Monday, December 24, 2007

Travel Trials and Joys

Merry Christmas from Ohio! We decided shortly after Thanksgiving to travel to Ohio for Christmas this year. It wasn't an easy's hard traveling 1000 miles each way with a 2- and a 3-year old, but my last living grandparent was recently diagnosed with throat cancer at age 92, and Grandma decided that, given her age and knowing where she was going after death, she didn't want to have any treatment. So, we decided to make the trek southeast and spend Christmas with my side of the family this year.

Given gas prices and some vehicle problems, we decided to drive my Saturn, a small 4-door sedan (did I mention it was small??). Oh, it's amazing what all we fit in to that car, even before we squeezed ourselves inside! I have a couple photos of how crowded the back seat was with the kids! And poor Tony with his long legs! But praise God the kids traveled well, keeping busy with all the fun things packed into their back packs....stickers, coloring books, snacks, and more! There were many times I wasn't even sure if they were in the car!

Friday night, we stopped at a "resident hotel" in Elgin, IL. It gave us a chance to get out, relax, not deal with Friday night/holiday weekend rush hour thru Chicago! Plus, my brother Tim comped us the room with his hotel points, so that was an added blessing. We settled in, ate supper, then the kids started running around releasing all the pent up energy they had. At one point, Luke jumped on an unsuspecting Tony, causing Tony to rear back and Luke to go tumbling off his back. On the way down, his head was bonked, resulting in tears and a HUGE egg on the back of his head. We kept an eye on him, but within a few minutes he was running around like the point where we had a call from the hotel manager...the folks in the room below us were complaining about the thumps! By then, it was time to settle down for the night, so we pulled out the sofa, got the kids settled down, and they were out in no time. Tony and I joined them in dreamland from the other room shortly after.

Mothers have extra-sensitive hearing and a sixth sense when something is wrong. At about 2:45 a.m. I heard a noise that no mother wants to hear, especially in the middle of the night hundreds of miles from home. Rushing in to the other room, Luke was sitting up in bed in the middle of his second heave. Poor little guy. Tony came to help and took him to the bathroom to get him washed up and changed while I put Susanna in our room and started taking off the sheets, checking stuffed animals (only Susanna's baby got splattered, and only a wee bit, thank God!). During this time, we were again checking Luke's pupils, asking him questions to see if he was addled, checking his walk, reflexes, etc. Was this a result of finding all the snacks in his back pack and downing half of them when Mama was unaware? The bump on the head? Did another child go to AWANA Wednesday night with the flu and infect a bunch of unsuspecting children? Was he developing travel sickness? A combination of the above? Thankfully, our insurance company has a 24-hour on-call nurse, so I called to see if we should get Luke checked out. Sure enough, she thought we should, so Luke and I started on our next adventure. Thankfully again, the hospital was only 5 minutes away.

We got to the ER and they said it would be just a matter of minutes....however, as they were taking our info, an ambulance came in, so our wait was longer. About 90 minutes later, we finally went back to a very kid-friendly room where he was checked out again with a recommendation of a CT scan. That took another long wait as yet another emergency came in with a very bad head trauma. Thankfully, again!, it came back clear, but he was diagnosed with a mild concussion. He had several bouts of heaves, and they gave him some medication to deal with the nausea and relax the stomach muscles. We ended up filling the prescription they sent with us after getting to Ohio and having him get sick again.

Luke loved the doctor. He was a younger African American man with little braids all over his head. Luke thought that was hilarious! The second time he came in, to tell us the result of the CT scan, he asked Luke if he wanted to touch his hair. Amidst giggles, Luke said yes...then started laughing even more while telling him his hair was very "fuzzy."

We did arrive at Papa and Grandma's house in time for supper Saturday night, and I am again thankful that the kids travelled so well! Susi was fussy about the last 30 minutes, but she assured me she did NOT want us to turn around and go home!

We enjoyed a fun afternoon and evening yesterday with my brother's family (wife and seven children), opening gifts, feasting on steak and potatoes and countless Christmas cookies, and just watching the kids go wild. However, illness struck again...

Climbing into bed after getting everyone settled for the night, I noticed Tony was moaning. He had chills and a fever, aches and a very yucky tummy. (Luke didn't have a fever, chills, or aches.) After tending to him, I settled down with the kids on the floor of their room. Today Tony stayed "home" in bed while the rest of us went to visit my grandma with some additional visitors joining us (cousin Martha and her gang, Uncle Ralph, Aunt Carole, Aunt Sarika, and Uncle Neil). By the time we got back to my parents', Tony was among the living again although he is not quite 100%.

All in all, we've been enjoying ourselves, and we have many unforgettable memories of our 2007 trip before it's even over! Please pray that Tony and Luke continue to be completely healed and Susanna and I don't have a turn in this episode of events!

Tomorrow will be a quiet Christmas day as Ron's family again joins us, along with two family friends (quiet? 9 kids?). We'll be caroling at a local nursing home and enjoying a ham dinner. Wednesday will see us at my uncle's home in Akron with my dad's side of the family (guaranteed it will NOT be quiet!), and Thursday I'm having a Watkins party before we head back to Park Rapids with another stop in Elgin (I hope the hotel welcomes us back!).

I trust and pray each of you have a wonderful Christmas day! Please jot a comment and tell me how you celebrated Jesus' birthday!

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