By Nichole Giles
The blinking red numbers on the clock read 3:04 a.m. as I sat up quietly in the hotel bed, trying not to disturb my sleeping children. I drummed my fingers on the mattress, feeling agitated and concerned as I tried to adjust our vacation plans around what might happen in the next hour or so.
Today—well, technically yesterday since it was officially Tuesday morning rather than Monday night—had been our first day at the theme park. Being a Monday in the off season, the hordes of people who usually bombard this place were thinner than they could be, so we were able to wend our way around to all the different rides, rarely waiting in lines that were unbearably long. We stopped only to eat lunch at a café in the park, and the only shopping we did was to pick up a hat for our daughter, Brittany.
We figured we’d have plenty of time to buy souvenirs later.
But here I was, wide awake at 3:00 a.m. staring at my cell phone as it lay on my pillow, and willing it to buzz with a message that all was well and I could go back to sleep. The only thing I could think was, “What if it’s appendicitis?”
Yep. Brittany, our twelve-year old, had been complaining of abdominal pain since about an hour after lunch—right about the time when we had ridden a particularly jarring ride. The pain had persisted, getting worse and worse until sometime around 12:30 a.m. we decided she needed to see a doctor. Hey, we may be paranoid, but we’ve been through a burst appendix before with our son—it was really, really awful—and we had NO desire for a repeat performance.
So, I stayed with the rest of the kids—who were all deeply asleep—and Gary took Brittany to the emergency room. Apparently, our fears weren’t too far off the mark, because the triage nurse worried about appendicitis, too, and whisked her in with a very short wait—despite the fact that the ER was rather crowded that night. Lucky for us, no surgery was required. After several tests, and a few vital trips to the restroom, the pain lessened and the doctors (several checked her—just to be certain) determined she probably had food poisoning and that she’d be better by morning.
When I got the message that all was well, I sighed with relief and adjusted our plans for the next day to allow for Gary and Brittany to sleep in. Then, I lay back in bed, finally closing my eyes for the first time in hours.
After that, our trip went relatively smoothly. We didn’t end up changing our plans drastically, and Brittany felt great once whatever she ate worked itself out of her system. The weather was chilly and the traffic was terrible, but we discovered a grocery store near the hotel where we stocked up on granola bars and Uncrustables. (You didn’t think we were going to take a risk and eat in the park again, did you?)
We visited with some of our favorite fictional characters, rode thrill rides until our legs warbled, boogie boarded in the FREEZING surf with two separate pods of dolphins less than a hundred yards away, bought designer dolls and had our picture taken with the Terminator. The whole trip, I kept thinking, “I should write this down. I can use this somehow…” and “This could be the beginning of a beautiful story line…”
I can’t help it! I’m a writer. And as you see, I am writing it down, and I do plan to use it all, somehow.
All in all, the adventure gave our trip a little added spice and made me anxious to get back to my computer. However, in the end, my son Mckay discovered a very important bit of information that you might want to share with your kids, and anyone else who might have doubts.
The tooth fairy can find you everywhere, even when you’re on vacation!