Ah yes…ads coming fast and furious now…“See You At The Shore!”
The annual ritual serving to remind everyone who lives in the Philadelphia area they still reside close to one edge of the United States of America is well underway…also known as the Jersey Shore/Memorial Day Weekend promotions.
The Philadelphia media and the State of New Jersey conspire each May to brainwash people there’s something magical – almost spiritual – about the first unofficial weekend of summer at the Jersey Shore. TV and radio stations send their best and brightest to the boardwalks and beaches to interview those who know no other way of life than to be at the Jersey Shore to start their summertimes.
Good luck with that.
I know better. It wasn’t a Memorial Day Weekend when I found out…but nonetheless…I’m wise to the Jersey Shore experience.
Mind you, this tale happened over two decades ago…but it left an indelible impression that has kept me from the Jersey Shore…at least the beaches and the ocean…to this very day. It is not a tale for the faint-of-heart.
A Saturday afternoon…my wife and I spending a full day at the Jersey Shore…sunbathing on the beach…swimming in the ocean…feeding the local establishments money while they fed us. Perfect weather. Not a cloud in the sky. Warm.
Fast forward to Sunday evening…where I start to feel a tad warm prior to turning in for the night. Wrote it off to a little sunburn. No biggie.
It is now Monday at noon. I am at work. I go to stand up and realize only one leg really wants to. The other one disagrees. Specifically, the foot on that leg has increased in size, almost parallel to the increased size of my ankle…this having been discovered by removing my shoe – with some difficulty – and taking my sock off.
The foot was blueish-red in hue and there was a reddish mark up the back of my ankle. All I could think of was this just isn’t the way I found my foot and ankle when I woke up this morning. It certainly isn’t how they are supposed to look under any circumstances.
My wife came to get me at work. I was in enough discomfort by then I could not even put my shoe back on to drive. We hurried off to an urgent care facility up the road from work. Upon arrival and presenting my foot and ankle for consultation, they urgently sent us back down the road a couple miles to a foot specialist.
The foot specialist hustled us into his examination room…took one look at my predicament…told me to get on my stomach…and told my wife and I he needed to get as much pus out of the area as possible. Now.
Pus was not a word I was used to hearing very often…but I didn’t have a lot of time to consider its meaning.
Pain of unimaginable proportions followed as the specialist pushed as hard as he could on my engorged area, which at that point was hurting quite enough that he really didn’t need to pile on. But he did pile on. And as it turned out, he needed to.
The next bit of information my wife and I received…I was off to the hospital for the rest of the week. It was deemed I had an infection that entered my foot and subsequently my blood stream. I had to be flushed out to ensure all was well…and the punchline was if I had waited a tad longer to seek medical assistance I might have lost the foot.
I was discharged from the hospital Friday morning. During that time, all the medical community could conclude was I had a soft blister on the back of my foot from a new pair of shoes. The blister was not broken at all…but whatever was in that bloody ocean got into my blood…and the rest was history.
Fortunately, my foot was not history.
That is my story. While I have since gone back to the Jersey Shore (NOT during Memorial Day…are you kidding?…too crowded!), I have never dipped a toe in the ocean. Haven’t strolled the beaches once. Don’t feel like I’m missing a thing. If I did, I could always turn on the TV… every Memorial Day…for Shore.