Spring Break from Hell!
So I'm back in my office, several days earlier than expected after what I can only describe as the Spring Break from Hell.
The original plan had been to spend spring break with some dear friends in Charlotte, North Carolina. Unfortunately, we learned that their kids weren't on break the same time our kids were, so we had to figure out what to do while their kids went back to school. We hit upon the idea of staying with them for a long weekend (and they would take their kids out of school for a day) and then our family would drive up to Washington D.C. to play tourists for a few days. A lot of driving, but the plan sounded pretty good...
All of the guidebooks to D.C. advise contacting your Congressman or Senator in advance to try to secure tickets for certain tours. We did so and ... nothing. Even though it was still several weeks in advance, we were told that our Congressman's office could not get us tickets, even for the tour of Capitol Hill. We understood that White House tickets were tough to come by (and I elicited a hearty chuckle from the Congressional staffer when I told him my kids wanted a play date with the Obama girls), but were surprised that we couldn't get a Capitol Hill tour. So we tried our Senator. And got no response. (Actually, that's not entirely true. When I walked into the office today, there was an envelope from our Senator with a tour book to Washington.) Thus, we should have known that this vacation was not going to be all that we'd hoped for.
So, on Thursday afternoon, we started our drive to North Carolina. We'd planned to drive as far as Knoxville, Tennessee, before stopping for the night. We didn't want to drive through the "mountains" (sorry, I go to Colorado and Wyoming; the Great Smokies are really big hills...) at night and figured that we'd only have a few hours of driving on Friday so that we'd have most of the day to spend with our friends. Alas, as we left Indianapolis, we kept hearing weather reports of extremely severe storms that were going to be racing across our intended route (hail, tornadoes, the works). So, we decided to spend the night in Lexington, Kentucky, thereby nearly doubling the time that we'd spend in the car on Friday. Oh, well.
Thankfully, Friday morning dawned sunny and with only moderate winds, so we set off. The drive was just fine and we made good time to Charlotte. We arrived just as our friends' kids were getting home from school and we all had a lovely afternoon just relaxing around the house. Everything was going very nicely. That is until...the door.
Later that evening, the women went out to rent some movies, the girls (our 9-year-old and their 11-year-old) were playing in one room, and all us boys were playing video games across the hall in another room. At about 8:00, the 11-year-old walked into the game room to tell us that there was an emergency and that my daughter needed to go to the hospital. She delivered this information in such a casual, calm manner, that we thought she was joking. She reiterated her point and finished by saying that my daughter had sliced her finger off. That got my attention and we raced downstairs to find my wife (who had just returned from the store) holding my daughter's bleeding hand over the sink. Long story short, my daughter's middle finger was accidentally slammed in the hinge of a door, nearly severing the tip of her finger.
After a trip to the ER and several stitches (my daughter was very brave and never cried about her injury; she was just very, very anxious about stitches and shots and she had over a hour to sit and bleed and worry while we waited to see the doctor) we started trying to figure out what to do. We were told that she needed to see a hand surgeon on Monday. We talked to several doctors about the issues and risks before deciding to return home so that she could be seen by a hand surgeon here in Indianapolis (home to a renowned hand center and hand surgeons, one of whom just happens to be a good friend of my father). We enjoyed a nice Saturday afternoon with our friends (a drive through petting zoo, if you can believe it) before jumping back into the car early Sunday morning for the drive back to Indy. While there weren't many tears about the injury itself, there were lots and lots of tears about leaving their friends a few days early and being forced to cancel the planned outing to D.C. Oh, and just in case all of that wasn't quite enough, I woke up on Sunday morning with a bad cold and cough that was enough to rattle my brain inside my skull; nothing like coughing so hard you have to throw up...
20 hours of driving in 4 days. Wow, how much fun is that?
Thus, bright and early on Monday (the first "real" day of spring break) we found ourselves in the office of the hand surgeon. All of Monday afternoon was spent trying to calm my daughter down that Tuesday's surgery wouldn't be so bad, all of Tuesday afternoon was spent in a surgery waiting room, and Wednesday was spent trying to cater to the needs of a mostly good-natured little patient and her somewhat cranky twin brother (given all the attention being paid to his sister and the fact that it was his best friend that we were visiting, he's been pretty good about all this).
It turns out that her finger should be fine. The doctor said that she did a good job trying to amputate the tip, but that there is a good chance that it will heal fine now. As the doctor put it, the finger has a good chance know; without surgery, it would have had zero chance.
And here I am, with what should be a few more days of spring break to look forward to, back in my office. We've told the kids that we'll put together another trip to D.C., but of course the when and how are complete unknowns.
And after all the driving, the stress and worry, the coughing, and everything else, I'm completely exhausted and in desperate need of a vacation.