Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Losing Lego hair

Grandpa D sans Lego hair

This happened a long time ago, but since part of the artifact remains a cherished item in the household, I'll share its story.

For one whole calendar year, we lived in Bristol, UK. About a week after we moved there, I got pneumonia with an asthma attack and took my first-ever ride in an ambulance to the Southmeade Hospital emergency room. This was a very exciting event for son G., who was not yet four: he got to ride in the back of the van and the nice EMT showed him all the equipment! (I, on the other hand, was pretty sure that this time, after a life of attacks, I wasn't going to survive. It was one of only three times I was in true panic.)

Anyway, we got to the hospital and to the chagrin of doctors and aides, I had this little hyper child with me. Everyone who came in kept frowning and told me I was going to have to "take care of that." Right. I have an oxygen mask, am tethered to an IV, and I'm supposed to--what? Walk him home, where there's no one to watch him? Call all the neighbors, who are at work and oh by the way are still strangers? Give me a break.

Eventually I was admitted, and my husband and G came to visit me. G brought with him a number of Lego items and some cars to play with. The favorite of the day was his race car driver. At that time, the driver had really big black Lego hair that looked just like a bad Elvis wig (the early Elvis). He also had a helmet that fit over the hair. We liked the driver because it reminded G of his maternal grandfather back in California. He was a fantastic mechanic who could build cars from the ground up, and in retirement he spent his free time racing. But Grandpa D was now also undergoing treatment for lung cancer. Bad as that sounds, his prospects were favorable and tumors were disappearing.

Back to G. While bored out of his mind during the visit, he pulled off the toy driver's helmet and the hair popped off, too, and the hair flew out of the helmet and boinked across the floor to land somewhere under my bed. Crisis! We kept telling him not to get down on the floor (nasty! and I had been there five days so I KNEW they hadn't swabbed it once!). So the hair was gone. Later I looked for it, but never found it.

The resultant driver looked more like my dad than ever! Without the hair, the sunglasses really showed up better--just the same shape as Grandpa's real sunglasses. And the head was exactly as square on its skinny neck as Grandpa's. But the funniest part (well, one of those things that's both funny and sad at the same time) was that Grandpa had lost his dark wavy hair to chemo. So it was a metaphor that had come to life!

The figure had metamorphosized to mimic the real person. All of us recognized it and started laughing. So the Lego grandpa took the official name of Grandpa D. We still laugh at it whenever it turns up.

And, no, though the figure has changed a great deal--notable limb loss--the real Grandpa D fortunately never was a multiple amputee.


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