It was a year ago this week that, for the first time, I went through a Halloween Haunted House. I never thought I was haunted house material. So it was with some hesitation and – ok, let’s be honest – downright fear (but not for the usual reasons) that I somewhat reluctantly agreed to participate.
“No, really, it’s ok. I’ll wait for you guys in the car. I’ll be fine. Take your time. Have fun.”
Peter and Wayne weren’t letting me off that easily.
No, leave it to them to be good friends. The kind that go out of their way to help others do what they want to do but are too chicken to do. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
“Not a problem, Kris. I’m sure the operators of the haunted house have accommodated folks with mobility issues before. I’ll talk with them and we’ll figure it out.”
The response? “Of course, we’d be glad to accommodate. Come to the head of the line!”
There wasn’t going to be an easy way out of this one.
I was diagnosed at age seven with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. After the onset of JRA and its accompanying decreased mobility, walking in uneven, dark, moving spaces, surrounded by screaming, running, pushing, shoving kids wasn’t such an enticing idea.
My friends assured me they’d help, guide, and protect me. And they did. Amazingly so. If I’m ever in the trenches, I want them with me.
Wayne led the way. I hung onto Wayne’s waist. Peter hung onto mine. We maneuvered, slowly, carefully. It was a surprise to learn a haunted house might inspire more laughs than shrieks. It was even more surprising that they were my laughs.
The uncontrollable giggling wasn’t appreciated by the ghouls of the house. Because of my lack of stature, they automatically thought I was a kid. They repeatedly got in my face and walked alongside me, while I laughed hysterically the whole time. Ok, so ghouls don’t scare me. But give me an uneven surface, and whoa, baby. Now you’re talking.
And that’s what our little troop encountered next – the slanted room. Not a wimpy slant. We’re talking a full 45 degree slant. No way, no how, was this body going to navigate that room. With Wayne pulling and Peter pushing, and the monster of the room taking a time out to help, we conquered it. Hey, where’s our medal?
Other than Wayne carrying me up and down stairs, both guys calming my fears as the darkened ‘womb room’ pressed in around us, and scary creatures jumping at us from all angles, the haunted house was so uneventful. Yawn.
It was one of the funnest physical experiences I’ve known. No doubt our echoes of laughter can still be heard as new crowds excitedly navigate a certain Austin, Texas, haunted house.
May your Halloween be filled with as many laughs as eeks and shrieks.
“Boo to you, too!” Back at ya. Try harder next time.
This article appeared originally in The Journal of Nursing Jocularity. Published on IDA with permission.