How Traveling to See Billy Joel Put Me in the Hospital

When you travel a lot, you get used to running from attraction to attraction, hopping on a plane and doing it all over again.

This makes it really hard to slow down when things go wrong.  Especially when you book a trip to do a specific thing.

When Keri and I flew to Omaha, it was to get a steak.  And indeed, we feasted on steak.

So when I decided to go to New York and see Billy Joel for my birthday, I made plans out of it.  I booked a suite the night before and invited my friends over.  We were ordering Carmines as catering.  Booked one of those private karaoke rooms.  A friend was even flying in from across the country.  And then Billy Joel the next day!

Perfect plan, right?  Carmines. Suite. Karaoke. Billy Joel.

But when everything started suggesting it wouldn’t go as planned, I was insistent that it would.

This is where I totally failed.

When the plane took off, I felt sort of woozy.  It didn’t feel like blood was rushing from my head.  It more felt like blood was rushing TO my head, then up past it and into space.  A couple of times, when I turned my head, the world took a few seconds to turn with me.

So I took a nap.


My father met me at the airport and I felt pretty tired, so I took a nap while he drove me to my parents’ house.

When I got to the house, I took a few steps in.  Then I felt exhausted, so I put my head down on the table and slept.

Next thing I knew, I was being woken up by my dad because it was time to head to my suite.  I felt like I was waking up for a 5am flight.  My head was heavy and my throat really started to burn.

I looked in the mirror and my throat was covered in bumps.  My lymph nodes were totally swollen and hurt to the touch.

But I had plans!  PLANS!

So I ignored it, worrying about the friends who would be showing up to a suite with no one in there.  And the wasted catering.

I headed to the suite, set things up, then napped a little until my friends arrived.  At this point, my voice was starting to go.

We created a circle of quarantine around me and I made sure we didn’t share any food. I made myself a cocktail, took a sip, and it burned.

Okay, that’s fine.  I could just enjoy my birthday without cocktails.

I took some food and tried to swallow it.  That didn’t really work at all, so I just sipped on cranberry juice all night.

We went to the karaoke room, where I was so ready to fall asleep (but we rented a karaoke room!).  So I leaned up against the wall a couple of times and dozed off.  And then headed back to the suite.

The next morning, if I took a deep enough breath, it felt like it was getting caught in my throat.  But I was seeing Billy Joel.

So I ignored everything that was happening,  went to the concert, and then missed the entire thing when I closed my eyes for two seconds and slept through the entire thing.

Later on, the breath getting caught in my throat was more frequent and required even less breath to get stuck.  My breathing started sounding like snoring and my throat hurt so bad that I hated it when I accidentally swallowed.  I could barely stand and I was extremely shaky.

That’s when I finally went to get help.

As the doctor looked at my recessed palate, swollen glands, and closed up throat, he told me I had an especially severe case of mono and needed steroids immediately to open up my throat.  He mentioned it must have been horrible for days, then looked at me and asked, “Why didn’t you come sooner?!”

I sighed and said sheepishly, “I had plans…”


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Feel better soon. Mono can kick your butt for a while (for me 1+ month), so take it easy, and take the time to get better. PS- Popsicles are great for the sore throat.

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