async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Going To Florida Was a Bad Idea

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Going To Florida Was a Bad Idea

Alternative titles: 
-I Fought The Universe and The Universe Won
-Full Moon Fever
-Friday the 13th 
-Should I Stay or Should I Go

I almost always listen to my gut and it never lies. 

This week, amidst all the news surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, I was preparing for my trip to Florida to spend the week with my parents and run that 25k trail race in the Everglades. I visit my parents in Florida every year and I was looking forward to seeing them, to the warmth, and the beach.

Going to the beach is never a bad idea, right?

But as the date approached, my old nemesis, anxiety made an appearance. I was having heart palpitations. My stomach was a mess and I started to consider if maybe this trip wasn’t the best idea. It was so odd. It was as if my body was telling me something. 


I chalked up my nerves to that trail race. I’d never done anything like that before. While I had been training on trails close to home and I put in the miles I needed to run the distance, I couldn’t mimic the weather conditions. With a prediction of 90 degrees for race day, I was concerned. 

There might be snakes, too.

Of course, all the fallout surrounding the coronavirus wasn’t helping. The relentless news coverage, the stock market crashing, and people hoarding toilet paper- it was a lot to take in. When my son’s spring break rugby tournament was canceled, I bought him a plane ticket to join me. The race would be a DNS. 

We would go kayaking, beachcombing, and sampling beer at local taprooms. It was a gift, to be able to spend time with my boy. A fair consolation prize for skipping the race, I thought, although the guilt was still there. I'm not a quitter.

In Florida, you’d never know there was a pandemic. It was really crowded on my little island. Throngs of people lined the beach at sunset. Early the next morning, I went shelling. The beach walkers were out in full force. Some were talking on their phones and I marveled at that. Who does that? 

Still, it was a beautiful morning on the beach. The sea air was like a balm for my nerves.

You can’t worry and look for shells at the same time. It requires a presence of mind and concentration as you search the sandy floor for those treasures. I’m picky. If I go home with just one perfect shell, I’m happy. 

That Florida conch was my prize for the day.
The olives and the snails made me happy.
While I was beginning to feel more calm, I still couldn’t shake my anxiety completely. A night out with my parents' neighbors brought lots of laughs. I felt more relaxed than I had since I arrived, but as I was getting ready for bed, my phone rang. My Badger calling me to tell me he had a concussion from a snowboard accident and was on the way to the university hospital. He didn't sound right. He couldn't remember what happened. 

Do you believe in intutition? I've written before about trusting my gut. All week, it was sending me signals, like a warning sign, but I'll spare you the details. Obviously, I couldn't have predicted or prevented this. But oh how I wish I'd listened to my intuition. If only I was back home. A 2 hour drive and I would have been there.

I laid awake all night, keeping myself calm. I looked for flights to return home. I made several phone calls to my son, whose responses to me improved as the night went on and to the wonderful nurses who kept me up to date. Feeling good about the care he was receiving, I told my husband to wait until the morning to drive up to Madison.

Ah, the blessing and the curse of being a medical provider and former ER nurse. Being told that my son was in the trauma bay in the ER was worrisome, but I was so glad he was at the UW hospital, which is a level one trauma center. Lots of CT scans, xrays, and consultations with trauma surgeons and orthopedic surgeons. The end result: lacerations, abrasions, scapular fracture, but no internal injuries. His helmet cracked, but his skull in one piece. It could always be much worse. 

As it turns out, I wouldn't have been able to run that race anyway.

I flew home the next day. Grateful for the kindness of the customer service rep at American Airlines who helped me change my flight and waived the change fee. My husband picked me up at the airport. It was starting to snow. My boy, asleep in his room. And of course, Cocoa, who always greets me like I've been gone for a month, even if it's just a trip out to the mailbox.


It was all good. I slept better than I have in a week.

My gut thanked me. No more heart palpitations. Anxiety? What's that? 

I woke up to snow and clouds. My trail shoes were by the door, waiting for me. I laced up and headed to the forest preserve. The trail was muddy in parts. I took a detour off onto a single track path which took me along a meandering creek. I happily got lost and ended up running 7-ish miles before I got back to my car. I am happy to be home. 


Do you listen to your gut? Is the coronavirus outbreak making you change plans? Are you hoarding anything? What's making you happy in these very uncertain times?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Wrap.






54 comments :

  1. Again, I'm so sorry about your son & the aborted trip. But glad it wasn't any worse than it was.

    I do think between meditation & Yoga, I'm fairly in touch with my intuition. I had told my brother in Feb 2019 that I didn't think my Dad had a lot longer. The only thing I had to base it on was intuition. Of course he lasted almost a year, as it turns out, but in the end, yeah, I saw it coming (unfortunately -- or maybe fortunately -- not the way it actually happened).

    Not hoarding anything. Not super worried or freaked out, just concerned about the vulnerable, the healthcare workers, the small businesses. Worried that I could make someone sick, even though for the most part I have stayed home -- although in hindsight, I shouldn't have gone to the expo last weekend. But how could I have known? Glad that I am able to stay home, as so many can't or it's a financial burden.

    This will pass, we'll come through the other side, and life will become normal again. I don't think we'll have to see a new normal, either.

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    1. I am a little worried about those 2 plane trips so close together. Hoping my immune system, finely honed as a nurse, will hold up to the coronavirus. Scary times.

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  2. Oh Wendy, what a scare! I'm glad your son is OK and that you at least got a little time on the beach. What's making me happy now is the little stuff, time at home with my family, sunrise running, and extra dog walks.

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    1. I am enjoying the family time! With my youngest home recovering, my oldest son came out and we just played Monopoly. It's been a very long time since that has happened.

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  3. You know I has some of those same feelings this week. I kind of thought it was a bad idea to go to Vegas w the kids. Pretty much knew my hubs event would be cancelled. It was as soon as I got there. Oh well. At least we are together and had a few days of fun before heading back to our new reality. So happy to read that your son is going to be ok. What a scary thing! Hugs to you all

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    1. It's been a tough week all around. I am so happy that my son is ok too. Life is so precious!

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  4. I'm so sorry again about your son and hope for a quick recovery. Lots of love to your family.

    I have got stocked up with my medications for 4 and 6 months the day before they started clamping down on regular appointments (which is fine and I understand). I have got a bit of oat milk stashed away as people have run through the UHT and are now going for the alternative milks and I need my oat milk for my cholesterol control! We are replacing stuff slightly before we need to but I always have 2 or so weeks' stuff in anyway.

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    1. I've been fighting with the mail order pharmacy all week. My insurance changed to a new vendor and the people who work there aren't too swift. Hoping my medication comes!

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  5. Glad your son is OK. Anxiety is hard to manage. Sometimes it's your gut, sometimes it's your nerves. My April has been turned upside down, but we'll figure it out.

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    1. I'm feeling so much better just being home with my family. It's what I needed right now. My poor parents, tho!

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    2. I'm thinking Florida is safer right now. Easier to social distance and yet be outside. My mom & Bob are down there too and I'm more relieved than I would be if they were home where there are more cases.

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    3. I had the same thoughts about social distancing--at least while I was outside. But it's so crowded down where I was.

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  6. Oh wow. Those calls in the night are the worst. What a horrible scare! I'm so relieved to hear he'll be ok. I haven't hoarded anything. Life in general right now is a total sh!tshow.

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    1. Between both boys, I've had my share of night calls and they never are easy. I'm just glad he's ok and I was able to get home. Glad I have running to keep me sane.

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  7. What a scare! I'm so glad your son is okay. How stressful on top of all the other stresses going on!

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    1. If nothing else, it kept coronavirus off my mind! Funny how your priorities change, isn't it?

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  8. Well, I’m so glad he’s going to be OK and you made it back without too much trouble. I try to listen to my gut, but sometimes it’s hard to convince my brain to let go of control. ;-)

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  9. Whenever I have a gut feeling about something I think about a quote I read from Oprah once - "Doubt usually means don't". I can't say I fully believe that's true but it makes me really question what I'm doing. I'm so glad your son is ok. Sheesh...scapular fracture. Thank goodness he had a helmet on. I'm always surprised at how many people don't wear one.

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    1. It took a lot of convincing to get him to wear one, but with the crack in the helmet, he knows now that the helmet saved his life. I'm going to bring it to work and show it to my patients who refuse to wear a helmet for any sport. I'm so grateful he's ok.

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  10. I have always believed our gut instinct is spot-on, though it doesn't always tell us what we want to hear. Glad your saga has a (mostly) happy ending, though it's probably far from over. This week took a toll on all of us...

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    1. It's been tough and I pray that my air travel doesn't make me sick.

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  11. What a week! So happy your son is on the mend.
    The Coronavirus is definitely disrupting everyone's plans...I am trying to get my parents home to Switzerland earlier, before the virus explodes here in South Africa. They're in better medical care in Switzerland than in South Africa.
    Thank you for going to work despite the virus! It must be hard right now.

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    1. I'm still technically on vacation--I was supposed to still be in Florida. I'm nervous to return to work. Things are changing by the minute, or so it seems.

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  12. I'm so sorry this happened but I am glad he is doing ok and you made it home relatively quickly! I've been very anxious this week too. I was supposed to fly to Texas to see my sister last Wednesday but we cancelled a couple weeks go because of the virus. I was really glad I made that choice (because flying with a toddler who puts everything in his mouth would have really made me crazy!)

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    1. I'm feeling a little worried about flying twice in 3 days. I did everything I was supposed to but time will tell...

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  13. So sorry this happened but glad you were able to get home quickly. I was super anxious about going to Texas a week ago, so was super happy to get back home. Now I'm just trying to figure out how to get the stapes out of my kid's head on Friday without entering a medical facility...

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    1. It's a really easy procedure and if you get a staple remover, I can talk you through it...we could do a virtual visit. PM me if you need my help.

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  14. Oh my gosh! I am so glad he is going to be ok. You must have been so worried.
    I probably would have went too. You know I never think the beach is a bad idea either.
    I've had some crazy anxiety this week too. This is all a bit much to take in!!!

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    1. I'm much better now that I'm home but I'm still a little more on edge than usual. Scary times.

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  15. I had to look up scapular fracture....WOW, seeing that the scapular is a very sturdy bone and it takes a high impact to fracture it is quite concerning. You are right that things could have been a lot worse. So sorry your boy is in pain. I bet you are extremely thankful and at peace now that you are back home with him.

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    1. I really am relieved. Especially that he was wearing a helmet. The helmet is cracked and we think the guy's snowboard slammed into my son's head. If it weren't for the helmet, he probably would have been killed. This is truly frightening.

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  16. Oh man! I am really sorry about your son and hope he has an easy recovery; coming from my recent head bang/concussion, it's not something I'd wish on anybody. It took me nearly three months to feel normal, neurologically. It's a weird thing to have random issues, like noises making you crazy. I hope his symptoms aren't as intense and his youth helps heal him quickly.

    And yeah, sometimes your gut knows before your brain does about certain events. Glad you were able to get home to your boy.

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    1. The whole thing just has me unnerved. I don't think that I would have done anything differently but it sure is odd how anxious I was for this trip. So not like me. Now I know.

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  17. I'm so sorry about your son's accident but I'm glad he's safe and you were able to get back home to him!

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  18. So sorry about your son. Yes I guess this trip or race was not meant to be. But who knew? Life goes on.

    I have Florida trip planned for April 28... Fingers crossed that I can go. I NEED the BEACH!!!

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    1. I do too and I'm incredibly sad that I had to leave. The weather could not have been better.

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  19. So sorry again about your son. :-( What an awful accident and so grateful that it wasn't any worse. Your body was definitely telling you something all week, but who knew it was to be all this. Let's hope and pray for a calmer week...

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    1. There is so much uncertainty right now! It's hard to stay calm. But I'm sure trying!

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  20. I am so glad your Badger is ok. That's not the kind of call any mom wants to receive.

    I will get those gut feelings sometimes (ok, often), but I try to get over them, because usually it's just my hyperactive imagination driving me nuts. I am glad you were able to get some sand sand sun in the short time you were here.

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    1. It wasn't enough time, tho! I won't lie, I struggled with leaving. I knew I had to, but it was tough.

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  21. Uff praise God your boy is okay! What a terrible time for mom too - I don't blame you for feeling so anxious. I hope that you can have some time to rest and recover from all the stress, and to get to see your son too! I just opted to change my half marathon plans to a Virtual Race. I'm glad I have the option and feel pretty indifferent about it! I'm "running for two" and the lack of intense race goals makes me feel pretty laid back :)

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    1. I didn't realize you were expecting again! Some good news amidst all the angst.

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  22. I was so sorry to hear about your son's accident over the weekend. I can't imagine how scary that must have been for you, especially being so far away. I am so glad that he will be okay.

    I also believe in trusting your gut. I don't do it all the time and every time I don't, I'm reminded to always listen to my gut, lol

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    1. I just couldn't imagine cancelling my trip based on my anxiety. Geez. How do you know when to listen and when to ignore?

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  23. I am so happy to hear that your son wasn't injured any more seriously than he was and is doing well. There's a lot to be said about mom's gut instincts - they're real for sure!

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    1. I just thought it was anxiety about travelling and my race. I was no way going to cancel based on that. Sigh...

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  24. Oh Wendy :( my heart absolutely sank when I read your post this weekend. I'm so sorry that this happened to your boy. Intuition is sometimes tricky. You want to be able to do the things you set out to do but ignore it and then you get confirmation why you felt anxious! I'm glad you were able to get home quickly and the airline was kind to you. How's he doing now?

    I'm kind of a mess. avoiding a lot of social media (as you may have noticed). things have progressed here so quickly. Also was super worried about my parents who arrived in Spain the day before they closed their borders! My dad's still recovering from radiation (prostate cancer) and stepmom has her own health challenges. They're out, thank goodness.

    Only thing we hoarded were nakd bars (on sale) and we bought not ONE but TWO large jars of peanut butter. who needs TP when you have peanut butter!

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    1. Ha! I actually thought about stocking up on PB today when I was at Target. Great minds think alike, right?

      He's doing much better--the concussion symptoms have pretty much resolved. The shoulder needs time to heal and then PT. But considering what happened, it could have been so much worse

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  25. Oh Wendy how scary! Never a phone call you want to receive. I'm relieved to hear that your son is doing better and that his injuries were not more severe. Hugs to you my friend and wishes for speedy healing to your son!

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  26. OMG, how scary! I'm glad he's doing better but yikes. We started wearing helmets when skiing about 9 years ago. I'm so glad we did. I can't even image skiing without one anymore. I know what you mean - sometimes I to get strong feelings against certain things. Like they are not meant to be.

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    1. You know how hard it is to convince a young man to do anything safe? Luckily his girlfriend talked him into wearing a helmet when snowboarding. It saved his life. Now if I coud get him to wear a helmet when riding his bike...

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