of love, hornets and airbags

It's our seventeenth wedding anniversary.  Why the Universe would single out today as the day to hit me over the head with reminders, I haven't a clue.  It's not like I am not regularly grateful or anything. Geez. First of all, let me say that things started shaking up  three days ago.  While I was doing some work on my computer I noticed that Max was acting strange.  He was wiping his face on the floor with a force. When he looked up, the entire left side of his mouth was swollen, and getting bigger before my eyes.  It was creeping up to his eyes and down back to his ears.  I called Micha.  We threw Max in the car and shot down to the vet.  By the time we got there, he could not move his head at all.  The swelling had taken over his entire face,  his left eye was almost shut, and his neck was starting to blow up.  The vet took one look at him and announced "calabrone!"  Hornet sting.  On the mouth.  Not in the mouth.  Because had the sting been in the mouth, there probably would not have been enough time to save him.

Now, things like this can happen in the country.  Two hornet stings are strong enough to kill a horse, they say here.  Max got mainline hit of cortisone and a shot of antibiotics to help bring down his temperature, which had shot up from the shock.   He spent the next two days recovering on cortisone.   He woke up this morning and his face and head were normal again, and his appetite back to one hundred percent.

I didn't spend too much time dwelling on the what if's of losing Max because it all worked out fine.   This morning, my dear sweet helper Veronica showed up and was cleaning the room of guests that had left early to take a magical balloon ride over the Piemontese hills.  Micha had just left the house to do the shopping.  Veronica had barely gotten the bed made when the phone rang.  Micha's car had been hit, head on,  by a pick up truck careening around a curve that had crossed over into the oncoming lane, just two miles from our house.   I have lived in fear of this happening since moving here.  People drive like maniacs in Italy. I cannot tell you how many near misses we have had since moving here.  Several dozen at least. The statistics have finally caught up with us.

Micha was in shock, the other guy injured.  I hung up the phone yelled up to the room,"Veronica!  Chiavi!  Macchina! Andiamo! Micha! Incedente!" We piled into Veronica's twenty year old Panda and found Micha and the other driver on the side of the road, the cars blocking the street.  The other driver did not want us calling the police.  He had points. He'd lose his license.  But he was injured, possibly with fractured ribs. Veronica put her foot down nicely and made the call.    In the mean time, Micha's shoulder started to hurt and I noticed that his arm was bruised.  First the police arrived.  Then we kept hearing the ambulance, but clearly they were having problems finding the accident site.  Then we heard a helicopter. I looked at the cop.  No, I eyed at him.  Si, he said.  If the ambulance couldn't find us, the helicopter would.   I felt like the entire Italian Army was arriving. Just then, a fire truck came screaming down the street, followed by the ambulance.  Thirteen people exited those two vehicles.  They just kept pouring out.  They had gas masks on. I thought there might have coincidentally been a nuclear explosion in addition to the accident, judging from the response.  Everybody made sure that Veronica and I were ok (we assured them we were and in fact had not been in the accident at all) and Micha and the other driver were escorted off in the ambulance to the hospital for a complete health check up.  I went over and looked in our car.

Both airbags had deployed. I thought about how fortunate we were.  Had it been Veronica, in her airbag-less Panda, she would have been very seriously injured or worse.  Much worse.

While Micha got taken off to the ospidale, we went home, and Veronica finished the house cleaning.  Our adorable guests arrived back from their balloon adventure, during which he had asked her to marry him and she accepted.  They were overjoyed, elated!   I was elated for them.  I grabbed a bottle of champagne, gave it to them, and Veronica, Max and I rushed back to the hospital to get Micha.  He had been x-rayed and was fine, just bumps and bruises.   The other driver was still in treatment.

I am so grateful that no one was gravely injured.

I look at my dog and my husband and the pictures of my wedding and I think how lucky I am.  That twisted piece of metal, the one that has transported us safely from point a to point b for four years did well to protect the person I love.  We are car-less for the next couple of days - that's what happens on the weekends in the country in Italy - rental car offices close.

So our little bed and breakfast is full of love today, my husband and I on our anniversary, celebrating car-less with our once-again healthy dog, and our guests calling their friends and family everywhere in celebration of their love. The loving friendship of a beautiful girl who stood with us like family today and helped us at one of those moments when being foreigners is not a heck of a lot of fun.  Love all around, there is, on our hill in Piemonte.

Thank goodness my boys are both fine. Hold each other tight, folks, life is so precious.