I admit I am an adrenaline junkie. I have a need for speed, love a good rush and look for ways to release the adrenaline flowing through my veins: big water rafting, cycling, running, bungee jumping, skydiving. When none of those are available, I hop on a roller coaster!
Luckily I have a sweet amusement park 20 minutes from me, that features "The Corkscrew," and the "Yankee Cannonball." The Cannonball is an ancient roller coaster, you know, the wooden ones that shake, rattle and roll. Scary and thrilling. Last time I went on it, I could barely move my neck. So last night I tried the Corkscrew, a metal, smooth gliding, super fast coaster that goes upside down... all while it's playing "Stayin' Alive." Really.
But this one also gave me a supreme headache. I have a touch of arthritis in my neck, and am noticing it more and more as I get older. I need to take care of my head.
So do our kids with hemophilia. As coasters get more rickety, or faster... we need to protect their heads. How safe are roller coasters anyway?
In one report, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio stated that about 4,000 injuries happen annually from roller coaster rides. This begs the question: are they safe for children with hemophilia, aside from accidents?
First, take some common-sense precautions:
1. Obey the listed age, height, weight, and health restrictions. Your child grows each year grown since last year — is he tall enough to make it? Don’t let him get on if he isn't.
2. Watch the ride first, so you know what to expect. See how riders are loaded and unloaded. Watch how the safety belts are fastened first, so that when you get on the ride, you know what to do.
3. Ask the park employee questions what they think. Tell them to double check your safety belt.
4. Keep you head, hands, arms legs and feet inside the ride at all times. It’s important to keep all body parts inside the vehicle while it’s moving. Put you hands in the air for that first drop, but be sure to return them to your car for the next part of the ride.
5. Keep your eyes looking forward and your head up to protect your neck from injury. Roller coasters are prone to sudden accelerations and abrupt changes in direction. Keep you head up and looking forward to ensure the sudden jerks don’t hurt your neck. (I cradled mine against the head rest to prevent the neck-snapping turns)
6. Wait until instructed to remove your safety belt/lap bars/shoulder harnesses and exit the ride.
7. Take frequent breaks between roller coaster rides. Give your body time to rest and readjust before jumping onto the next coaster. If you start to feel unwell, dizzy, nauseated, don’t ride!
8. Don’t get on a ride that looks poorly maintained. If your gut tells you that wooden coaster looks too rickety, opt out. Especially on those road-side, temporary carnivals.
9. Never stand up while a ride is in motion. If something happens and the ride stops mid-ride, fight the urge, stay seated, and wait for an operator to give further instructions.
10. Give your child a prophy dose before going to the park. Bring his supplies with you… just in case! And have him wear his medical ID jewelry.
Book I Just Read
Easy to read, sentimental, and recommended by a friend, I was unfortunately one of the 97 out of over 4,000 on Amazon.com who just couldn’t get into this fictional book. A story told by Enzo, a dog, whose owner wants to pursue his dream to be a world-class sports car racer, it’s also a story about grief, loss, statuatory rape, separation… all heavy topics related by a dog, which doesn’t act or sound like a dog. It’s a bit gimmicky; the writing is not that good, and it’s just not a sophisticated book. A much better book with the POV of a dog is A Dog’s Purpose, or even better The Story of Edger Sawtelle. My apologies to all those who loved this book. One out of five stars.