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Holding It All Together-When Plans Fail

By Amy McCollom
Weird is ok for me most of the time, but sometimes I really wish my life could be normal just once. This past weekend was one of those times. I just wanted everything to be normal, to go as planned.

It was our 34th wedding anniversary and John and I had planned a little weekend excursion up to Chicago to an event that I had been wanting to go to for a while now. We had our hotel booked close to the venue, and there were many places around there to enjoy some great thick Chicago style pizza. We were going up the day before in order to get a jump on the crowd at the venue the next day, and I even had a little romance planned, and perhaps some relaxing time in the hotel’s hot tub. 

The actual event that I was excited to attend was Scott Smith’s All Animal Expo, which I had been scouting out for literally years. But, it always occurred on the weekend, and my husband always worked on the weekend. I had no real way up there to go, until it just so happened on our anniversary, which John planned into his vacation days. I was really excited to finally get to go. Anyone who knows me, knows I love, love, love animals. John was happy to go too, even though he is not as in love with animals as I am, he does have a big interest in animals and enjoys learning about new animals. We love watching animal shows together and have gone through all of the series of World’s scariest or most dangerous animals in the world shows.

So, the hotel is booked, the car is gassed up, and we are getting our bags ready to load into the trunk, but something was a little off with my tummy. I kicked myself for taking my Rebylsus, a new diabetes drug I have been trying out but that has been giving me stomach upset issues, and vowed not to take another one on our trip. I wasn’t nauseated, but just felt “full” and not hungry at all. 

As the miles rolled under the wheels, I began wishing we had taken the minivan instead of John’s car, as I know the van would have ridden much smoother. It seemed like every bump and rock that we hit just made me feel a little bit worse. I figured I was getting carsick, so I took one of my heavy-duty anti-nausea pills that I take when I get migraines. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to work, as when we stopped at a Caseys, I got sick anyway. 

John asked me if I wanted to go home or go ahead, and I looked at his phone that had our route, and we were only 60 miles from the hotel. We were more than 2/3 of the way there, and I was hoping I was just carsick, so I told him, let’s forge ahead. I got a couple of plastic bags from Casey’s cashier and some packets of sugar (sugar combats nausea) from the coffee display, and off we went.

About 20 miles down the road I got sick again. I just wanted to get to the hotel to lie down. By that time I was feeling feverish, and was dizzy and dehydrated. John took care of me once we got to the hotel. Romance was out the window, but love through sickness and health showed up strong. 

He went out only to grab himself some dinner and some soda and dry cereal for me, otherwise John was my nurse, my prayer warrior, and my best friend. I didn’t need a special diamond necklace or dozens of roses for John to prove he still loves me. After 34 years of marriage, just him being by my side through that horrible night when I slept in my clothes and was burning up with fever, that was proof enough to me.

The next day I felt a little better and we were able to attend the animal expo. It didn’t quite meet up to the hype that I had imagined, but few things do. It was still a fun thing to attend. 

I conquered a fear I had of snakes while there, so that is a good thing. In fact, I found myself actually wanting to buy a snake. It was a small snake that stayed small, called a Kenyan Sand Boa. They don’t get over two feet long. They are very docile and don’t squirm a lot. And they are rather pretty. I know this doesn’t sound like me at all because I used to hate all snakes. But this one didn’t seem scary at all and was fun to hold. The one factor that caused me not to buy it was that I would have to feed it tiny mice once a week, and I don’t have the heart for that.

At the animal expo I held a tenrec, petted a hairless guinea pig, and a miniature chicken, saw an enormous albino python, a patagonian cavy, thousands of kinds of lizards and turtles and frogs, and even a pet rock (which John convinced me I didn’t need.) I loved talking to all of the different people and learning from their vast knowledge of animals. From what I heard, there is an even bigger event coming next month to Tinley Park that will feature animal breeders from around the world! I am not making plans to attend that one just yet. But…..if you don’t mind driving, I’ll bring extra dramamine.

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