Saturday, February 01, 2020

For Better or for Worse: The Traveling Life

After my Great Went-Septic Appendix Eruption in 2017.

A recent post by bloggers Dan and Cassie Cramer got me to thinking about all the times I’ve traveled sick. Or sickly. Or feeling like I’m about to become that way—you know what I mean.

We also just rendered a big “Happy vacationing!” to two condo neighbors, one who’d been hacking for two weeks, enough so to send him to the doc AND get me washing my hands after each condo elevator ride, once sneakily (HA!) covering my nose and mouth and holding my breath for two whole floors when he hopped in the elevator and began chatting with me. (Hey, it’s FLU SEASON!) He said he was feeling much better and was ready for his adventure, I hoped enough better to avoid airline head compression severe enough to explode his nostrils.

All together now in a grand chorus of Eeuuuuuyuckysnotbucket.

Decades ago, in the dead of winter and under my first book deadline, I packed up my Portable Vectra (pre laptop days, weighed nearly twenty pounds and used a 5-1/4” boot disc—picture HERE) and road-tripped up to a friend’s cabin in Wisconsin where I became wildly ill. Fever. Twenty-four/seven chesty cough. I sought out an emergency room where I was given bold amounts of drugs. Which I took while soldiering on with the writing since, well, book deadline. (Read payment after manuscript was turned in.) The only thing I had energy to cook was frozen pizza, which sat on the counter as I nibbled from it for two days. All alone. No neighbor to bring me soup. Out of my own home state.. No room service or husband to field my bitchety-bitch demands.

In all cases, we do what we must to survive.

Which circles me back to Dan and Cassie’s most recent post about vacationing when one of you is living with noncurable stage four metastatic breast cancer. Their post reminds us we never know what someone’s going through, so BE NICE to strangers on the road, including those who seem whiny and self absorbed. Including cranky security folks, tired parents and snooty gate peeps. Perhaps even check yourself from overreacting to a slightly bungled hotel reservation or a luke-warm baked potato. Dan and Cassie’s entire blog, Meaning & Stuff, is dedicated to the down-and-gritty real thoughts and trials and celebrations one must live with after a terminal diagnosis.

No, we never know what the person next to us is going through, or what we might soon be enduring. I repeat: BE NICE. Karma and all that.

Since we lost our daughter-in-law to the same illness last May Day (for two months we helped our son care for her in home hospice) and I adore Cassie and understand her journey from the shoes of a helpmate, I read every post. She and Dan make us think. Our son and DIL posted their entire journey—hilarious and gut-smacking--on Caring Bridges. People with terminal illnesses have some important stuff to say, something for each of us! Among all the truth and horrors the Internet wields our way, it also delivers the opportunity for us to know what’s happening in the lives of those we care about, and gives those walking through tough times one singular place to dispense updated news without having to repeat it fifty times a day via exhausting phone calls.

To all you road warriors out there, and to those feeling no warrior vibes but who simply enjoy wandering, I send you wishes for that old Irish Blessing about the road rising up to meet you, which means "May your journey succeed", or "May you succeed [in the journey of life]" or even simply "Good luck!"  Through good health and bad, I know you’ll travel on until one day that Great Road will come to a Dead End, which, who knows, might eventually lead to a brilliant new Rising Up Road the likes of which you could never ever imagine, even after reading every travel brochure on this planet.

Every day in which you’re on the road with nothing major happening in your health or the health of those you care most about, give thanks. Gratitude makes any trip oh so much more enjoyable. Let that gratitude spread from your inner being to your face until your lips give a few strangers a smile. That little chard of bright might be just the thing that helps them push through their next trying moment.

1 comment:

AmyD said...

Thank you for this great post! I'm so glad your creative writing juices are flowing because you bless people everytime they do.