Well, last week we were preparing to leave for my legal conference at the Disneyland Hotel and our extended anniversary vacation to follow. I was wrapping things up a little late that night at my office, it was getting dark and I was almost done preparing to be out of the office for about a week. My phone rang and seeing it was my husband, I picked up and soon perceived some considerable distress on the other end of the line.
While getting our suitcases down in our workshop building, my husband slipped and twisted his ankle. The imbalance sent him down onto the same knee, slamming it into the concrete floor of the storage room. Our phone conversation was just minutes later, and after accepting my advice, he headed out to the emergency room and I packed up my work laptop to take on the trip and set out to rendezvous with him at the hospital.
By the time just an hour had gone by, his knee was swollen to well over the size of a large cantaloupe and he was hurting badly. After x-rays and pain medications, he was sent home with more medication, an ice pack, crutches and a large knee brace. My the time we returned home, it was after 1:00 a.m. and his pain level was something close to misery.
It seemed in that wee hours of the morning that our plan to leave on a driving trip early the next morning, despite my protests, was something he was not yet willing to relinquish. We went to sleep on the notion that we would decide in the morning.
What seemed to him to be entirely possible at the midnight hour seemed undo-able the next morning. After the first cup of coffee we resolved that I would fly out alone for my conference, and he would stay home to “ice and elevate” as the emergency room doctor had ordered. I would fly back home a couple of days later, and our extended leg of the anniversary trip would be scratched.
I set out making new plans and unraveling the old ones, and doing the packing the E.R. trip had interrupted.
Disneyland at night without him would be no fun, and walking through the amusement park, instead him pushing me in a wheel chair as we had planned, was beyond my physical ability.
Because of my lupus arthritis I can neither walk a mile nor climb a flight of stairs, and because of the remnants of a serious cervical spine injury cannot ride roller coasters or go on jarring rides. I was destined to come close, but not cross the through the gates of the fantasy world I would see but not enter. Besides, it would have been just no fun alone!
At 9:00 a.m. I reserved my flight online and printed a boarding pass in one fell swoop, following up with a call to the Marriott resort to cancel our anniversary stay. With three hours until leaving for the airport, I drove by the pharmacy and asked the druggist for a rush fill on the pain med script from the night before, and dashed to the grocery store to re-fill the fridge with easy to fix foods. With groceries and drugs in tow, I got back home with an hour to spare.
Next came setting a time record for my fastest suitcase packing job ever. After taking just a few minutes to put the groceries away and wash fresh grapes, strawberries and grape tomatoes, I set them to drain by the kitchen sink and I was ready to roll. By noon I was heading out to the airport to catch a flight that had been arranged only three short hours earlier. I passed through airport security and sat down at the gate ten whole minutes before boarding my plane.
During three days at the Disneyland Hotel attending my legal conference, I had some quiet evenings, finished a good book, and rested when not attending educational sessions. I reconnected with professional peers and was grateful to have short distances to walk between my hotel room and the conference center.
An unexpected courtesy came when the Disneyland Hotel desk staff heard my story and contacted the Disneyland ticket office to arrange a full refund for our tickets to the theme park. This took the sting out of my adventure outside the gates of a theme park I could not and did not want to visit alone.
Tonight, I am back in the comfort of my home, and back where I can comfort my hurting husband. My car is back in the garage, I fixed dinner for my lonely hungry hurting sweetheart, and all is mostly right again in our little corner of the world. Our alternate anniversary plans for Monday? Off to the doctor!