Thursday, March 15, 2012

The DC Disaster

   News story this morning: A local student band went on a trip to NYC. On their last night, they ate dinner at an Italian restaurant before boarding their buses to come home. And shortly thereafter, thirty-five of them got sick on the bus & had to spend the night at a hospital in Pennsylvania: food poisoning and dehydration.   This was a total case of deja vu for me. My 8th grade class took a bus trip to Washington DC. We spent several days visiting the Smithsonian, the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Capitol building, and the National Gallery of Art, among others. It was a fantastic trip.
   On the last night, we ate Italian food at the restaurant in the hotel, boarded the buses, and settled in for sleeping the hours away as we headed home. It was supposed to be peaceful. But somewhere in Virginia, everyones' stomachs went south, and we made an unscheduled stop at an emergency room. I was one of the unlucky ones with stomach cramps and vomiting. One of my friends, Amy, started to suffer from hypoglycemia, and John, who was diabetic, began to have seizures. As they were seated in the row right behind me, it was really scary. We too were diagnosed with food poisoning and dehydration. Imagine an emergency room full of exhausted, sick eighth graders in the middle of the night. Eventually we were evaluated, treated, and were returned to the bus.
   Of course, I was in eighth grade well before the invention of cell phones, so parents, expecting us to arrive back at the school at 6 or 7 am, learned through a series of calls that we would be delayed. They were excited when we finally returned several hours behind schedule, and we were very glad to be home!
   Soon after, one of the parents came up with a fundraiser idea: she sold bright gold shirts with big blue letters that said, "I survived the DC disaster!" I had mine for years. Kind of wondering if it's still somewhere in Mom's house. My heart goes out to this band, as I know all too well what that experience was like!