Whenever I mention Semester at Sea, or when I went to France for three days last February, the most frequent responses are, "You are so lucky - I wish I could go." Or, "That's very fancy." Or even, "Your parents must be wealthy."
Yes, I am lucky. I'm lucky to have parents and a husband who support me in my desire to see the world. But it couldn't have been bestowed on a more grateful candidate. I have loved every minute of traveling and adventure - even the bumpy midnight trains, bug bites, sunstroke, bad food, no food, or whatever. I love it. There has never been a minute wasted on me, I've truly lived it.
Yesterday Eloise had a routine dilation at the hospital that turned out to be...not-so-routine. Our surgeon did three scopes, and believes Eloise has a hiatal hernia. Those look like this:
This is not surprising, considering how little esophagus she had when the repair was done last December. But it is a big problem. It contributes much to her reflux, which erodes her esophagus. It is something that needs to be fixed in a year from now. On an adult with a health esophagus, its not a big deal. But with a chronically ill baby, with a scar-riddled esophagus, diseased lungs and a compromised airway? Its an ordeal. It will take at least two surgeries, with overnight stays in the hospital, and a lot of decisions and stress for her mother.
Now because Eloise was in the OR for a significant amount of time yesterday, she was intubated for a long time, which irritates her airway. Later in the day at home, she had three significant spasms, where she turned blue, stopped breathing, closed her eyes, went limp. She was miserable last night, and none too cheery this morning.
Stress level? Maximum. Its taken the mick right out of me. I can't even pretend to be cheerful today for anyone else's sake.
So when I am maximumly stressed, where do I turn? I remember my adventures. Yesterday I turned on the playlist I listened to when I was researching my master's thesis in Paris, and remembered wearing my little black dress, climbing the time-worn stone staircase to the tiny library with massive windows in the musee de Cluny. Or I remember the sounds of the rainforest at night in the Amazon.
Okay, so travel and adventure are rare and require money. But they provide the most valuable experiences, treasured memories, and I am grateful for each and every time I have been able to board a bus, train, taxi, or plane.