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illness » Jolana Malkston
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Jan 172014

Jolana Malkston 2Murphy’s Law merely states the obvious and inevitable. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Here’s the way it was supposed to go.

Macho Guy, Schnoodle Dog and I take a pleasant, comfortable drive down South in clear driving weather, in excellent health and in high spirits, to spend a warm, joy-filled and fun week at Christmas with Firstborn and family in the Carolinas. Then our happy trio drives farther south for a cheery, upbeat New Year’s celebration and week-long visit in the Sunshine State with my fab Baby Sister, my seriously cool brother-in-law and their affectionate and unbelievably needy Viszla, in their new home. After that, we drive on up to Florida’s panhandle for a sunny and warm two months’ stay in a charming rental cottage near the enchanting Emerald Coast where I would write volumes and Macho Guy would play golf (under par, of course) three days a week in gorgeous weather while I write my masterpiece.

Enter Murphy’s Law, aka the downer known as reality.

Excellent Health? Right. I caught a nasty cold a week before we were to leave for Firstborn’s place. The cold got super nasty so I finally dragged my sorry self to the doctor the day before we left. She listened to my lungs, took x-rays and put me on high-octane antibiotics and two other major chemical concoctions for my not really a super nasty cold but actually a super nasty sinus/respiratory infection. I coughed up chunks of lung (I think it was lung) and got no sleep the night before we left. I was undead the following morning but with a bit of tinted moisturizer on my face, I passed for the living.

A comfortable, pleasant drive in clear weather? Not likely. We packed our Chevy Traverse a few inches from its roof with luggage and other travel necessities, leaving no room for comfort or maneuvering, and we hit the road. Rain was coming down when we pulled out of our driveway. It rained non-stop from Michigan to the Carolinas. I dislike driving in the rain, especially if the temperature is hovering at or around freezing, which it was when we started out. Scary, especially when largely insane drivers go zooming by as if they were qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.

High spirits? Oh, please. I coughed, sneezed and snuffled from Michigan to the Carolinas. The meds didn’t seem to help at all. I was out of sorts, irritable and—to be honest—totally bitchy. As a consequence I was a mostly, if not completely, obnoxious traveling companion. My bad.

A warm, joy-filled and fun week at Christmas? Guess again. When we finally arrived at Firstborn’s, the gang kept their distance having been forewarned that I was a walking petri dish swarming with bacteria. I couldn’t hug or kiss my grandchildren, a heartbreaking disappointment. I had to keep a safe distance when playing games with them too. ::sigh::

That wasn’t the only disappointment. We were at Firstborn’s for only two days when a major ice storm knocked out power to our area of Michigan. Little Brother, who also lives in Michigan with his family, drove to our house and hooked up a generator. Macho Guy refused to impose on our neighbors and insisted on driving home solo to keep the generator operating. Firstborn and I couldn’t talk him out of it, and he wouldn’t take me with him since I was still ill. On the way to Michigan, Macho Guy began feeling the symptoms of a cold and cough. [I can’t imagine how he caught it.] The power was out for several days, so Macho Guy spent Christmas alone in Michigan while nursing a nasty cold and cough, and I spent Christmas with our son and his family down south while nursing a super nasty sinus/respiratory infection. O joy. It was our first Christmas apart since we were married. Bummer doesn’t begin to cover the ground.

Our holiday plans suffered another setback while Macho Guy was holding down the fort in Michigan. Schnoodle Dog, who normally is able to go for eight hours or more without a pit stop, chose Firstborn’s home in which to lose control of his bladder indoors—on three occasions—while chasing after the family’s two female Labradoodles, the little lech. After the third embarrassing incident, we suspected a urinary tract infection.

The day after Macho Guy returned from Michigan, literally sick and tired, we postponed the next leg of our trip in order to take Schnoodle Dog to the Labradoodles’ vet. Schnoodle Dog had a UTI test (positive) and the vet’s examination revealed an enlarged prostate. She scheduled an ultrasound for the following day. Schnoodle Dog is our four-legged child. We were so worried about him that we delayed the Florida trip until we heard the ultrasound result. Fortunately, the enlargement was benign. Whew! Unfortunately, Schnoodle Dog has to wear an incontinence wrap temporarily. (It’s less humiliating for him than a doggie diaper.) Even more unfortunately, Schnoodle Dog will have to be neutered when we return home to eliminate the prostate problem. We haven’t told him. He is deaf; he wouldn’t hear us if we did tell him, but I suspect he read the vet’s lips. He’s been very clingy and more affectionate than usual since the vet visit, so I’m sure he’s on to us.

A cheery, upbeat New Year’s celebration and weeklong visit in the Sunshine State with my fab Baby Sister? Don’t I wish. By the time we dealt with Schnoodle Dog’s health problems, we ended up spending New Year’s Eve and Day with Firstborn and family, staying much longer than we planned. Since we missed our scheduled New Year’s visit with my Baby Sister and BIL by several days, our visit to their new home was scrubbed by mutual consent. Macho Guy and I drove directly to the panhandle from Firstborn’s place; Baby Sis, my BIL and their pampered pooch drove up to the panhandle to visit with us in our rental cottage instead.

A sunny and warm two months’ stay in a charming rental cottage? Seriously? It rained the entire first week, confining the four of us to indoor activities like hanging out at the cottage during the day watching movies from our DVD collection and hanging out at local bistros with live music at night. The sun came out at last the day before Baby Sis and her hubs were due to leave. It figured.

About Macho Guy’s golf. He missed out on his first three days of golf because of the wet weather. He prowled the cottage grumbling and muttering unpleasantries to himself. Once the weather dried up, he was able to play but again prowled the cottage grumbling and muttering unpleasantries to himself because of the inconsistency of his play. Still over par, dang it.

About my writing. I got back to writing once our houseguests departed, beginning with this blog post. Tomorrow, it’s back to the masterpiece. Okay, okay, so it’s back to the manuscript. [I was just thinking positively.]

And so it all went…not exactly the way we planned. Thanks a lot, Murphy.

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