Friday, May 23, 2014

A Colorado Trip Sandwich

Not too many things trump a good road trip. 

Except maybe the destination in and of itself. 

And maybe a disastrous experience or two {hint: foreshadowing}. 

But with the right partner(s) along for the ride, road trips are quite possibly one of my most favorite life experiences. Even the long ones. And we've definitely had our fair share of road trips with all of our cross-country moves. I just love the quality time with the hubby, snack stops, mindless magazines, perfectly-selected road trip tunes, cheesy gas station memorabilia, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, digging into a really great book or two, and snuggling in a layer of blankets because Gabe likes the air conditioning on full blast. 

However. Thanks to a certain special toddler, road trips look a bit different these days. Tacking on a few extra hours to the original allotted time, planning and preparing for meltdowns/snack attacks/potty breaks, stopping a lot, and figuring out how to deal with a little who refuses to sleep in the car. 

Flat out refuses. 

We took our first long road trip with Lyla a few weeks ago to Buena Vista, Colorado. And by long, I mean l-o-n-g. Without a toddler, we're talking a a solid 10 hour drive. So at least a good 12 hours. And let me repeat, we have a toddler who does not sleep in the car. Even though we woke her up at 4 a.m. the day we left and arrived around 6:30 p.m. (or 7:30 our time). Still no sleeping. 

But she did surprisingly well. Aside from a couple of mini tantrums and a two hour I'm-so-tired-I-might-die cry fest, she did really well. Luckily, the hysterical meltdown occurred at the very end of the drive, both there and back. I must say, timing was impeccable. Thank goodness mama packed a huge bag of goodies with games! and books! and snacks! and toys! and bubble wrap! We only had to bust out the iPad for about an hour. But when we did, it was a lifesaver. 

And although some thought we were crazy for driving such a long way for only two and a half very short days, it was totally worth it. One of the most breath-taking and relaxing trips we've taken in a long time. 

Our balcony view. For real. 

But let's just talk about how the trip began. 

As mentioned before, we left at 4 a.m. Gassed up. And hopped on the highway, praying our toddler (who had a lingering ear infection) would go back to sleep for a few hours. And being nearly 15 weeks pregnant, I still wasn't feeling great. Lots of nausea. But this particular morning, I was feeling sicker than normal. And about 10 minutes into our twelve hour road trip, I begged Gabe to pull over. He just looked at me and said, You mean, like right this second? I'm pretty sure I simply nodded and then screamed, Yes! 

I had about .001 seconds to spare before my door was open and I was puking on the side of the highway. In the dark. With headlights whizzing by. A whole body-convulsing-and-heaving, exorcism kind of puke. When finished, I simply looked up at Gabe with vomit dripping from my mouth and nose and said, Well I guess that's one way to start a 12 hour road trip.  

Luckily {and unluckily}, I really don't ever vomit. Like ever. It's actually sort of a blessing and a curse. Because I always feel so much better after I do. But when I do, I tend to do it so violently that I burst all kinds of blood vessels. And on our super-special road trip, I burst dozens of tiny little vessels on my neck, around my eyes, and in my eyeballs. So gross. 

It's actually quite funny. After the highway "incident", I no longer had any more morning sickness again. At all. I must have expelled it all via broken blood vessels and side-of-the-highway vomiting. 

That was all the action I could take in one day. So we spent the rest of the day driving. And stopping. And driving. 

But we chose one quite amazing spot to stretch our legs: Garden of the Gods. 

Once we finally reached our destination, we were starving and quite tired. So we did some eating and we did some sleeping. But then we woke up refreshed and ready to take on the Colorado air and sunshine. 

Um. Why do we live in Kansas again?

And I fell head-over-heels with this father-daughter duo. I mean, seriously. They were the best of buds all weekend. I don't think I've ever seen Gabe so happy - he finally has someone who appreciates adventure and exploration. {Someone besides Samson}. 

Ah. The chipmunks. These little guys were the absolute CUTEST. I, of course, was too scared to feed them. But not my little adventure duo. Even Lyla, who is terrified of sprinklers and bubbles, stuck her hand right out to feed these little creatures. {100% totally and completely her father's daughter}. 

In fact, here, you will witness her laughing and loving all the attention these little critters gave her. You'll also notice the finger. This was just seconds before the cute little jerk bit her. Hard. 

Apparently, that wasn't enough action for the adventure duo...

So, the night before our last night there, I noticed some little red bumps on Ly's chest and arms. They didn't really seem to be bothering her, which was odd because they looked so ITCHY. I truly thought they were mosquito or flea bites. Of course I went crazy cleaning and laundering our entire room and Lyla's pack and play, hoping that she wouldn't get more bites in the middle of the night. 

Well. We woke up to Lyla crying the next morning. I didn't think much of it. I grabbed her, scooped her into bed with us, and rubbed her back while Gabe got a few more minutes of shut-eye. The sun slowly began to rise and started peeking into our bedroom. And that's when I noticed Lyla's eyes looked funny. I immediately turned on the lights, pulled Ly's jammies off, took a minute to take in what I was seeing, and held back the feeling of desperately needing to scream. The "bug bites" had spread all over Lyla's entire body in a 3-D, welt-ish, painful-looking way. But the most shocking part was her little slivers for eyes. 

All I could think was, We are a good hour from any kind of civilization, and it's a Saturday at 6 am. I called our friend's dad who's a doctor and he advised us to get her to the nearest hospital as she was having an allergic reaction. I racked my brain trying to think what we'd done differently the day prior  and came up with absolutely nothing. All I could think of was the antibiotic she'd been taking for her ear infection, but she was on her seventh day of it! Didn't matter. 

We went and woke our friends up, whose cabin we were staying in, and they graciously drove with us  30 minutes down the mountain, and another 30 minutes into town. Long-story-short, Ly was indeed having a pretty severe allergic reaction to Augmentin, which is a form of Penicillin. *Her dad is also allergic to the P. 

After a good dose of steroids, the swelling went down within the hour, and we had a pretty happy toddler. The hardest part was giving her the darn steroids for 5 days. The doctor warned us how disgusting and brutal the steroids were. Lyla could smell them from a mile away, no matter what kind of treat we hid them in. 

Although it was absolutely terrifying being in an unknown *middle-of-nowhere* mountain town while your child is having an allergic reaction, all turned out great. And we simply have a new note in Lyla's medical chart. 

And one more hospital visit down. 

Our long-anticipated Colorado trip had a rough start and an even rougher ending. But sandwiched in between was the most-wonderful first little road trip.

Just a few hours after the almighty steroids. 

Something tells me that my adventure duo will be planning many more trips to Colorado in the future, allergic reactions be darned. 


Leigh said...

Oh my goodness, you had quite the eventful road trip! Hope L is feeling better now. And you have such a cute family :)

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

Now that's a road trip! Wow. I'm so sorry that both of you had some bad health experiences while on the trip but the pictures of the mountains look like it made up for it.