Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Curse of Labor Day Weekend

A few years back, in late 2006, before any kids were in the picture, my husband and I decided we'd like to get away for a bit during Labor Day weekend.  It was literally a spur-of-the-moment decision, since my husband came home from work that Friday evening and said, "Pack a bag - we're going on a road trip!"  We picked a spot just about two hours away, and off we went.

Feeling mighty adventurous about our impromptu mini-vacation, we were only about 45 minutes into our trip when some lady in the lane next to us completely side-swiped our car.  Our NEW car, that we purchased only a couple months before.  Luckily, no one was at all hurt, but it sure did put a small damper on our weekend.

2007:  Fast forward to the following year.  My husband and I decided we'd like to try another mini vacation over Labor Day weekend, so we picked another spot - again, within a short driving distance - and prayed that we wouldn't have a similar disaster to the one the year before.

The drive went well (thank you, Jesus!) and we had a great time that weekend. However, on our last day there, my husband started feeling sick.  He suddenly found himself tired, nauseous, and having severe stomach pains.  Uh oh, I thought.  He's getting the flu.  Well, as it turned out, I WISH it only was the flu. As we were just about to start driving home, we suddenly realized the severity of the situation, and I ended up driving my hubby into a nearby Urgent Care Center.  He was in agonizing pain, and we didn't know why.  Thoughts of a burst appendix entered my mind.  Other random, scary, and gruesome thoughts were plaguing me with fear, but before I could get too worked up, the doctor came in and said it was just an acute case of diverticulitis.  Once my husband was cared for and starting to feel better, we realized we hadn't informed anyone back home of the situation, so it was time to make some (really not fun) phone calls:
"Hi...we're still in Cleveland...we're in the hospital, but don't panic - we're okay!..."
Me and David in Cleveland, visiting
the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame

2008:  A year later, Labor Day weekend falls upon us once again.  I ask my husband where he'd like to go this year on our (now seemingly annual) road trip.  He gives me a sideways look and asks if I think it's a good idea.  This year finds me 8 months pregnant with our first child, and my husband is worried, to say the least.  "What if you go into labor?" "What if we get into another accident?"  I scoff at his paranoia and proceed to suggesting our next destination.

The drive went well, the weekend was fabulous, and as the end of our trip drew near, we laughed at the idea of being "cursed" by Labor Day Weekend. How ridiculous, we thought.  Something bad couldn't happen EVERY year, right?  After all, we've already encountered a car accident and a hospital trip - what else could go wrong?

Well....how about another hospital trip?

Yep, that's right.  This time, we actually make it all the way home before Labor Day Weekend decides to curse us.  We walk in the door, plop our bags down, and - utterly exhausted - haul our tired bodies into bed.

At about 11:45 that night, my husband starts to stir.  I don't notice it at first, but after awhile, it becomes apparent that something is wrong.  He tells me his stomach hurts.  Being totally exhausted, uncomfortably pregnant, and blazing hot, I tell him he's fine and to go back to sleep (nice wife I am, huh?  Don't worry, I redeem myself later).

At about 12:30 am, my husband is now groaning in pain, clutching the side of his abdomen.  I sat up and asked him if he was okay.  He shook his head and kept clutching his stomach.  He was starting to get really out of breath and it became obvious that he was in a lot of pain.  I wondered if this was a recurring episode of his diverticulitis, so I insisted he let me take him to the hospital.  He objected at first (why do men always do that?) but as the pain got worse, he finally gave in.  We threw some clothes on, and I ushered him off to the car.

Driving to the hospital was very strange, to say the least.  Here I am, 8 months pregnant, in the driver's seat, rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night, while my husband groaned in agony in the passenger seat beside me. Hmmm...what's wrong with this picture?  Shouldn't this be the other way around?  We look back at this scenario now and can finally find the humor in it.

Once at the hospital, we learned that this was not a recurring diverticulitis episode...and in fact, the diverticulitis he was diagnosed with last year was actually a misdiagnosis!  So what was the cause of my husband's terrible pain this time?  Ready for this?

An almost ruptured appendix.

We just couldn't believe it.  I sat in the waiting room, praying and crying (more like blubbering, as I was an extremely over-tired, hormonal, and emotional pregnant woman) while my husband was whisked away for an emergency appendectomy.  He came out of surgery just fine, and later that night, insisted I go home and get some rest.  I couldn't imagine leaving my husband's side after having surgery, and so - 8 months pregnant with a huge belly and swollen ankles and all - I decide to camp out in a Lazy Boy recliner next to my husband's hospital bed all night long (this is where I redeem myself from earlier in the night).

Blurry pic of me 8 months pregnant
with Nathan

2009:  Believe it or not, the next year, Labor Day Weekend decided to rear its ugly head once more.  Having no desire to be in another accident or having to endure another hospital stay, we got smart this year and decided to stay close to home and take mini day trips around our neighborhood with our 10-month old baby boy.  We thought we finally outsmarted Labor Day Weekend's wrath by forgoing the road trip this time, but our efforts were in vain.

After spending a blissful, calm, relaxing - and uneventful! - Labor Day weekend, we thought we were in the clear...until the end of the weekend brought upon us...SWINE FLU.  Or should I say, it was brought upon my husband.  I was newly pregnant with our next child, and so very thankful for not getting it myself (Lysol, bleach, face masks, constant hand-washing, and prayer helped quite a bit).  My poor husband was quarantined to the basement for several days (don't worry - I carefully took him food and drinks and anything else he needed), because we couldn't risk him infecting me or the baby.  The poor guy was so sick, I remember having to contact his boss for him, because he literally was too weak to hold up his phone.

By this point, the score was now:

Labor Day: 4
Us: 0

2010:  This brings us to last year's Labor Day weekend.  We now have two little boys - a 23-month-old and a 3-month old.  Against better judgement, and wholeheartedly believing that we couldn't possibly encounter any more trouble, we set out on yet another road trip.  This time, we - perhaps foolishly - decided to brave the 8.5-hour drive (which ended up being an 11.5-hour drive - ugh!) to visit my sister and her husband in Maryland. We had the most wonderful time visiting them and seeing their beautiful new home.

Aunt Mishie and Nathan

Nathan and Uncle Adam

The drive back was another long one (closer to 13 hours this time, due to driving with a cranky toddler and a constantly-nursing newborn).  I remember being literally 3 minutes from our house after a 13-hour drive, when I hear sirens and see flashing lights in the sideview mirror.  Are you kidding me??  and Why, why, why, WHY??  were the thoughts running through my head.

We were pulled over for speeding...actually, just barely going over the speed limit...but we were just so anxious to get home and put our exhausted little ones to bed.  My husband got quite the tongue-lashing from the cop about putting our boys' lives in danger by speeding (point taken, for sure), but we sighed a huge sigh of relief when he was gracious enough to let us go, once we told him where we were coming from, how long we've been on the road, and how our house was literally just down the street.

You would think Labor Day Weekend would have just stopped there...but, sadly, this wasn't the case.  We got home, put both kids to bed, left the unpacking of the car for the next day, and once again tossed our tired bodies into bed. However, my husband woke up just a few hours later with terribly violent vomiting.  It was at this point that we seriously had to wonder if Labor Day Weekend truly had some kind of vendetta against my husband!

Just as quickly as it had come on, the vomiting completely and mysteriously stopped by morning, and all was well.  My husband felt fine, and off to work he went (while snarling at the fact that Labor Day Weekend just couldn't leave him alone).

And so, it's that time of year again, and we must be gluttons for punishment because here we are about to take another road trip.  We're planning on visiting my sister and her husband again this Labor Day weekend, and not only are we desperately hoping to make it there much closer to the 8.5-hour timeline, we're having faith that THIS Labor Day will be the one to break the "curse".

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