The Appendix that ate Valentines Day

A re-print of last years Valentines Day Experience

“A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to Daytona”

or

“The Appendix That Ate Valentines Day”

It started out so simple.  A plan to go on a mini vacation and watch the Daytona 500.  Costs were low, only the price of tickets, gas and whatever we wanted to spend in souvenirs.  But in typical Baughn Family vacation style, the week we were supposed to leave did not start out well.  Dawson came home from his basketball game on Saturday complaining that he didn’t feel good.  Sunday brought the weather reports advising of a “major winter storm” approaching central Indiana.  On Monday Dawson protested that he was not well enough to go to school but his evil mother forced him to go to school anyway because he was going to miss a 1/2 day on Thursday.  This is the point where if we were in a soap box derby we would start to notice one of the back wheels had a slight vibration as we had just left the top of the hill.  After forcing the poor flu ridden child to attend school – and there by infecting multiple other children in his class room – the weather reports started pouring in.  It was supposed to start snowing at noon that day, then after noon came and went it changed to 4pm.  The six o’clock news then reported the storm system had stalled but would arrive sometime in the evening and continue well into Tuesday.  As I pulled into my driveway at 10pm the first flakes of snow started to fall – which was actually a good thing because my mom was able to drive home and wouldn’t be stuck at my house.  I’d dare to say that was the last positive point we saw that week.  Tueday morning brought about 4 inches or more of snow and by it was still snowing as I drove to work at 1pm.  By 9:30 when I left work there was easily 8 inches or more on the ground and snow plows were struggling to keep up.  But even as I left work my spirits were good, we were set to leave this winter wonderland for sunny Florida in two days.  That’s what I kept telling myself anyway since the windshield wipers in the truck decided not to work and once I had to 4 wheel my way out of a parking lot after trying to fix the windshield wipers.  Wednesday started off with a county wide snow emergency thereby closing everything.  Dawson was coughing his head off, the “flu” long gone replaced with some type of respiratory infection.  Teagan woke up with a stomach ache.  This is the point in the soap box derby where the vibration in the back wheel turned into an full blown tire coming off the rim and passing the car.  Dave was happily using his snow blower until I interrupted him to let him know both the kids were sick and the doctor’s office was closed due to the snow emergency.  Thus started the great debate, were they sick enough to go to the ER or could they survive on some over the counter cough medicine and Tylenol?  We decided on the trip to Wal-Mart for the OTC drugs.  Dave 4 wheeled the albino rhino to pick up his mom and she watched the children while we braved the snow emergency and went to Wal-Mart.  At Wal-Mart we realized it was Valentines Day so we got some candy for the kids and the all important Valentine Pupcakes.

As we were coming home it appeared that the Immediate Care Center had opened despite the snow.  Dave took his mom home, with the snow blower in tow so he could clear his parents driveway.  Teagan started crying because her tummy hurt so bad and I became more concerned because she would not let me touch her stomach without wincing in pain.  I called Dave’s cell phone, which rang in our kitchen, to tell him to hurry home.  So I started getting each kid dressed, Teagan crying the entire time that she didn’t want to go to the doctor.  We would find out later why she didn’t want to see a doctor.  Dave returned home and was also concerned about Teagan’s stomach pain and we headed to the immediate care.   This is the point in the soap box derby when the one good wheel in the back started to come loose.  Nothing screamed “you might be a redneck if” than us walking in to immediate care Dave still in his carharts and boots and the snow blower still piled in the truck bed in the parking lot.  The immediate care was maxed out – obviously our doctor wasn’t the only one who closed due to the snow emergency even though there was a flu epidemic (quite possibly started by an irresponsible parent forcing their flu ridden child to go to school).  The ER became our new destination.

The ER was busy too, but due to Teagan’s high blood pressure, fever and stomach pain we were awarded a room right away.  The first nurse we had apparently must not have liked my attitude because it was the only time we saw her.  As we were putting the kids into hospital gowns she started asking some initial questions which resulted in her asking the ultimate stupid question, “Did you call your doctor’s office first before coming to the ER for this?”  Her implication that our children’s illnesses didn’t warrant a trip to the ER and we were wasting her all important emergency life saving skills on a “routine” illness.   She got “the look.”  The look that everyone says I give people when they have said something stupid.  She deserved “the look” and snappy response that in case she hadn’t noticed all the doctors offices were closed due to the snow.  It worked out well because we got a much nicer nurse in return.  The ER doctor guessed that Dawson had bronchitis but wasn’t sure about Teagan.  They started blood tests, urine tests and and IV on her…..the whole time she was crying she wanted to go home and eat her Valentine “pupcakes.”

Dawson had bronchitis and was out the door with some prescription cough medicine.  Teagan’s prognosis wasn’t as good.  She had to drink a “berry” shake also known as Barium for her CT scan.  She thew about 1/2 of it up on me and the nurse.  Durin the CT scan they located a nickle in her belly – the obvious reason she didn’t want to go to the doctor.  She thought the nickle was causing all her problems.  They almost stopped the CT scan after finding the nickle but went ahead and continued.  I vaguely remember while waiting for the CT results having the conversation about whether or not we should attempt the trip and would Dawson be well enough to leave in the morning.  I guess we were silly enough to believe the nickle was the cause of Teagan’s stomache ache also.  At that point the ER doctor came in and informed us that she had appendicitis and would be having surgery later that night.  The soap box derby car had now officially lost all wheels and was careening out of control down the hill.

So there we sat, in the surgery waiting area at 9:30pm nibbling on McDonalds as our 4 year old had her appendix removed.  Definately our most memorable Valentines Day to date.  The first thing she asked for after surgery was her Valentine “pupcakes.”  So the 2007 Daytona 50o came and went without the Baughns and Teagan now has a 1 inch scar to remember Valentine’s Day with…..(and it’s not even heart shaped). 

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The Charlie Brown-iest 40th Birthday

This is my life……..

Yet another episode of what it’s like to have absolutely NO GOOD LUCK what so ever.  I had such great plans to surprise Dave for his 40th birthday.  What I truly wanted was for him to find 40 pink lawn flamingos placed in our landscaping with birthday party hats when he came home early from the fire station on January 30th.  I have discovered however that pink flamingo’s are a bit more expensive than I thought.  They cost about $8.95 a pair. (Note that pink flamingos must be purchased in pairs) And they offer price breaks but to by 40 they would still be $7.00 a pair.  Now there are smaller ones (only 1 ft tall) that are $4.95 a pair but again, no price breaks until you buy 50.  So I had a hard time justifying to myself spending $100-$140 on pink flamingos and also trying to figure out afterwards them what i’m going to do with 40 pink lawn flamingos.  Something tells me the neighbors would be less than appreciative of us decorating our entire fenceline with pink flamingos.  Maybe I should have considered setting up a pink lawn flamingo rescue program over the internet and people could have adopted them.  (Note to self: research pink flamingo rescue program as a way to make money)

So with the pink flamingo idea a bust, I went to the party store in search of something that would draw attention to Dave turning 40.  So I found a large mylar banner that said “Happy 40th Birthday!!”, two lawn signs that were personalized to say “LOOK Dave is 40!” and some faux yellow crime scene tape that said “CAUTION 40 year old.”  So using the children as a distraction I took the crime scene tape to the fire station and gave it to the firefighters to decorate the “Fire SUV” (aka “Ha-hoe”).  Dave was suspicious, but the kids were good and didn’t spill the beans.  So I thought I was doing good – I had part one of the plan complete.

Now as weather in Indiana goes, it’s fairly unpredictable.  And I had heard that there were to be some thunderstorms and maybe some snow, but I was undaunted in my attempt to decorate the landscaping.  I decided I should do it while the weather was still good, do that I wasn’t attempting to tack signs to frozen landscape timbers at 6 am.  After all, how bad could thunderstorms in January be?  I had just finished tacking up the large mylar banner and pounding the steaks into the ground for the signs and was in the process of hanging from the front door a sparkly “40” chain when it happened.  It was the tornado siren.  “Odd,” I thought, “it’s not 11am on Friday, and it’s January there can’t be severe weather.”  So then I did something that I always tell people not to do, I called someone in public safety and asked what was going on.  All I had to do was switch the TV off of Nick and every news station was doing their typical you-need-to-get-to-safety-now broadcast with three different weathermen analyzing the radar.  Yes there was indeed a thunderstrom, capable of producing a tornado bearing down on Plainfield.  So I shuffled the kids and 2 reluctant dogs down to the basement (one kid in complete freak out mode) where we waited out the storm.

After the storm I found that the signs had survived!  At least partially.  The banner was hanging on by a thread.  But I couldn’t get to the banner because our front yard is basically mud since the lanscaping isn’t quite finished yet.  So I waited patiently for the snow/freezing rain combo and dropping temperature that the weathermen had promised us so that I wouldn’t sink and be stuck knee deep in our front yard.  And surprisingly, the snow and freezing rain came.  So while in my polka dot pink pajamas I put on my clunky brown snow boots, Dave’s “Brokeback Mountain” sherpa-fleece lined denim coat and a bright blue Colts stocking cap and headed outside.  I was quite a site.  By the time the mud had frozen enough for me not to sink, the mylar banner had blown away.  But I was happy because the signs were still standing tall.  Just as I had that thought, a huge gust of wind blew and one of the signs snapped.  So I braved the wind, made it to the landscaping without sinking and plucked out the broken sign.  It could be fixed.  Just needed a little duct tape.  So I trudged back to the garage and in the process of fixing the sign I noticed it had a pre cut hole and on the back there was a sticker pointing to the hole with a “tip.”  “Attach mylar balloons here for a more festive look.”  I laughed out loud, had I attached mylar balloons to the sign they and the sign would be Boston by now.  Well after repairing my sign, I trudged back out into the 12 degree weather to attempt to pitch my sign in the frozen landscape and as I made it out there I realized that the remaining sign had blown away.

I gave up.  I took the remaining sign in.  The sparkly “40” on the door had survived.  Poor Dave…….. he returned home to one measly sparkly “40” on the door.  And he was suprised but not good suprised, bad suprised. He expected something equivilant to the pink flamingo display after finding his “Fire SUV” covered in crime scene tape.  It was like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of 40th Birthday displays.  He forgave me after he found out that the banners and signs were now somewhere in Speedway. 

This is one of those things that could only happen to me.