget, I bet. I always get backed up when I travel but haven’t ended up in the ER, so far. Good to know.

    • 1010ParkPlace December 11, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      Rebecca, Sometimes when I travel I stop at a grocery and buy yogurt or probiotics and keep it in the fridge in the room. If there’s no fridge, I’ll ice is down in the ice bucket. It’s no fun to be backed up! xoxo, Brenda

  • Cindy December 9, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Oh my gosh….the life experiences you have had! I’m sure the three of you relive this story over and over and laugh more each time. Girlfriends are the best. That cheese can get the best of us. It sure got to me on a trip to Washington DC with our best friends. Made for a lot of jokes the rest of our trip. You look just as beautiful now as you did in the picture with your two friends.

    • 1010ParkPlace December 11, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      Hi Cindy, We do laugh about this trip, a lot. My girlfriend had a new digital camera… when they first came out. She documented our hospital adventure, but when transferring it to her computer, she lost them. We especially wanted the one of us in the x-ray room. Thanks for the compliment. I don’t even want to think how “young” we were then.” At least my girlfriends touched up their makeup and had lipstick. xoxo, Brenda

  • Joan Stommen December 10, 2018 at 10:52 am

    What a fun and funny story! I take trips with my girlfriends too…always an adventure no matter how plans go astray. I need to write about some in a way that won’t offebd or identify any of them!
    Thank you for a delightful read this morning! Love it!

    • 1010ParkPlace December 12, 2018 at 4:59 pm

      Hi Joan! I’m so delighted you liked reading about our girlfriend trip! Traveling with women friends is a whole different dynamic than traveling with husbands, kids and family members. In some ways, I think we have more fun with our girlfriends. Awesome comment! Brenda

  • Haralee December 10, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Happy endings. Oh the puns are too much Brenda but I am happy you were fine and your girlfriends didn’t abandon you. You are lucky to have these 2 in your life!

    • 1010ParkPlace December 12, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      LOL!!! You’re funny, Haralee!! We three love one another so much! I can’t see us every abandoning one another! xoxo, Brenda

  • Leanne | crestingthehill December 10, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    I love the picture in my head of you and your girlfriends giggling like 12 year olds in the ED 🙂 Also glad it was only a poo problem and not something more serious to really wreck your holiday!

    • 1010ParkPlace December 13, 2018 at 7:57 am

      Hi Leanne, We laugh a lot, together. A shared history since we were 15 years old really does bond you like sisters. xoxox, Brenda

  • LA CONTESSA December 11, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    I just Opened a CARD from my HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND who I never hear from except CHRISTMAS TIME!Seems she follows MY BLOG!!!!!!NO COMMENTS NO EMAILS………………I FIND THIS TO BE SO STRANGE!!!!!
    I’m HAPPY FOR YOU as it could have been worse!YOUR TWO BUDDETTES SOUND FUN!!!!!
    I have been eating a lot of cheese lately and you know what?I’M NOT REGULAR ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!
    I wish we had a photo of you in your outfit!!!!!!!

    • 1010ParkPlace December 13, 2018 at 8:00 am

      Elizabeth, Well that’s frustrating! Old friends at least need to write a Christmas newsletter. I only have one friend who does that and includes photos. Not everyone does Facebook. Cheese gets me EVERY TIME!! I need to think before I eat it and decide if it’s worth it to me. About my outfit… It truly was a fashion statement. The only thing it was lacking was jewelry, bur then you can’t wear that in an x-ray. xoxox, Brenda

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