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Never Stop Growing Episode 1: Family Vacation Takes an Unexpected Turn

Updated: Jul 14, 2019


It’s summertime and most of us are on some kind of “cation” - staycation, vacation , maybe a little of both. My family took a wonderful road trip through the American Southwest by way of San Antonio, Texas. We visited the mystical Carlsbad Caverns and had them all to ourselves! We discovered red and green chili dishes in Santa Fe, The Petrified Forest National Park, The Painted Desert, The Grand Canyon by rail and then the wonderful Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument (not all in the same day). All of those sites were breathtaking, rejuvenating and filled our souls with energy. We were on the go, but we were also recharging our batteries. 

Our next excursion was the beautiful Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. Wow! How magnificent! Afterward we spent four nights chilling in Mesa, Arizona at a spectacular house we rented with a pool, hot tub and beautiful views. 

There was lots of swim time and downtime for naps. On our drive back we had a detour planned at the McDonald Observatory for a Star Gazing Party.  EVERYTHING on this trip was going perfectly. We made all of our tours on time, our hotels were comfortable and all of our meals were delicious.

The only problem was on the eve before departing Mesa, my 14 year old son  who was scheduled for a surgery to remove a tumor in his finger the day after we returned to San Antonio, complained of an earache. The day of the drive he was chilled and in debilitating pain. I was mortified, treating him with ibuprofen and over the counter ear drops. When we reached the observatory, he could only bear looking through one of those fantastic telescopes that night. After we managed to view the magnificence of Jupiter and 3 moons next it, he and I sat it out in our SUV. I was holding his hand, talking to him and reinforcing deep breathing. He was crying, “Why Mom? Why is this happening?” It was a nightmare. My mind rushed and I thought about parents who have very ill children. I could not imagine what they must go through. 

My husband and my daughter returned to the vehicle after star gazing and we were off to our hotel in Fort Davis. It was quaint and perfect, but we couldn’t enjoy it. We left all of our luggage in the vehicle and slept in our clothes. Everyone was stressed, and by then my son was delirious with pain and fever. None of us had eaten, it was after midnight and the small town did not have a med-clinic or a drug store that was open. 

That night my husband rested up for the last leg of our drive. I could hear my 12 year old daughter crying herself to sleep, whimpering how badly she wanted to go home. I prayed a lot while keeping my son comfortable. It was a sleepless night. At 5 in the morning he was begging to be taken to a hospital.  

I medicated him and gave him a pep talk for the last stretch back to San Antonio, wondering if he would be well enough to have his surgery. We had carefully planned that surgery because it would impact his writing hand, his tuba playing hand, his tennis hand. The recovery for the surgery was going to be 12 weeks, and cut into his first weeks as a Freshman in high school. His surgeon would be going on vacation the next two weeks and we didn’t want to push his recovery any further into the school year. That drive we made many phone calls to his orthopedic surgeon with many questions. We drove directly to our family doctor who aggressively treated my son for an inner and outer ear infection and absolutely felt my so should not have surgery the next day. His orthopedic surgeon agreed. They would not risk putting him under anesthesia since he had ran a fever the day before. My son was going to be ok and we were home. The surgery was cancelled.

We were in a numb state from the events of the last 48 hours.

It wasn’t at all what we planned for the last stretch of our vacation. To stay positive, I frequently counted my blessings during that ordeal. That gave me perspective. I learned that there is so much that is out of my control and that is hard. I also learned to accept what is and go with the flow.

Life is about finding the lesson whenever we can. I hope whoever reads or hears this message needed it. Whatever is happening right now is as it should be. 

Click on the You Tube link below for an audio recording of this blog.

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