So here’s what happened on my way to Utah for a business trip two weeks ago. (Let me first say, I don’t go on many business trips, and judging from this experience, that’s a good thing. Also, on my last business trip, my flight was delayed like 6 hours and I was stuck alone in the crowded airport with lots of cranky people until 2 a.m. Yay for business trips!) I left for Utah on a Tuesday. On the Sunday before, Chad was putting some wood on the fire in our fireplace when he burned his pinky finger. Except, he didn’t burn his pinky finger. He thought he did, so he ran it under cold water and put frozen veggies on it.
Monday morning, we speculated on his now completely swollen finger. Maybe not a burn? Did he break it somehow? But, no, I could squeeze it without much pain. Maybe an allergic reaction? To what?… He came home from work that night and his entire hand was swollen– like no knuckles swollen. He had emailed me a couple times that day to say that he thought maybe it was an allergic reaction and he hoped we still had some Benedryl at home, but then he didn’t want to wait so he went to the pharmacy and got some already. He thought Benedryl and pharmacy; when I saw it, I thought, we need to go the hospital. But we didn’t because he thinks I overreact.
Tuesday morning, early, painfully early, I left for Utah, by myself on an airplane. I’ve mentioned before, I hate flying. I hate it. I’m scared, I’m uncomfortable, I get nausea and headaches and stiffness. I’m a baby about it. And actually the flight went fine, almost too well until the last twenty minutes. The last twenty minutes, approaching Chicago for a layover, there was serious turbulence. Not turbulence like, whoa, watch you don’t spill your cup of soda, turbulence like, how is it possible for air to make a plane lurch like this?!? The man in my row opened the window shade and you know what I saw out there? Nothing. It was so thick with fog (which maybe explains the turbulence) we couldn’t see anything. Anything. And so I thought, if I can’t see anything, I’m betting the pilots can’t either. Awesome. We’re flying blind. This is not allowed when you’re driving a car, and I don’t know that it should be allowed when flying a plane… but we were fine. We landed. Imagine my nerves at this point. If you’re picturing something like a zen exercise or a perfectly balanced yoga pose, you haven’t been paying attention at all.
Then my connection was delayed. And because I had some cushion built into my schedule, this wasn’t really a problem, except… except it gave me time. And with time, I make lists. I’m a list-maker. So here I am in the airport making a list of my present Hell: husband at home with giant hand, don’t know why it’s giant, doctor (Chad, thank you for going to the doctor as soon as you could!) prescribed antibiotics, antibiotics means probably an infection, people die of infections, I’m too far away, I can’t help anyway, I hate flying, there was turbulence and I was scared, I have to get on another plane to go further away from my husband, I got up at five in the morning, I’m alone, I have to take my suitcase into the bathroom with me because I’m alone.
I text my sister for reassurance. She tells me my nephew once had a swollen foot and it went away; Chad’s hand will be fine. But what does she really know? I call my parents. I almost always choose this option because I think they have all the experience, they know the medical stuff since they’re both former EMTs, they’ve kept five children alive, they’re my parents and they’ll take care of me. But the reality of this choice is less often reassurance and more often I feel pitied. I hung up feeling like, okay, it’s quite possible there was a spider or something on the wood and it bit Chad and now he’s reacting, but that’s okay because he has strong antibiotics to fix it. But I also hung up feeling like I was a five year old who went running to her mommy for help, and that leaves me feeling a little squirmy. Even more squirmy when everything turns out to be fine anyway and so all the worry and stress was for naught.
The rest of the business trip went fine. I got a lot of great experience, met new people, spoke in front of 1,100 teenage girls and adults, and did a little sightseeing. Chad flew out later in the week so we could spend a couple days together. It was good and I’m glad I made it out there in one piece despite the struggle in transit. And luckily, there are no business trips in my immediate future. There is however a vacation to Norway in less than one week… hopefully all our body parts will remain normal size for the trip.