Saturday, October 18, 2008

What I Did on My Fall Vacation

This weekend, we headed out for our annual getaway to the Smokies with Cristi's family. For the third year in a row, we met Cristi's parents and sister and brother-in-law in Pigeon Forge, TN. Cristi's parents rented a cabin that's quite literally on the side of a mountain that's easily big enough for the ten of us. Our family got the entire upstairs.

Now, I like to plan things out. Don't get me wrong: I like the concept of spontaneity, but when it comes right down to it, I want to have at least a rough sketch of what we're going to do each day. Otherwise, you risk not getting to do everything you wanted to do...and you know what to expect. We traveled on Thursday. There's a 20% chance of rain for the next day -- perfect for the hiking trip I've been looking forward to. Well, it rained Friday, so on to Plan B. Chuck, my father-in-law, suggested that we go to the Ripley's Aquarium in the morning and to Wonder Works in the afternoon. They turned out to be a great time! The aquarium had a fantastic walk-through shark tank display, and we got to actually touch horseshoe crabs and attempt to touch the elusive stingrays. Wonder Works was every bit as fun for me as it was for my kids. I -- I mean, we -- rode an earthquake simulator, climbed a rock wall, threw baseballs for a radar gun, laid on a bed of nails, and played Laser Tag!

Saturday was our annual day to go shopping for a wardrobe upgrade for the entire family -- a significant emotional event for me, because, while I like to look stylish, it doesn't come naturally, so I struggle to make it happen. I was prepared, though; I knew what I was looking for, and expected to find it in either Gap or Old Navy. No joy...Gap had absolutely nothing, and Old Navy was such a mess I'm not sure how you could find anything. Fortunately, Cristi bailed me out (she's so awesome!). She found the sweaters and shirts I was looking for (literally in incoherent heaps), so game on! We must have looked like contestants in a find-the-needle-in-a-haystack contest taking stuff off the top and throwing it aside, frantically looking for anything in my size that would fit and hoping it would match -- not that it would matter since apparently anything goes now. I've seen combinations with stripes and checks that would make any European proud! But...we were successful! Whew! I'm good with clothes until spring/summer!

The next day was Sunday. The plan was that Cristi and I would take Lauren and drive to Philadelphia for her heart catheterization and muscle biopsy the following day; we'd leave the big kids with Chuck & Sue and meet back up with them at our house a couple of days later. Lauren didn't like that plan. (Many of you already know at least part of Lauren's story. For those that don't or would like a refresher, I'll post a summary soon). Lauren had done great after a full day of shopping! After we got back to our cabin, though, she looked tired and not quite herself. Having developed a keen sense of the subtle, Cristi took her temperature: 99. Given our new ruleset of taking her in any time she runs a fever, we decided we had better start packing and heading for DC that night (scrap Philadelphia). Over the course of an hour that we ate dinner and packed, Lauren's fever had risen to 102, her heart rate and increased to 160, her oxygen levels had decreased to 90%, and Lauren's activity level had gone down to that approximating Absolute Zero.

Change of plan...again: We decided to head into Knoxville to their children's hospital. We called Lauren's pediatrician and asked her to call ahead to the ER to let them know we were coming and to let them know her issues and what a simple cold could do to her. When we arrived, the ER staff took us right back, took her vitals, got her hooked up to an IV, and ran some blood work. They transferred us up to the PICU, where the staff was simply fantastic. We could not have asked for better care (or hospitality) from a hospital unfamiliar with Lauren's issues. A big thanks to Dr. Kevin Brinkmann, the PICU doc, and his nursing staff!

So, after all that, what's the point here? First, our vacation was fantastic, even if things didn't go as planned -- something I can agree with in arears, but have trouble accepting on the front end! Second, even if we don't understand why things happen, God is still in control, and there is joy in the little things. I don't know why it happened, and I was immensely frustrated that the end of our vacation had been ruined. But...we didn't have to drive all the way back home last night (which would have been difficult for me late at night), and we were well cared for in a strange place. I know that gave immense comfort to Cristi, who worries about Lauren every time we travel, and helped keep us from getting too worn out from a quick trip back to DC. I still don't know why this happened, but it doesn't matter -- God is in control, and He's still teaching me that He will provide...and to "Fear not!"

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my! You are going to know the inside of every PICU before your know it! Hope she's better today!
    Missed you guys yesterday!
    Prayers and blessings on you all!