July first I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever. I remember shivering under two blankets, one of which was my micro fiber/fake down comforter which usually keeps me really warm. I felt so weak and sick that I decided to stay home – even though we had lost power during the night and I had no idea what time we would get it back. I figured that if I was miserable enough to WANT to lose a day’s pay to stay in a house with no electricity I was sick enough to justify staying home.
I had tickets that evening to fly to Boston to see D. I had been counting down the hours and I figured that my illness was probably just a 24 hour bug (wishful thinking) so I decided to go anyway. Orla is stupid sign one.
I decided to leave early since I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take to get to BWI on the Friday of a holiday weekend. To my surprise there was basically no traffic and I was able to travel at speed the entire way. As for my illness, I was in what I quickly began to refer to as the “hot flash” stage and I had my air-conditioning set to the coldest setting and the fan all the way up. As I got to the parking deck my truck started steaming. I limped the truck to a parking space and let it start cooling down. I looked at the coolent overflow tank and it looked like it had liquid in it, and I added more. Then I figured that there wasn’t anything more I could do at the moment and headed off to Boston Orla is stupid sign two.
When I got to the terminal I found that my plane, originally scheduled to leave at 7:45 had been delayed until 9 p.m. I found a spot on the floor to lie down, used my carryon as a pillow and curled around my lace basket. I had a blanket that I had gotten years ago at OTR with me so I was covered and I proceeded to doze. Of course I couldn’t sleep because a) I was alone in an airport and b) I was on the floor. Then came the announcement that the flight was delayed until 10:05. It seems there was a line of storms between Boston and BWI and my flight was stuck on the ground in Boston. Gradually the time of departure kept slipping until finally we received word that the flight was actually on it’s way. Of course then came the worry that the crew would have been on duty too many hours to make the return flight. Apparently everything would come down to how long it took for the transition to get back in the air. I was still laying on the floor at this point and I had a couple of people tell me I had a good idea bringing a blanket, and one ask if I had anything she could use as a pillow! To everyone I explained the fact that I was ill and I was rapidly left alone. Interestingly enough, no one from the airline ever stopped by to ask if I was okay.
Finally the plane got there and we were told we had to go down to the next gate (where, I might add, they had benches without individual arm rests so I could not been laying on the floor the whole time!) Our plane was so small that they did not load us by sections so there was a massive free-for-all to see who could get down the stairs and out the door to the plane first. Oh, did I mention that they had overbooked the plane by 8 seats and had to take volunteers to fly the next day?
I was in row 11 and by the time I got to my seat it looked like all the overhead storage was taken. Fortunately there were some college age girls who had flocked together and knew I was sick. They helped me get my overnight bag into the bin. Even so I felt like I was going to faint by the time I got to sit down. There were only three seats across and one overhead compartment. I ended up putting my lace basket under my legs and hiding the fact that it was not stored correctly with the blanket. We finally took off at about 10:50 pm.
Once we were in the air I asked the flight attendant if there was any way I could use a scooter to get out of the airport once we got to Boston. She said that she would have a wheelchair meet me at the gate. When we got to Logan we had to climb down the plane stairs, get on a bus, ride about 1000 feet then climb a set of stairs to get to our gate – where, shocker, there was no wheel chair waiting. I went over to the next gate that had people working and they called for a wheel chair for me. I also called D who had come to meet me and he started trying to figure out what was going on. It was more than 45 minutes later before someone showed up, and then when he dropped me off at the taxi place he wanted a tip. I gave him something because it was probably not his fault that it took so long to get to me, but I assure you it was not as big a tip as he might have gotten.
We took a taxi to D’s place and then I basically fell into bed. Saturday I spent most of the morning in bed although M-E came by and took me out on D’s deck to sit in the sun for a while. I kept feeling the need to be lie down though. My fever broke and I started feeling better. I think it had a lot to do with the acetaminophen that they got me to take. They force fed me toast, tea and blueberry juice then in the afternoon one of D’s friends came and took D and I to a cookout. I walked in the door, walked out the back door, found a lounge chair and proceeded to huddle up under my blanket. D did the social thing that he needed to do and kept coming to check on me. I actually ate half a hamburger. I kept trying to keep up and contribute to the conversation around me and eventually it was time to go home. I once again fell into bed and slept for a while. Sunday and Monday were more of the same. I’d sleep, move to the couch, drink tea, eat whenever I felt up to it and constantly get and break fevers. D would come and check on me at the drop of a hat, show me movies and episodes of Babylon 5, and yell at me if I got up to do anything but go to the bathroom.
Monday we took the T (Boston’s version of the metro system) to the airport since we figured that taxis on the afternoon of the 4th of July were just a stupid idea. This worked since I got to go at my own pace and sit down often. Once we got to the airport D sat me on a bench with my stuff and went in search of a wheel chair. The porter was very nice and rushed to get me to my gate – where we went down an elevator and he put me on a bus. Which is when I figured out that American Eagle is actually the red – headed bastard step child of Logan Airport. Fed-Ex’s terminal was actually closer than the terminal I flew out of. The bus dropped me off at a terminal where I proceeded to walk to my “set” of gates and then I got to lay down exhausted on the floor. I asked at the gate desk for a head start and they actually gave me one when it was time to load. Of course the head start was negated by the three gates between the gate desk and my plane. I had to kneel a couple of times and when I finally got to my gate I ended up laying on the floor while they loaded the rest of the plane.
This time I was on the single seat side and the flight attendant kept both of my bags up front with her. The plane wasn’t very full so when the lady across the way asked to be moved (because I couldn’t tell her what was wrong with me and she had ridden in the same plane with me on Friday and now “had a sore throat”) they were able to move them a few seats up. I dozed but just couldn’t sleep and found when we got to BWI that by now the airline had learned. There was a wheelchair waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs off the plane and he escorted me all the way to the bus to the parking deck.
I managed to get a seat on the bus and by telling the guy ahead of me to either sit down, move or watch me faint (he was undecided about which stop he was getting off at and blocking my way) I managed to get off the bus, where I promptly lay down. After a few minutes I moved into the air conditioned elevator lobby of the parking deck on the nice cool metal benches. Then a few minutes later I was able to make it to my car.
I checked the water levels and they looked like they hadn’t gone down any. To be on the safe side I put the last of my traveling water into the overflow tank. I turned on the heat, which only blew cold air for some reason so I turned it back off. Then I headed for home. A few minutes on the B/W parkway and I was once again on the side of the road. I called LLT and she suggested that I let the car cool off, then limp it to a gas station and have them fill my radiator with water. Not thinking logically, instead I let the car cool off until I could get the radiator cap itself off and poured every bottle of water I could find into the radiator (those who know me will not be surprised to find that was several bottles worth) Orla is stupid sign number three. Then I promised myself to keep an eye on the temp gauge and started driving slowly home. I kept to slow speeds, even putting my hazard blinkers on several times. I got almost to the sign that says “1/2 mile Greenbelt/NASA Goddard” and heard my engine start making noises. The temp guage had never even creaped up. Also I noticed that my speed was going down no matter how hard I hit the gas. I made it over to the side of the road and pulled it over. Once I turned it off the engine started steaming. I let it cool hoping I could get to the gas station in Greenbelt and the car would not even attempt to turn over. At this point I discovered that my AAA card was not where I thought I left it (in my truck) and of course I had not carried a purse to Boston so it wasn’t in there either. I called Mom and Dad and got the numbers I needed for AAA and called them. Then I sat and listened to the sounds of fireworks (which of course I could not see).
The VERY nice AAA guy called and towed me to the nearest AAA recommended garage to my house which turned out to be only 1/2 a mile. Then he drove me home where I made my “Home and safe” calls and went to bed. The next day Mom drove up so I could borrow her car. The theory was that she was going to pick me up and we were going to meet Dad in Annapolis to get Mom home. Instead she took me to an urgent care clinic which was worse than useless since they couldn’t do bloodwork. They recommended that I got to the ER, which we did.
In the meantime, the guy at the garage called to ask if I was willing to spend the $150 it would take for him to check out the truck. He said from the sounds of things I broke the timing belt. An hour later he called back to say I needed to take the truck to the dealer, it had a timing chain not a belt and he wasn’t willing to touch the car. So I called and arranged for AAA to do an “unsupervised” tow. This is something they HATE doing and they made an exception on my behalf since there was NO way I could get to the truck. It turned out to the good that they did that because the tow truck driver took so long to get there the tow truck company called me to see if he had picked up the truck yet. There is no way I could have dealt with waiting with my truck that long.
We got to the ER about 7:30 and I did not get taken to a bed until after midnight. That entire time was spent sitting in waiting room chairs until they triaged me and gave me a wheelchair because I did not feel like I could walk to the nurse’s station. It took so long for me to get called to the back that my Dad actually made it to the hospital from Ocean City before I was called.
Mom (the trooper) went back with me, staying with me through everything as she had done since she got to my house. The very nice doctor ordered an x-ray, a bunch of blood tests, a urine test and an IV drip. I’ve never had an IV before and I’m willing to wait for YEARS before I have to do it again. But for those of you who have some medical experience, I have a question. You are ordered to do blood work up and urine test. Wouldn’t you let patient collect sample BEFORE you put in the iv hookup? Nope, they had to do the IV prick first. Which made me more awkward and slow in the bathroom. When I got back to bed they put in the drip, which hurt almost as much as the intial prick, which hurt until they took the darn thing out. I actually winced when they hung the 2nd bag.
Mom and I could hear them talking in the hall way and they said something about really high liver function and then the nice doctor was back to tell me he had one more test he wanted to do. While we were waiting we got to be entertained by the guy who had been walking around seemingly since I had gotten to the hospital, with a cut above his eyebrow, which turned out to have a hollow point bullet in it. Apparently this guy was in Leesburg at a bonfire and some idiot was throwing bullets into the fire. He got hit with one but did not realize it and made it all the way to Clinton (more than an hour away from Leesburg) before realizing he had a problem.
When the doctor finally came back he said that I had Mononucleosis and that I could expect at least a month recovery time. He gave me a doctor’s note for Thursday and Friday and said keep taking OTC meds for the fever and drinking lots of fluids. Mom drove me home and I walked into the house just as LLT was leaving for work. I set my alarm to wake me up so I could call into work and went to bed.
When I got up, I got a call from the dealership to tell me that I had burnt out my engine and I needed a new one – to the tune of $4,500! Tune in to see how I resolved that one.