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  • Writer's pictureSati Rampersad

Worrier or Warrior?

Decisions, Decisions….

Have you ever made a decision, or been in the process of making one, and know in your gut that it was probably a bad idea but went ahead and did it anyway? No?...don’t lie, everyone has. I didn’t decide you really, really should have that second slice of cake or bowl of ice cream after a side-splitting meal? Or those awesome wireless headphones or jeans or whatever because they were on sale for a good price? Let’s be honest here, these types of decisions are usually based on emotions not necessity, and for the most part aren’t life endangering...well unless of course it’s skydiving or swimming with the sharks, in which case you deserve what you get! Just kidding (kinda)! Anyway, my point is we make impulsive decisions and try to justify them away. Well my philosophy (at the time) of “go big or go home” played into one such decision a couple of months after my discharge from my latest hospital stint due to a flareup of my Crohn’s. Fortunately, the treatment worked this time; how long it would last was anyone’s guess.

With the guilt still riddling my very soul, and although I was feeling good (physically) at that moment, mentally?...I was just fed up with the state of my health/life as a whole, and the effect it obviously had on the lives of everyone in my family. So I decided I needed to do something ...ANYTHING! See where I’m going with this? Emotional, impulsive ideas were just circling my brain like a hula hoop! The fact that my older son had just turned six, and this poor kid’s short life so far had been consumed by sickness, pain, suffering, and unintentional maternal neglect (at least in my mind), was weighing especially heavily on me. So yes, I made one of THOSE decisions and it was a doozy that rendered my usually take-things-as-they-come family speechless! ROADTRIP!! To where you might ask?...DISNEYLAND!! And yes the one in Florida, USA that’s 2,087 kilometers, or for you non-Canadians, 1,297 miles, and an almost 20 hour non-stop drive away! Like I said “go big or go home”!

Have I Lost My Mind

My mom and husband understandably thought I was having a mental "episode" when I suggested this idea, and I don’t think I need to explain why. (If you read my previous posts you'd know why). But I’d already weighed the pros and cons, and had made up my mind this was what I wanted us to do, and why. The reasons made perfect sense to me anyway, and back then I could convince my husband to do pretty much anything because who wants to argue with a sick person 😉, but that aside, I like to think I made good decisions...usually. This time???

Anyway to answer some of the why questions, here goes….Why now? - I was feeling good at that moment in time, and sure I knew that could change with the speed of light, but I was willing to take that chance. So sue me. I decided I just needed to don my mental armour and be a Warrior not a Worrier. Next...Why there? - I wanted to take my son to someplace wonderful where he could hopefully replace some of the bad memories with some great ones, ones with me actually in them.You see, I’d come to learn that under his quiet, calm, sweet exterior, hid a very fearful little boy who was profoundly affected by my illness, the pain and suffering, the frequent hospitalizations and absences, and the possibility that one day I might not come back home. This shocking awareness came via his teachers who shared with me his meticulously kept daily school journal, complete with illustrations of me hooked up to IV poles and tubes in hospital beds and wheelchairs etc. I’ll talk more about this and the emotional impact this disease has had on my family, and families of other Crohn's sufferers in a future post.

And finally...Why Roadtrip? - I’m sure to most of your “normal” minds, you’d be thinking that flying would be so much faster and easier. Faster? You’d be right about that. Easier? You’d be dead wrong.The thought of flying at that point in time instilled a paralyzing fear in me. You see, the things that most people take for granted when flying (and in many routine activities) are very big deals for me, and people like me. All the "what ifs'' bombard your brain until you're so stressed out, your worst case scenarios actually manifest themselves physically. It's like if you're heading into a job interview and you start panicking "what if I feel the need to pee in the middle of the interview?" Then you actually do feel the need! Kind of like that, but on steroids! What if there's a delay? What if they confiscate your meds?...some of which are narcotics (it's been known to happen despite proper paperwork)! Also, you'll be thousands of miles in the air with hundreds of people, having to share four or less coffin-sized bathrooms that you can only use when the pilots say so plus you have people lined up waiting on you! With this disease, these are major concerns. And with an infant! Hard pass...So roadtrip it is! See? I thought it through!😉 Not that road trips are without challenges, aside from the time factor. Travelling with a seven month old isn't particularly easy with any mode of transport but at least you're more in control, with your feet or rather wheels, firmly planted on the ground, and you can stop whenever and wherever you feel so inclined. Plus, there is the added bonus of seeing new places, interesting things, and chatting along the way. I could go on but I won't; suffice it to say this was so happening!

Lifetime Memories

Two months later, as soon as school closed for the summer, I was still in good health and praying it stayed that way. With my doctors numbers on speed dial, we set off to hopefully make some well deserved, long overdue treasured memories that we could all carry with us into the future come what may. Well, except for the baby who would obviously have no memory of this trip other than what he'd later see in photos.(Not to worry, we did go back when he was older). I was especially happy also that my mom could have some quality downtime and a well deserved fun vacation.

The trip, whether it was from pure luck, positivity and determination, or divine intervention, went off without a hitch. Everyone returned intact, tired but in excellent spirits, and extremely grateful to have had this little dreamlike interlude in what had been a fairly chaotic life this far. The way I was feeling at that time, I could never have envisioned that a mere four months later, I'd be right back where I was immediately prior to my hospital visit, only worse...much, much worse. At borrow from Casablanca…We'll always have Disneyland.

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