Our recent three-week trip to California was fun, but it would have been a whole lot more fun if we could have stayed healthier for longer than 10 minutes. Basically, I paid hundreds of dollars to clean up my kids’ puke in another state.
I planned a long trip to my hometown to visit family and friends since my husband would be camped out on the spring wagon for 10 weeks. He left for the wagon the first of May, and after three weeks of living one hour from the nearest human with only my two small children and a windmill for company, I was pretty excited to visit the home folks and have someone besides the windmill to talk to. I wasn’t too worried about my habit of talking to the windmill, but I got a little concerned for myself when it began answering back.
Due to our extremely isolated living conditions, our kids have developed the immune systems of a piece of sterile gauze. They can’t fight off the common cold with a bottle of bleach and a face mask. If they see a cartoon germ in a TV commercial for Mucinex, they immediately start sneezing and spike a fever. So, it was no surprise that they picked up a virus during the airplane trip north.
On our second day at my dad’s house, Grace ran a temperature and threw up. I treated her virus with my standard Mom Cure For Everything: an unlimited supply of popsicles, a reasonable dose of Tylenol, and a heaping helping of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
“Well, at least this is just the beginning of our trip, so she still has plenty of time to recover and visit,” I told my dad.
A week later, her one-year-old brother came down with the same virus. He napped in the bedroom and his sister watched cartoons while I scrubbed the house with bleach in an effort to kill the virus and salvage our trip. Before too long, I’d be back in northern Arizona talking to my windmill, so I desperately wanted to take full advantage of visiting and talking to actual real, live human beings while I could.
Apparently, my kids completely missed this memo. On the last week of our trip, I called a longtime friend I had been planning to stay with for a few days and said “Does pinkeye freak you out? Because I think Milo has it.”
I completely gave up trying to visit anyone besides my dad when Grace woke up with severe conjunctivitis in both eyes. Our new plan was to limp home to Arizona and call, text or write the friends we didn’t get to see.
The journey home proved more terrifying than any of the previous illnesses, though. There was a dramatic and terrifying moment when the flight attendant got on the intercom and asked the passengers “Is there a doctor or nurse on board? We have a passenger who needs medical attention.” Unfortunately, Grace was the star of that scene; she had an allergic reaction to the prescription eye drops I had been giving her for three days. The evil drops waited for us to leave my dad’s home located 20 minutes from a hospital and board an airplane before they swelled up Grace’s face and partially closed her airways.
Thankfully, there was a doctor on board (hi, Karen! We love you! You were an unexpected angel in the skies!). Grace’s swelling went down during the remainder of the flight, but her eyes were really infected from the drops. Karen told me to give her Benadryl at the hotel room and take her to a doctor the next morning. Done and done; Grace recovered completely in a couple days with oral antibiotics.
We three travelers are now back home, safe and sound at the Triangle N with Jim. If you’d like to visit, please drive out whenever you can. Because we are never leaving the ranch again.
Photo of Grace by Grandma Two Dogs (my mom, who is not native)