It was supposed to be a fun, family trip to the White Mountains. You know, leaf peeping, Santa's Village, Storyland, Clark's Trading Post. Time spent as a whole family unit, not divided into me and Tessie in one place (like a hospital or doctor's office) and Charlie, Blake and Ellie in another. Just like in previous years, we would be going with Dad and Ann and my brother's family. This is a trip that I have been going on with my dad since I was a little girl. Some of the players have changed through the years but the trip itself is still the same. And I love it.
I should have saw the first warning sign on Friday night when I was packing. I was just getting everything all together while my hubby was getting The Toots ready for bed when I heard the call come through the walls..."Joanna, I think she is having a seizure." Translation, "Joanna, get in here now!".
I ran into The Toot's room and sure enough she was hard into it. My hubby and I did the usual soothing talk, stroking Tessie's arms and legs, getting the oxygen, timing the seizure, and basically waiting it out while trying to remain cool and casual as the minutes ticked by until we would have to give the emergency medicine. At that point we gave the med, gave her oxygen and hoped it would break the seizure. That, for me, is the worst point out of the whole event because what if the medicine doesn't work? The wait is almost painful in it's intensity.
But work it did so we put The Toots to bed and I finished packing. Was there just a little squirmy feeling in my gut that maybe something was brewing? Sure. Did I ignore it? Absolutely.
We got up and made the first ferry which is no small feat when trying to get five people out of the door by six-thirty a.m., one of whom is in need of total assistance.
We got to the mainland and ran a few errands before striking out for the White Mountains. I insisted that I had to get The Toots some Tylenol suppositories (she cannot take any fever relievers other than those because of her special diet) because I had only bought a small package of them and wanted to have more on hand in case she developed a fever unexpectedly. Was she showing any signs that she was getting sick? No. What prompted my insistence that I get those suppositories? Like I told my hubby later, "I'm just that good." Haha...
We finally hit the road and were about thirty minutes into our three and a half hour drive when I turned to my hubby and said, "I don't remember seeing the big, black suitcase. You packed it, right?". Dead silence. Then a very slow and grim shaking of his head. I thought he was messing with me. He wasn't. I was so mad I almost couldn't get the words out to give him hell. But I managed.
After several minutes of listening to us bicker back and forth about who was to blame, Ellie, the voice of reason, piped up from the back seat and basically told us to suck it up and stop arguing because it didn't matter who forgot the stupid suitcase. We had to go back and get it. That's my girl.
We turned around and went back to Rockland while I frantically called my mom and asked her to get it to the next boat which was due to leave in about seven minutes. We figured she would never make it because there just wasn't enough time but she pulled the rabbit out of the hat and got it there with a minute to spare. Anyone who has ever seen my mother drive will understand how she accomplished such a miraculous feat.
Blake insists that forgetting the suitcase was a sign that this trip was not meant to be. She could be on to something.
An hour and a half later we picked up the suitcase and hit the road. Again. Then we got to Fryeburg. It was the weekend of the Fryeburg Fair and the traffic was backed up for miles. It was almost surreal. We waited and waited and waited. Moving about ten feet every five minutes or so. Finally, we got the hell out of there as I cursed every person who ever went to the Fair. Then we got to North Conway. But wait, what's that? More traffic? Nooooooooo.......
It took us just under two hours to travel the eight miles to our hotel. I started talking about buying an Oozie (not sure if that is how you spell that type of gun?) and taking out other people. Ellie and I were laughing quite hard over it but my hubby seemed a bit concerned for my sanity. Or his life. Who knows?
At any rate, while sitting in traffic I noticed that Toodle Bug was doing an awful lot of sneezing and going into uncontrollable coughing jags. I tried so hard to shrug it off. But I knew. I knew, I knew, I knew. After all, this was not my first time at the rodeo as far as The Toots was concerned and I had heard her make those sneezy, coughy noises in the past. Always right before she got really sick.
We finally made it to the hotel around five-thirty which meant that we had been in our car for eleven hours. Blake had jumped in with Dad and Ann earlier that morning to ride with them so they, along with my brother's family, had gotten there hours before us and had even gone to Storyland and had some fun. No biggie. We would have fun the next day and that was what I really wanted to do anyway...Santa's Village and Clark's Trading Post.
After we all had dinner together in my brother's room, I took Tessie to our room for bed. By this point I could no longer ignore the fact that she was getting sick but I was just hoping she wouldn't get much worse. Dare to dream, I guess.
Around four-thirty in the morning I was awakened by some kind of animal barking. No, wait a second, that was Tessie making those god awful noises. I jumped up and told my hubby to get up and poor Tessie was struggling to breathe. We grabbed the oxygen and gave her that for a minute and then we ran the shower on hot to try to get the steam to help her break up her cough because it was so bad. We were debating about going to the ER when I bit the bullet and called nurse Sheila.
I frantically told her what was going on and asked her for some advice. Thank God for Sheila. She eased my quickly growing panic and told us what to do. We got Tessie settled back down and all went back to bed still foolishly hoping that by morning she would rally enough for us to be able to finish our trip.
102.5 degree fever at seven meant our trip was over. The Toots was so sick she could barely keep her eyes open and I did not want to be alone to take care of her in a hotel room in a city where I did not know where to go for help. Sheila to the rescue once again. She told us to bring Tessie to her and she would take care of her.
We told Blake and Ellie that we had to leave and that was the worst part for me. Most people do not understand how very little we really get to do with them anymore. Partly because they are growing up and are doing their own thing but mostly because Tess requires so very much of our time and attention. And it is something that my hubby and I frequently ask ourselves, "Do Blake and Ellie resent the time that Tessie takes up?" They love their sister dearly but it must get old for them. It must get frustrating. But they never complain about it other than to ask when I have been away for more than a night or two with Tessie, "When are you coming home?".
As usual, they took it like the troopers that they are and smiled and kissed and hugged us goodbye as they went off for a day of family fun without their family (well, sister and parents).
I smiled and joked with them as they left and told them to have fun and then sobbed all the way back through North Conway. My hubby, obviously thinking that I was worried about Tessie, reached over and patted my leg and said, "She'll be okay." I looked at him like he had just dropped in from Mars and said, selfish to the core, "I'm not crying about Tessie (of course I was, in part). I am crying because I wanted to go to Santa's Village and Clark's and because I never get to do anything with Blake and Ellie!"
I sobbed and carried on for a while about the unfairness of it all and then decided to put on my big girl panties and just deal with it. This is my life now and fighting what is happening and feeling sorry for myself only makes it that much harder on me and everyone around me. I also thought about the saying that tells how we can't change what happens to us but we can change our attitude toward what happens.
And like my NanaBelle used to say, "What will be, will be"...