I left home on Sunday to speak at a conference in Michigan. I had quite an exciting day of travel on Sunday. My flight from Chicago to Traverse City, Michigan, originally was delayed because of a crack in the windshield…which they had not found in their routine maintenance checks. However, the pilots thankfully discovered the crack before it was our turn to take off. We then had a huge lightning and deluge-style rain storm, so we stayed on the runway along with about eight other aircraft waiting out the weather for an hour or so. The picture above is the latest “office spaces” that I have found. It is really a diaper changing station in the Chicago airport, but it looked like a great standing station for a laptop!
When we unloaded, I looked at the “cracked” windshield. It was a SPIDER-WEB of cracks. I honestly do not know if this went from “a crack” to the spider-web during the ran storm, but I certainly hope so!
Anyway…upon returning to the gate in hopes of the promised new airplane, I discovered that, as I had feared, my flight had been canceled. There are only two flights each day to Traverse City from Chicago, and the several passengers had missed their flight there City the night before. They would receive priority booking on the evening flight; the rest of us would have to leave the next morning. The problem for me in this scenario was that the flight arrival time was at time my presentation was scheduled.
Because the conference holding the group had asked me to come, they had paid for all of my travel. I had to get to Traverse City on Sunday night! After using both of my phones to enlist the help of the huz and the girl to investigate train and bus options, the only option that I had was to rent a car and drive the six and a half hours to Traverse City. I had a brand new Ford Focus with only 3,000 miles on it to make the trip. Most of my time was spent in the large state of MIchigan because Traverse City is in the far north of the state on a bay of Lake Michigan. The picture above is of a the water tower that made me do a double take. The huz is from Zeeland, North Dakota, which – I discovered! – is not much smaller than Zeeland, Michigan.
I arrived in Traverse City a mere 5 hours later than had I driven the entire way from Minneapolis. Ironically (at least I think this is irony), I returned my car to the airport that I should have arrived at 8 hours prior to my actual arrival time. The resort where I stayed had an airport shuttle that I had missed earlier as I was unable to warn them of my delay, but they were kind enough to still come to get me at 10 p.m. I was exhausted when I arrived, and I’m pretty sure I looked horrible. The picture above is my stuff as I waited outside the airport. I posted the same picture to Facebook with the comment stating, “If I saw myself right now, I am pretty sure I would judge me.”
I connected with my contact for the conference. I discovered that evening at dinner that her mother grew up in the same town where my mother grew up. I have to send a private message to someone on Facebook who may actually be related to her! I learned some interesting things about Michigan’s education world, and I got some pretty cool free stuff (presents for my kids mostly – pictured above). M y presentation went very well, but as soon as the presentation was over, I realized that I felt pretty awful.
I assumed that my physical state was due to exhaustion from the travel of the day before. I had taken two showers already that day (I snuck up for a second shower just for the therapeutic value after lunch), but I snuck in a tub soak before supper. At dinner, I became worse as my stomach seemed very upset in addition to the fatigue. I tried to eat, but – when I made a few trips to visit the bathroom throughout dinner – it became clear that eating was not a good choice. My colleagues asked a few times if I was ok, and I finally told them that I did not feel well. One of them told me I kind of looked grey.
Returning from dinner, I went immediately to bed. That, however, did not really help. In addition to the stomach issues (every time I stood up, I got to throw up…lovely!), I now experienced shortness of breath and chest pressure. It was clear to me that I was not going to get better soon. I also realized that I was travelling alone and that no one expected me to be anywhere the next day except an airline on Tuesday evening.
I decided that I needed to go to the emergency room. I phoned the colleague who had arranged for me to speak at the conference and asked if she could take me to the emergency room. Looking back on this, I am so glad that I had met her, that I had eaten dinner with her that night, and that she was someone I felt I could call.
Once in the emergency room doors, the phrase “chest pains” moved me quickly to a room where a cardiogram was done quickly. Heart issues were ruled out almost immediately, they took loads of blood, and the doctor started thinking gastro or gallbladder as culprits. That changed, however, once my labs came back and indicated that I had a low sodium concentrate level (hyponatremia) and a low potassium level (hypokalemia). Both of these conditions, which cause symtoms that mirror a heart attack and can cause heart issues, required some intervention in order to get the levels back to normal so that I could be well.
I was admitted, and – because I had presented with cardiac issues – was roomed on the heart wing. I had a private suite with excellent accommodations and wonderful nurses. I am pretty sure that smaller towns have something great in their hospitals that I cannot quite put my finger on right now. I was told that I should expect to be there until at least Wednesday morning. This meant that I would certainly miss my flight on Tuesday to Boston to see family and friends. I decided to wait until Tuesday morning to hear it from the doctor before I believed it, but it became truth the next day.
It was not stressful to be in the hospital for me except for the frequent blood draws, the IV which gave me back those valuable missing elements, and the shot in the stomach to ward off any blood clots. By the way, a shot in your stomach hurts. A lot.
I was released this morning with directions from my doctor to go home – not to Boston – to rest and recover. Thankfully, my contact for the conference had brought her dad with her. Even though she was in meetings this morning when I could leave the hospital and needed to get to the airport, he was not only free but also willing to take me to the airport. What a great man! He ensured that I made it to the flight that, thankfully!!!, an American Airlines ticket agent had arranged for me to take. I am so thankful for the wonderful customer service that I have received from American Airlines on this trip.
I am thankful to be home and will be taking time to recover for the next few days. I am also thankful that Tom let me stop at the bay in Traverse City.
It is beautiful!
Thank you to all who prayed for me while I was in the hospital and for my flight home.