Over half my life ago today, I was on vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia when I was admitted to the hospital for a burst appendix. I was traveling when it actually ruptured so I was not feeling too great by the time I made it to the hospital. (That may be a huge understatement).
I was on vacation with my family at the time, which included my parents and siblings. I was taken to the hospital very early in the morning, the day after we arrived.
Here are my tips, looking back.
1. Admit when you aren’t okay
I know this sounds obvious, but it was really difficult to admit that I really thought something was wrong. I didn’t want to interrupt anyone’s vacation, so that’s why I waited until things were really bad to go to the hospital. At that point, it was really obvious that I needed to go–whether I admitted it or not.
2. Tell the hotel what’s going on
My parents talked to the hotel that we were in about what was going on. Surprisingly, they agreed to extend our stay for free while I was in the hospital, plus a couple of extra days at the end.
I can’t guarantee that every hotel will do this, but a hotel can’t figure out how to help you out unless they know what’s wrong.
3. Don’t try to vacation too much while recovering
I kept trying to “enjoy” Williamsburg when I was out of the hospital and insisting I was okay. But going over streets of cobblestones in Colonial Williamsburg in a wheelchair with fresh surgical incisions was way too much.
4. …people will pay more attention to you in a wheelchair
After the cobblestones failed, my parents took me to Busch Gardens to enjoy all the different shows there. And oh my gosh. I was not prepared for how much attention the actors in the show would pay to me.
5. You can always go back
I didn’t get to do everything on that vacation that I wanted to do, but I’ve been back there at least four times. When I finally focused on how to get better, it took the stress out of trying to make sure I had a good vacation (and feeling guilty for ruining everyone else’s).
Also, not an official tip, but demerol can make you really paranoid. Really paranoid. And not quite with it.
I accused my mom of plotting against me when she went to the Barnes and Noble near the hospital. Sorry, mom.
I ended up being in the hospital for about two weeks more in New York (where I lived back then). But I recovered just in time to go back to school in September. Perfect timing!