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I Was a Fish Out of Water, and My Tank Was Dry

Hermit crab essay: a life lesson while travelling

By Sandi ParsonsPublished about a year ago 5 min read
Photo Credit: Sandi Parsons

Main Course: Recipe for Realising You Really Do Need a Lung Transplant After All


  • 1 set of manky lungs, verging on respiratory failure
  • 1 thirty-seven-year-old with attitude
  • 1 baffled transplant team
  • 1 resigned Cystic Fibrosis (CF) medical team
  • 1 oxygen concentrator
  • 1 flooded holiday destination
  • 1 portable pharmacy
  • 3 flights of stairs
  • 1 elderly couple with walking aids
  • 1 beach
  • Method

    First, stir up the transplant team using the thirty-seven-year-old with attitude. Whip them into a frenzy by discussing plans to go on an overseas holiday. This must occur BEFORE official placement on the transplant waitlist.

    The baffled transplant team will react like curdled milk. Do not panic; official transplant waitlist status has not yet occurred, and their objection is vetoed.

    Insert the resigned CF medical team into the mix. They will (once again) come to the rescue. Having worked with the thirty-seven-year-old with attitude previously, they understand she doesn’t crumble and requires additional processing time before she can embrace the transplant process.

    Next, throw an oxygen concentrator and a portable pharmacy into the pot.

    Keep blending until all the weather elements combine, causing a deluge of rain. Place the holiday destination into a fresh mixing bowl and dump the deluge of rain on top.

    This will cause the bowl to flood. Don’t panic. The aim is to limit power to the hotel in the holiday destination, thereby knocking out the elevators.

    You’ll know you have achieved this when the thirty-seven-year-old with attitude has to climb three flights of stairs with manky lungs, verging on respiratory failure. It should take thirty minutes for the stair climbing, including rest breaks on each floor.

    It goes without saying that the portable oxygen concentrator the thirty-seven-year-old with attitude has lugged from Australia to Thailand will not mix with the limited electrical power supply and refuse to work.

    This is quite an important step. The combination of three flights of stairs, mixed with the (faulty) oxygen concentrator, allows the thirty-seven-year-old with attitude to realize all the crutches she’s been using in daily life have masked the decline in her lungs. The manky lungs, verging on respiratory failure, are, in fact, much closer to giving out than she thought.

    The flooded bowl holding the holiday destination ensures the hotel is cut off from the rest of the island. This leaves one street to walk up and down. The thirty-seven-year-old with attitude will joke that this is okay because she can only walk up and down one street. But there will be no laughter, because the manky lungs, verging on respiratory failure couldn’t cope with the coughing fit that would result from actual laughter.

    It’s time to increase the temperature and add the beach before introducing an elderly couple with walking aids and bringing the mixture to a boil.

    First, start with a beach walk. The thirty-seven-year-old with attitude and manky lungs, verging on respiratory failure will believe she is coping exceptionally well. After all, it’s only a stroll on the beach. Her husband will carry her bag and do all the talking because the manky lungs, verging on respiratory failure lost the ability to walk and talk at the same time months ago.

    By now, the mixture should have a good simmer on. Add in the elderly couple with walking aids. They will overtake the thirty-seven-year-old with attitude as if she was standing still.

    And it is at that moment, there on the beach, that the thirty-seven-year-old with attitude will bubble over as she realizes she is running out of options. She isn’t losing a battle to Cystic Fibrosis. She’s about to lose the whole goddam war.

    It seems like a lot of trouble to get to a 40-minute beach walk — trust me; it’s worth it. This beach walk needed to occur to change her attitude.

    Voila! Recipe complete: resulting in acceptance that listing for transplant is now her only hope to survive past the next 12 months…

    Dessert: Recipe for Saving a Life


  • 1 family who says “Yes” to organ donation
  • 1 outstanding surgical team
  • 1 thirty-eight-year-old with attitude who’s too stubborn to die
  • 1 cherry (optional)
  • Start with the thirty-eight-year-old with attitude who’s too stubborn to die and knead until she is clinging to life by her fingernails. At the very last possible moment before she sours, insert a family who says “Yes” to organ donation into the bowl.

    Blend the two ingredients together using an outstanding surgical team working in sync.

    Note: this stage will take approximately eight hours.

    After the outstanding surgical team work their magic, the ingredients combine to create a Guardian to Gifted Lungs. You can end the recipe there, but I like to leave it to sit for a few years. Let it age and mature before you add the cherry on top.

    When matured, take the Guardian to Gifted Lungs back to Koh Samui and walk that beach once more.

    This is a saucy little dessert that can talk, walk, carry her own bag and accomplish the feat in 7 minutes.

    Walking Chaweng Beach, April 2017 | Photo Credit: Grant Parsons

    Sandi Parsons is an award-winning school librarian with over 20 years experience working in educational libraries. She lives with her favorite husband and two problem puppies. She doesn’t believe she is inspirational — just stubborn and hard to kill, like a cockroach.

    I Was a Fish Out of Water, and My Tank Was Dry was first published in Coffee Times and was the winning entry for the Coffee Challenge 5 (CC5) a life lesson while travelling.


    About the Creator

    Sandi Parsons

    Sandi Parsons lives and breathes stories as a reader, writer, and storyteller. Subscribe to my newsletter & receive my free ebook The Last Walk → https://bit.ly/3cGvsPB

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