Thursday, April 18, 2019

Lessons Learned From Getting Sick While Abroad

Getting sick at any time is a miserable experience, even under the best of circumstances.  Getting sick while on vacation, on the other hand, kicks the miserableness up to a whole new level.  Some might say it sucks.  And, in my case, getting sick while on my quinquennial girls' trip with my best friend earlier this month to celebrate our 45th birthdays totally blew.  Honestly, it blew chunks and I mean that both figuratively and literally. 

Within 12 hours of arriving at our resort in Runaway Bay along Jamaica's north coast, I found myself heaving up the contents of my digestive system.  I should mention that I hate, and I mean HATE, throwing up.  I'm one of those people who will go to great lengths to avoid throwing up, even when I know it will make me feel better.  Well, even had I tried, there would've been no stopping the forceful expulsion that hit me around 4 a.m. the first morning and the same goes for the two additional times I threw up within the next 10 hours.  I'm not sure what I caused my illness - E. coli, salmonella, Norovirus...  All I know is that whatever it was, it was nasty.

I'd love to say that whatever I had passed quickly, that I rebounded and was able to fully enjoy the reminder of my highly anticipated vacation with my best friend, but it didn't.  The worst, in my opinion, was the vomiting, and it was, thankfully, over within 24 hours.  However, I dealt with other issues (rolling waves of nausea, fatigue, lack of appetite, and intermittent diarrhea) the rest of the week.  Although I wasn't completely sidelined, for I learned how to manage and keep my symptoms at bay (i.e. consume only toast, rolls, soup, water, Gatorade, and Pepto), I wasn't my optimal traveling self.  

In life, I try to look at every event, even the most difficult and the most inopportune, as an experience to learn something.  Here are four things I learned from getting sick while abroad.

Know That It Can Happen To Anyone
Anyone who eats is susceptible to coming down with some foodborne illness.  Anyone.  And, having said that, it can strike anywhere at any time.  Yes, there are many things we can do to prevent from getting sick while traveling, but let's be honest, there are many factors that are simply out of our control.  Although the timing of me getting sick sucked, I know in the grand scheme of things that I've been very fortunate.  I've traveled to a lot of places in my lifetime and this is the first time I've ever found myself sick while traveling.  

Know Your Options
After I threw up the third and final time, I went to the resort's medical center.  There I spoke with a nurse who helped me decide my course of action based on my symptoms.  In lieu of a having a doctor come to the resort or me going to  a local clinic, I opted to try some over the counter medicine first and see how things went from there.  It was nice knowing what options I had if my condition didn't improve, which they thankfully did.

Always Pack Pepto
I spent nearly $30 on two travel-sized bottles of Pepto Bismol at the resort.  The same amount would have cost me around $10 or less here at home.  I've always been one to pack Imodium when I travel, but not Pepto.  I truly believe that pink liquid was instrumental in helping me manage the second round of symptoms as well as I did.  Lesson learned - always pack Pepto.

Salvage What You Can of Your Trip
I'm very thankful that C and I didn't have an overly active vacation planned.  If we had, I doubt I could've participated in some of the activities and that would've made me feel even worse because at that point my illness would've negatively impacted C's trip, too.  Fortunately, our plans primarily involved lying by the pool, lying by the beach, drinking fruity drinks, and spending uninterrupted time together catching up - all of which I was still able to do (minus the drinking fruity drinks).  In fact, as long as I ate a strict diet of toast, rolls, soup, Gatorade, water, and Pepto, I faired rather well.  I even managed to snorkel, kayak for about 20 minutes, and climb Dunn's River Falls.  Most importantly, C and I got to spend a lot of uninterrupted time together catching up.  Although it wasn't necessarily the trip I imagined, I salvaged what I could.

Although I would've preferred not getting sick while in Jamaica, I did.  Life happens and when it does, all you can do is the best you can under the circumstances.  I do hope to return to Jamaica one day for a proper do-over.

Have you ever been ill while traveling out of the country?  What did the experience teach you?  

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Currently... (Vol. 38)

Enjoying...  Spring Break!  Yee-ha!

Thankful...  for the opportunity to visit my family in WV last week during the first week of my break.  While I was in, we celebrated my grandparents' 68th wedding anniversary!

Still...  walking a lot.  I walked 73 miles in March and if all goes as planned, I will walk around the same distance or more this month.

Ready...  to take a break from longer distance walking after I complete the KDF Mini Marathon on the 27th.

Loving...  these photos I found online of celebrities posing with their younger selves by Ard Gelinck.  I shared some back in February, but found these a week or two ago.

Griping and complaining...  about the fact that we had to pay a boatload of taxes this year.  Grrr....

Reading Listening to...  the audiobook Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Watching...  Breaking Bad (again) and parts of miscellaneous NCAA basketball tournament games that R has been watching.

Playing...  too much Two Dots.  What can I say?  It's addictive. 

Dealing...  with my escape artist dog, Rascal, whom I swear is Houdini reincarnated, because she keeps finding ways to get out of my fenced-in back yard.

Admiring...  Rascal's spunk, spirit, dedication, and stick-with-it-ness.  Seriously, she's 10 years old and she had to use a lot of ingenuity to get out the last time.  Although her shenanigans are a pain in the butt, it's good to see her active.  Throughout most of this winter she refused to leave her kennel in the garage, opting to sleep all day instead of exploring her backyard kingdom.

Wishing...  Ticketmaster and the like would just go ahead and add the taxes and fees into the ticket price up front.  My $50 "cheap seat" ticket to see Phil Collins turned out to be around $70 in the end.  If they would've just gone ahead and priced them as $70, I still would've bought them, but it would've saved me the initial sticker shock and from having to do some quick mental math...

Laughing...  at this:

Agreeing...  with this:

March in a Snapshot:

1) Walking in the snow, a stunning sunrise as viewed from my school,
my pass to watch the state senators do nothing but blow smoke and banter
with each other during a "joke-of-a" legislative session.
2) Chaperoning a "Glow Party" (dance with glow sticks) with a coworker
at school, a crazy windy afternoon, attending Get On Your Feet.
3) A well-earned Oreo Blizzard after a 12 mile walk, my Granny's flowers,
hiking the Endless Wall Trail in the New River Gorge (WV) with my aunt and uncle.

What have you been up to lately?

Linking up with:

PS - I'm currently on a girls getaway with my BFF of 31 years celebrating our 45th birthdays.  If I don't respond promptly to your comments, that's why.  

Friday, March 29, 2019

My Happy List - What I Enjoyed in March (Vol. 7)

In keeping with my plan to periodically "check-in" and share some of the things that have brought me enjoyment, (ENJOY is my word of the year, after all), please allow me to share a sampling of the things that I enjoyed in March.

I enjoyed...

March 1 - the thrill of victory as my current school won a food drive challenge against my former school. Most importantly, both schools collected almost 9,000 non-perishable food items to donate to a local food pantry.  

March 5 - dinner out with my husband and his kids celebrating his daughter's 20th birthday. 

March 14 - having dinner with two of the ladies from my former carpool gang.  I'm so grateful that the unlikely friendship we forged so many years ago during our daily commutes has endured despite our work lives taking us in different directions.

March 17 - seeing the musical Get on Your Feet.

March 24 - the DQ Oreo Blizzard I treated myself to after having walked 11.6 miles the previous day.  I've had countless Blizzards in my lifetime, but that one was one of the best I've ever had.

March 28 - celebrating my grandparents' 68th anniversary! 

March 29 - the accidental hiatus I've taken from blogging during most of the month.  March 2019, so far, is the "quietest" month of blogging that I've had since I started back in 2015.  This hiatus wasn't planned either; I've just been very busy with... life.  During the few occasions when I found myself sitting down with my laptop to compose something, I had nothing.  <Cue crickets chirping>  One week without blogging rolled in to two and so on and instead of freaking out and forcing myself to publish something, anything, I decided to just go with it and let it be.  Even though this is going to sound funny coming from a blogger, even a small time blogger like myself, I truly enjoyed not blogging this month.  I do believe that the universe speaks to us if we are willing to listen.  Obviously, the universe knew I needed a break and I'm happy that I listened.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with:

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Currently... (Vol. 37)

Taking... a sick day.  I've felt as if I've been fighting some bug all week and this morning I finally had enough.  Trying to do speech therapy with a sore throat and laryngitis is not fun.

Hoping...  that March is a little drier than February.
Yes, that's a little over exaggerated, but sometimes it has felt that way.

Over...  rain, winter coats, rain, cold, rain,  perpetually gray skies, rain, and winter in general.  Oh, did I mention rain? Seriously, Louisville received something like 8.5 inches of rain last month.  So. Over. It.

Dreading...  the time change that's coming up this weekend.  This one throws me for a loop.

Fed up with...  state politicians who have declared war against public education and public school employees.  I have paid into the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System for 19 years, whether I wanted to or not.  It is not an option. When I retire, all I want is what was promised to me, it's that simple.  As a speech pathologist, I could've made a lot more money working in the medical sector, but I chose to work in the schools for several reasons.  One reason was the defined retirement benefit.  I have been willing to take the lesser salary over time in exchange for a defined pension.  I resent the governor of Kentucky and several members of the state legislature for making public school employees out to be selfish and unreasonable when we voice our concerns and fight back.  

Urging...  members of the state legislature to think outside the box in terms of finding alternative revenue sources.  For example, if you cross the Ohio River and go to one of the many casinos in Indiana, some that are on the banks of the Ohio River itself, the majority of license plates on the cars in the parking lots are from Kentucky!  Can you imagine the amount of $$ that is going over the state line, money that we could put to good use here at home?

Tired...  of the general public referring to educators as "over paid babysitters."  My response:
  1. Trade jobs with any teacher for one day and at the end of the day let's talk.  Oh, how I wish this would happen.
  2. Babysitting would pay more.  Think about it - $10 a kid per hour x 25 students in a class = $250/hour.  $250/hr. x 7.25 hours in a day = $1812.50/day.  $1812.50/day x 175 schools day per year - $317,187.50 per year.

Apologizing...  for the rant.  Sorry to be such a "Negative Nancy," but I've just had it on several levels.  On to more positive things.

Enjoying...  the larger, rainfall-like shower head that my husband bought and installed "just because."  It's absolutely heavenly.

Loving...  these wise words from Disney:

Counting... down the days until Spring Break (12 work days including today).  

Walking... a lot. If the weather cooperates, I will walk 18-20 miles this week.

Looking...  forward to seeing the musical On Your Feet at the Kentucky Center next weekend.

Reading Listening...  to the audiobook In Movement There is Peace: Stumbling 500 Miles Along the Way to the Spirit.

Watching...  not much.  The Masked Singer season finale was last week and the only other show I've been watching, other than CBS Sunday Morning, is Shameless.  It's season finale is this Sunday.  

Wishing... my dad a very Happy 70th Birthday and my maternal grandparents a very Happy 68th Wedding Anniversary at the end of the month!

Laughing... at this: 

I know...  it's corny!  LOL!

Agreeing...  with:

February in a Snapshot:

What have you been up to lately?

Linking up with:

Friday, March 1, 2019

What I Enjoyed in February - My Happy List (Vol. 6)

I've participated in this weekly linkup sporadically in the past, but never with any regularity.  Two weeks ago, I posted an entry about my word of year - enjoy.  After posting it, I decided that I should periodically "check-in" and share some of the things that have brought me enjoyment.  I don't plan on chronicling something everyday from here on out, but rather just a sampling that I'll share at the end of the month.

I enjoyed...

February 14 - ...tossing the confetti that a co-worker decorated my work table with around all day with my students.  We made a mess, but had a ball celebrating my birthday!

15 - ...the fruit basket I received at work (birthday present).  It contained the yummiest pears.

16 - ...listening to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine during my somewhat chilly, but sunny 6-mile walk.  

17 - ...eating the rest of the chocolate dipped strawberries R gave me for Valentine's Day for breakfast.  Hey, they're fruit, right?!?  LOL!

18 - ...the deep tissue massage I got today.  It was nice...

19 - ...seeing a coworker (whom I used to work in the same building with many years ago) at an after school training.

20 - ...the glass of Blushing Monk I had with dinner.

21 - ...having drinks and a leisurely dinner with my speech path friends at the conference we attend every year.

22 - ...the two morning sessions I attended at the conference that focused on the effects of screen time on brain development in children.  Rarely can I ever say that I enjoyed a session.  There are many sessions in which I've learned a lot, but not necessarily enjoyed.

23 - ...the calm, quiet stillness of my home.  After being away at a conference for 2 1/2 days, I was in desperate need for some introvert recharging time.

24 - ...feeling the warm sun on my face after so many days of rain. 

25 - ...watching both the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga performance of "Shallow" and the NIKE "Dream Crazier" commercial from the Oscars ceremony last night (that I didn't see until today).  Both made my Monday much better.

26 - ...the new audiobook I started this afternoon during my walk - In Movement There is Peace: Stumbling 500 Miles Along the Way to the Spirit.

27 - ...watching the season finale of The Masked Singer.  Although I batted .000 in guessing any of the mystery singers, I still enjoyed the show.

28 - ...playing the picture version of Apples to Apples with my pragmatic/social language group.  Both boys are all working on using language to persuade and listening to them plead their cases (as to why their picture should be chosen as the best) was hilarious!

What have you enjoyed lately?  As always, thanks for stopping by.

Linking up with:

Thursday, February 14, 2019

My Word of the Year

I know I'm little late to the game in terms of establishing (and posting) my "Word of the Year."  But, believe it or not, much of my tardiness was by design.

You see, today is the 45th day of 2019.  It's also the day in which I complete my 45th trip around the sun. That's right, today is my 45th birthday and I couldn't think of a better day to reveal my word of the year.

Now, I agree that turning 45 isn't as big of a deal as turning 40 or 50, but it's still significant.  You see, I think it's fair to say that at this point in my life I probably have more years behind me than I do in front of me. Yes, I know that's incredibly morbid, but I'm being real.  Sure, I might be one of those folks like the recently deceased George W. H. Bush who lives well into their 90s, but that's doubtful.  And, unless I'm in really good physical and mental health, I don't want to live that long.  While I'm being completely honest, I must also admit that accepting the fact that I'm on the preverbal "downhill slope" of life is... strange. It has made me stop and take stock of my life and think about what I want the rest of my life to look like. 

When I was in my teens and twenties, I, like so many in my generation, thought I had all the time in the world.  That arrogance of youth even extended somewhat into my thirties.  But, when I turned 40 and officially entered this strange time of life defined as "midlife," the time when Evelyn Couch from the 1980s movie Fried Green Tomatoes said she was "too old to be young and too young to be old," I knew I no longer had the luxury of time.  I viewed turning 40 as the equivalent of resuming a football game after halftime.  I figured, God willing, that the game wasn't over but the amount of time I had to play was limited. I'm now five years older, so I'm well into the third quarter.

So, as funny as this sounds, I've spent a lot of time over the past three months thinking about time.  Maybe it was due to my 45th birthday rapidly approaching; maybe it was because of various time related events that have been happening in my life, I don't know.  None-the-less, time has been on my mind a lot here lately.

One lazy Sunday morning last month, during a broadcast of CBS Sunday Morning, a Viking River Cruises commercial caught my attention.  As I watched, it deeply resonated with me and it conveyed everything about time and living that I had been feeling and contemplating during the previous months, but hadn't been able to fully express in words.  

Amen.  I don't think I could've said it any better.  How very important it is to spend one's time wisely and that is exactly what I intend to do.

I cannot think of a better way to spend the rest of the time I have on this Earth, however long that may be, than by simply enjoying it.  So, my word of the year is: 

I plan to enjoy the little things, enjoy the big things, enjoy the ride, enjoy the process, enjoy the moment, enjoy the people in my life, and enjoy journey.  Most of all, I plan to enjoy myself.

I say "life is too short..." all the time and, you know what, it really is.  This year I vow to do more things that I enjoy, do things I've always said I wanted to do (but haven't for whatever reason), and eliminate the things that I don't enjoy to the best of my ability.  

Although I'm not much of a Valentine's Day person, sharing one's birthday with the second most commercialized holiday of the year can do that to a person, I hope you have a great Valentine's Day. Whatever you do, be sure to enjoy!

Linking up with:

Thanks to Steph @ Life According to Steph for exposing me to the Guy Lombardo quote (which might have originally come from a Chinese proverb) in her 12/6/18 post.
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