alternate entry title: 'family, phlegm, and feces in florida'
oh how i had wished this trip would be relaxing. it was a u.s. vacation where i had FINALLY made NO plans, scheduled nothing, except which days we would be staying at my moms house and which days we would be further south visiting with daves family. we had no expectations except to relax and have fun and let X be with her extended family. we had had lengthy months of grey and gloom in helsinki so really this trip was poised for greatness right? unfortunately...wrong. and it had everything to do with health problems. we had all gotten sick in the weeks before the trip (dave terribly so), but i had actually thought we were going to have overcome all that by the time we took off. nope, in fact X had all kinds of unfortunate 'firsts' on this trip and no one got anything remotely approaching sleep or rest, least of all me. well, i guess theres always next time...
(early morning take off for berlin and then miami...the look on Xs face should have warned me...'are you SURE this trip is a good idea?')
1/28 (tuesday): so the night before our eeeeeearrly morning flight, X was up all night with a relatively new coughing problem. it got bad enough that i gave her a second round of cough medicine somewhere in the wee hours of the morning. i think it was an expectorant (it was finnish and i had recently gotten it, so i didnt know everything about it) because it made her cough even more, in fact, it 'helped' a bunch of mucus as well as all of her dinner to come up all over her and her bed. her first 'vomit' ever. awesome. she wasnt phased though. i had to clean everything up and do mid-night laundry load because i couldnt leave soiled sheets in a pile for our cat/housesitter.
aaaaanyway, she finally slept after that, meaning i got maybe 3 hours of sleep that night. we then woke up before 5a and got to the airport. just after boarding the first flight, X was still coughing, and again coughed so much she gag-spit-up mucus before we even took off. we got to use an air sickness bag. a panic attack then ensued on my part. it was not a great flight, but thankfully short. then, the berlin airport was a piece of shit. we had no time to run in to the pharmacy to get X anything, let alone get her some kind of gatorade-type drink to replenish all this loss of fluids, and her digestive system was still bothering her from whatever she was still getting over from a few days before this. then, our miami flight was unfortunately cramped (no thank you for the lack of leg room air berlin!) and i basically had to stay awake giving 11 hours of tummy massages. oh, i was sooooo tired. thankfully, miami was hot and sunny. however, the enjoyment was short lived on our tiring and grumpy drive north out of miami to our hotel in stuart. along the drive, we had dinner at moes and finally slunk into our beds for the night at monterey inn and marina. alas, no one actually slept because there was still a lot of coughing and a very tired child screaming.
1/29 (wednesday): due to the time zone changes, we woke up at 5a. kindly, the marina we were staying at looked like this in the morning. beautiful, calm, quiet, serene.
then, once the stores opened at 7a we hit a publix grocery store and a panera for breakfast and drove the rest of the way north to my moms. we got acquainted at marmee and pals house (they had moved since the last time we visited) and settled in. X really enjoyed the short walk around their little pond out back (they had sandhill cranes and egrets and turtles as visitors). we had a nice lunch at their favorite local middle eastern restaurant, visited the small 'farm' that one of als kids has (X got bit by the donkey and hasnt stopped talking about it since), hit the library for a stack of books, and finished with dinner at home. phew!
1/30 (thursday): we woke up at 6a, having had a night filled with lots of coughing from the kid. i might have slept a few hours, but only in the beginning of the night. and we were also greeted by a full day of rain. thanks florida! we went shopping at target in the morning (we wanted to fill a suitcase with cheap american staples to bring back with us) and hit panera again for food. when we got stir crazy, we walked around the backyard pond in the rain. then we had a tasty and unusual gluten-free waffle sandwich lunch from the bald strawberry. yum. to get outside during a break in the rain, we stopped in at erna nixon park and its tiny nature center for a damp and chilly, yet nice walk. lastly, we hit the library again and went home for dinner. als middle daughter and her partner came over to eat with us, they were prepping for the imminent arrival of their baby girl.
(as long as i dont have to walk in these swampy forests during the height of summer, i do think the foliage is beautiful)
(snacks on the sand; sand castles with marmee)
(trying to get her to put her feet in the water)
(but running away was more fun)
(lunch on the terrace)
2/2 (sunday): its hard to say if the nights 'sleep' was worse than previous nights, but it wasnt good. we spent the morning on a semi-successful shopping trip and attempted to get the kid a nap in the car. then we had a bbq with als family and daves parents also drove up from where they were staying in stuart. during the party we discovered X had a fever, then, later she was complaining that her tummy and bum were hurting her so much that we realized we had to go to the walk-in clinic in the morning (as an fyi as it relates to this story, X hadnt pooped since wednesday, 5 days ago, which was a 'first' for her. she had always been regular. however, this length of time isnt independently dire for kids, its around 10 days and/or with other signs that you start worrying).
2/3 (monday): we spent the morning at the nearby walk-in clinic. thankfully service was fast, but we were there a while, and left traumatized. i was SO tired and anxious at this point (i was now solidly on 3 weeks of perhaps worse sleep than the newborn days, since X had been sick for about 2 weeks, in varying degrees, before we even left) that i wasnt able to be the best health advocate for my kid, plus, none of these problems were typical for her, so i wasnt even sure what my feelings or instincts were, or what to expect as treatment or diagnosis options. since she still had her awful cough (though it was finally getting better) they were also worried about that on top of the fever and the constipation. in the interest of a bit of privacy and in an attempt to at least partially erase the details from my mind, i will simply summarize the conclusions from the visit: we exposed X to her first ever intentional radiation in the form of chest and abdominal x-rays, she got her first ever diagnosis and 'treatment' of an impacted bowel, as well as her first ever diagnosed ear infection and it happened to actually be a double infection, and finally, we left with her first ever prescription of antibiotics (thankfully they said her chest was fine). on top of the complicated web of these new health outcomes i was now worrying about her reaction to the meds since both dave and i are allergic to penicillin, and she was given antibiotics that were in the penicillin family (yes, we had mentioned our allergies to the doctor).
so, we went to the pharmacy, came home with the new antibiotics, gave her some and watched her immediately vomit it and her small snack back up. awesome. then we called the walk-in clinic looking for some new meds. they did not get back to us with a new prescription until the following day.
to take our mind off of things, we went for a walk at turkey creek and had my most favorite comfort dinner of beans and cheese. we finished off the day with a library visit for new books.
2/4 (tuesday): the new medicine was supposed to be at the pharmacy in the morning, but it wasnt. it finally arrived later. thankfully, when we gave her some there was no vomiting! minor victory. we stayed around the house all day because X was still uncomfortable and she was kinda yowling about her bum the whole time. poor thing. she got to play a lot with marmee and pal at least and then we went over to amys house for dinner.
again, in another attempt to be brief, the kiddo finally pooped on her own (first since wednesday) before we went to bed and was much more like her normal self. but the relief was short-lived. she woke up 3 traumatizing (for all) times to go some more, but then she finally slept soundly.
2/5 (wednesday): this morning we woke up cautiously optimistic, bushwhacked yet somewhat relieved, but, unfortunately, basically just done with this whole vacation. and yet, we still had more to go, and more discomfort was to come. as we packed to leave my moms house X got her final playing in with marmee and pal.
(parting shot; insta-nap in the car surrounded by her comforting 'friends')
and, because there was a pool, X and grandma went swimming and then we all had lunch in the whipps hotel room. after eating, we had some special fun, grandpa had bought some shrimp bait so we walked down to the resorts marina and X, grandpa and aunt megan fed the begging pelicans shrimp and fish bits (a chartered fishing boat had come back with its catch and one of the guys on board was cleaning and gutting fish at the cleaning station in front of us).
after all the excitement, we took a relaxing drive so X could nap, we stopped off briefly at bathtub reef beach where dave popped out to look around before the rain came in. then we checked in to our hotel and went to adorable downtown stuart to the really lovely stuart coffee co for some cold drinks and quiet time. our evening ended at jennys home for a family meet-n-greet and homemade dinner. jenny, her husband darren and her son richie are very nice people and were very excited to have more family and to have had the chance for them all to gather in the same place at the same time. it was a nice night.
(whole family, minus darren, but including pups maddie and mikki)
(those water wings make her an independent swimmer. she was going kicking all around that pool!)
(some evening reading of the new thrift store books)
2/7 (friday): we said goodbye to family at a lovely breakfast and breakfast place called osceola street cafe. the food and location were great, we ate peacefully outside and were able to have a nice parting memory of such a hard trip. and then, it was time to pack and drive back to the miami airport. ack, i hate that place. we had a much easier long flight back this time though but we were so so tired when we got home. as if being sick and sleepless for the past 3+ weeks wasnt enough, coming across all those time zones is like purposely getting yourself sick for a few days. yuck.
*sidenote: Xs bum saga did not end until 6 days later, at the childrens hospital in finland. a few more details are included in the 'x-files: 4 years old' entry (still to come).*