Going Pains

I could feel it coming for weeks before it finally happened.

It started with a late-night Google search: “places to travel with good medical care”. We’re not going to plan a vacation NOW but, I reasoned, there would be no harm in doing some research.

The Google searches quickly multiplied: “best hospitals in Central America”, “flying with children”, “lightweight car seats”, “sunscreen for kids”.

Soon, I was studying train timetables, flight times, and car rental reviews.  I read about Panama’s new subway system (the first in Central America!), rustic cabins in Wyoming, and a summary of nearly every neighborhood in San Diego.

I’m rarely thorough with anything, but travel research?  I’m nauseatingly comprehensive.

Close-to-home adventure

Close-to-home adventure

Despite the confines of full-time jobs, Mike and I actually managed quite a bit of traveling before Luella.  My favorite destinations were the ones that made my mom squirm (“I’ll be fine, I’ll just take tranquilizers the entire time you’re gone,” she told me before we left for a trip to Uganda), where there was a practical guarantee of traveler’s diarrhea, a challenging language barrier, or at the very least, a brutal red-eye flight.

Riding on the back of a motor bike taxi in Uganda

Riding on the back of a motor bike taxi in Uganda traffic (sorry, Mommy)

Yes, we’ve also done more comfortable vacations, but I’m a travel masochist at heart.

I’ve joked that Luella has the same wild travel bug; after all, she flew in a helicopter to Seattle four hours after she was born.  But the truth is, I’m a lot less brave than I used to be.  The cocky traveler in me is gone and now included in my Google search is “how safe are taxis in Costa Rica” and “closest hospital to Winthrop”.


I thought I’d need a little more time to emotionally prepare to take her on a plane, far away from the medical care we know.  But the Googling spun out of control and I felt the familiar, relentless urge to buy plane tickets and flee town.

And so I am.

This June, Luella and I will meet Mike in Chicago after his work conference there ends.

We won’t be riding on the backs of motorcycles or frantically flipping through a Spanish-English dictionary to find a translation of “my husband won’t be joining me for breakfast, he’s still vomiting profusely”, but it’s the exact level of adventure we can manage at the moment.

Lying in bed

My initial reaction to realizing I’d be taking Luella on her first flight by myself was “What a fantastically terrible idea!”, quickly followed by “BRING IT ON, SUCKERS”, so beyond the trip itself, I’m also pleased to see that Adventure Jenn is still waiting in the wings (albeit in a slightly tamed-down model).

Besides, I’m convinced that Luella will be pleased to spend the 4.5-hour plane ride happily looking at books and snuggling in my lap.

And if she isn’t, I’m well-prepared to take my travel with a dose of pain.


Health Update: Luella is more engaged and animated than ever!  Lots of smiling, cooing, and honk-laughing.  Although she still can’t quite sit on her own, her head and trunk control are improving.

We recently received a special chair for Luella to sit in at the dinner table and in shopping carts which has been important (at least symbolically) for her independence.  These types of things are ridiculously expensive and we’re grateful to Sisu Children’s Fund for buying Luella’s chair for her.  We’re also trying to get a pediatric stander that will help her learn to put weight on her feet, but we’re dealing with Group Health’s nine circles of hell (currently in the appeals process realm), so it might be another few months.

Luella's new shopping cart/dining chair

Luella’s new shopping cart/dining chair