Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vacation Part 3: To Grandmother's House We Go! (AKA, It Shouldn't Count As Vacation If You Get Sick)

(Yes, I realize I've skipped directly from Vacation Part 1 to Vacation Part 3. Vacation Part 2 requires some photos I don't have back yet.)

On Wednesday of my vacation, Brynna and I headed off to visit Grandma and Da in New York. When we were planning this trip, I'd decided that flying was the way to go: it would be faster and I could help entertain her, rather than driving 7 hours with an active two year old strapped into the backseat.

So we signed up to fly Southwest, a two leg trip that would take us south to the Baltimore airport before heading back to upstate New York. I carefully packed toys, books, snacks, extra iPod and diapers in the hopes of helping our flights run as smoothly as possible. Brynna's sippy cup of soymilk even passed the extra explosives test required to take liquid greater than 3 ounces onboard.

Southwest, as is so often their wont, was running well on time. Brynna happily headed down the gangway and into the plane, and I don't think I dislocated anyone's knees while walking through the aisle with our two bags or the giant carseat strapped to my back.

B was quite scared when the plane revved up for departure, exclaiming "go home! go home!" but responded well to some soothing and settled in nicely once we were in the air. We ate our peanuts and pretzels, watched a movie, and read some books.

After an hour, we arrived in Baltimore and found a departures list. Damn! We had to go to a different terminal. The bags seemed even heavier this time. I was incredibly relieved to arrive at our new gate, and then incredibly annoyed that there wasn't a bathroom anywhere in the vicinity. I had to herd Brynna and carry all of our stuff almost back to our original gate to get to the ladies' room. Luckily, there was a big family restroom with a changing table and everything. Still, it was right around this time that I swore that I'd never again do this without another adult.

In the boarding line for our next flight, a very pleasant lady took pity on me and carried one of our bags onto the plane. (Yes, people, I could have checked our bags. But I didn't think I'd have trouble carrying them. And we are about to discover just why I was having so much trouble.)

Brynna was even more of a champ during this flight, falling right asleep. The lovely lady helped me again when we were getting off the plane, carrying a bag all the way to the departure area. It was a good thing, because the carseat and the diaper bag seemed to be getting heavier and heavier.

We were happily met by Grandma Denny and mini-Elmo. I buckled Brynna into the car and then promptly fell asleep in the passenger seat. Then we got back to Art and Denny's house and I fell asleep again. Then I got up to eat supper, sat on the couch for an appetizer, and fell asleep again. When I woke up that time, I could barely get off the couch. And gee, I was awfully hot. And wow, my throat really hurt.

Denny did the "mom check" of my forehead and confirmed that I was burning up, at which point she and Art promptly shooed me upstairs and into bed.

Thursday morning I still felt crummy, with a wicked sore throat. "Stupid virus!" I thought. "I'd better just look at my throat real quick and make sure that I don't have strep or something. Then I can just take some Tylenol and carry on ignoring it." (Strep throat, which is caused by a bacteria rather than virus, has to be treated with antibiotics not so much because of the throat infection, but because it can cause rheumatic heart disease.)

I found a flashlight and a mirror and opened my mouth for a quick inspection.

Gross!!! My tonsils were covered with what you can politely refer to as "exudate." Pus on tonsils + fever + no cough or other cold symptoms pretty much cinches the diagnosis of strep throat. I needed antibiotics. Art hooked me up with a nighttime appointment at the local urgent care, and after Brynna went to bed, he took me over there for one of the most impressive health care experiences of my life.

I signed in, was immediately taken back to a room, and had my vitals checked while the nurse took a quick history and swabbed my throat (Gack!) . A moment later, the PA came in, took one look at my disgusting throat, said that she was sure I had strep, and headed out to check the results of the rapid strep test.

She came back a few minutes later, said that the test was negative but she didn't believe it (there's a certain false negative rate), and handed me an antibiotic prescription. Ahh, antibiotic bliss. I started feeling better about 12 hours later.

But seriously? Strep throat?

On my vacation?

Brynna never got sick, despite our germ-sharing on the flights. All she remembers about our travel day is "airpane! Up up in air!"

Thank goodness.

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