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Hebdomas Horriblis (or, what happened to us)

I’m sure many of you thought that we just tired of writing – that, having safely landed in the U.S. of A., we no longer wanted to blog, or maybe, even, that we didn’t feel we had something to say. None of that is true.

We just had an incredibly cruddy week full of surprises (not good ones) and stress, and even overwhelming exhaustion.

It was a horrible week. Like Queen Elizabeth’s Annus Horriblis in 1997 (a year in which lots of bad things happened to the UK’s royal family) our week was a hebdomas (best Latin for “week,” a word that doesn’t actually exist in Latin, lol) horriblis.

It began - with apologies to good friends on whose property this happened without their knowledge - with me being incredibly klutzy and wiping out by tripping over – yes, you read it here folks – a blade of grass. No kidding. It was wet. It jumped in front of me, waving its little two-inch form and causing me to faceplant into another group of grass, scratching my watch, my knee, my cheek and my wrist. It hurt. But it wasn’t that big an issue – I was sore, and I had a little blood going on, but it was just the same kind of fun thing I’ve practiced often in other places, IKEA for instance. Sigh.

Had I known what the week was going to bring, I might just have camped out on that treacherous patch of wet grass.

We got off the Royal Princess on Sunday, November 5, spent the day with friends, returned to our hotel, laughed about my incredible klutziness, and went to bed. Monday morning, Pete was sick.

It progressed from there. Part of the unique story we have as a couple is his previous near-fatal bout with pancreatitis. We have discussed many times with his doctor how we will be able to distinguish the return of pancreatitis versus a stomach ‘flu. The only way is to trace the markers for pancreatitis – vomiting, upper right quadrant pain and fever. Monday he had the first. In spades. AND he was dizzy. AND he almost passed out in the parking lot of the ER. AND he just couldn’t stop losing his breakfast. AND this pretty much continued until Tuesday night.

But I’m ahead of myself. I drove him to the hospital, conveniently located only about three miles from our Tamarac hotel. The lane to the ER was narrow and fully parked … and Pete urgently had to get out. I was trying to find a way to shrink the rental SUV into a smaller space so an ambulance, for instance, could pass, when he rapped on the driver’s side window. “I’m going to pass out,” he said.

I yelled for the security guard, and left the rental car, keys in the ignition and car on, with a bag in the back seat with two iPads, two iPhones, two wallets and two sweaters in it … but we made it inside.

No fever (he had already assured me he had no pain). No pancreatitis. No pneumonia. No real diagnosis, but some relief that nothing awful was going on.

But he was SICK. He was exhausted, dizzy, light-headed, nauseous. He could barely walk without one of those symptoms rearing its ugly head. The doctor thought getting on a plane wasn’t a good idea, especially since he couldn’t stop throwing up long enough to get in a car. Drive home? Ok. IF WE MUST.

Tuesday morning we began the odyssey. In the sixteen hours we drove (yes, he drove about three, mostly when I was eating) we narrowly avoided two accidents that we know of – one when an errant 4x4 flew off a truck right in front of us, and another, much more dramatic, when the travel trailer in front of us blew out a tire, and some other parts, too. I thought our bumper had a magnet attached to it, the way that hubcap seemed to hone in on our car … but fortunately, by the grace of God (and lucky driving), I was able to avoid it. We stopped late at night in Roanoke Rapids, NC., too exhausted to sleep, and with Pete sicker than ever.

Wednesday dawned with rain and gloom, and it was markedly colder. Great. The windshield wipers on the car were not that effective, and I was worried – this was the day for all the big cities: Richmond, Washington, Baltimore, Frederick … but it went well, albeit slowly, and we made it home. Since then, he’s gotten better each day, but it’s not been a fast, or an easy process. He’s still sick, tired, dizzy, but markedly better than before. Thank God it wasn’t pancreatitis.

That Monday, right after we got off the Royal, I wrote four blogs for Two To Go. I wanted to fix the others that didn’t get posted right due to the incredibly awful internet service in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (go figure). Nothing got done, but I didn’t forget about it. It just didn’t make the cut with all the drama that was going on.

This is simply the reality of our lives, and the reality of our travel. This is what makes us unique. And, yes, this is, in a weird way, what drives us.

I am not going to let pancreatitis (or anything else) win. I am going to wring the most travel, the most connection, the most love out of every trip, every time, every year.

If we’re able, and God allows, we’re going to continue to explore, have adventures, experience the world. And do it together. I know we’ve been blessed to be able to do this, but I’m done apologizing for that. No one knows what tomorrow brings, and I’m not willing to miss anything with this man I’m madly in love with.

Stay tuned! Our next adventure, with God’s grace, is less than three months away.

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