I’ll make a confession. I believe in fate a little bit. Not a lot. I don’t chalk my whole life and the way it has turned out up to fate, by any means. But sometimes, for big decisions or when I’m making plans, it seems like multiple signs will point me to one decision--making one choice much easier than the other, although it might not have been my original choice. In those instances, when the odds seem stacked against me getting my way, I figure fate is trying to steer me in the right direction. In the past I have followed those instincts, and the decisions have always worked out for me. For example, “fate” prodded me to study abroad in Mexico rather than Spain, and I have never regretted that decision. Though at one point in my life, I really thought Spain was where I’d wanted to be, Mexico shaped me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I used to get a feeling, after I’d made the right decision--the one fate had pressed me to make--that if I’d been stubborn and chosen the other option, something bad would have happened. I didn’t know what...but I figured there was a reason I was supposed to choose one option over the other.
Looking back on it, there were maybe quite a few signs that my sister wasn’t meant to come on this summer’s road trip with me. Initially, she wasn’t going to come. But I thought the trip would be exponentially better with her along, so I went to some extremes to make sure she could come along. We changed our trip dates and modified our plans, and she decided to come. And even after that, more reasons sprang up for Liz not to come as her summer stress levels reached an all time high. Still, I stayed stubborn, and on Sunday she and I started on our road trip.
I think I have finally experienced the reason I should listen to fate. The “something bad” actually happened this time.
Monday morning, Liz woke up before sunrise with severe stomach cramps and nausea. We thought it must just be a stomach bug, and so Rachel and I left her reclining on the couch as we went to run some errands. By 6pm though, Liz still wasn’t feeling any better. If anything, she was worse. The shooting pains in her abdomen started up whenever she moved, and she couldn’t stop vomiting to keep even sips of water down.
Rachel’s mom (who is an absolute saint, by the way) took Liz into the urgent care clinic and made sure she got seen by a doctor. Eventually, they moved Liz to ER of the hospital, gave her meds for pain and nausea, and took a CT scan to make sure it wasn’t her appendix. The CT scan showed only an inflamed small intestine, but they kept Liz overnight to make sure her body worked things out of her before they cleared her for the road trip.
Except now it’s Tuesday night, and Liz is spending her second evening on a hospital bed. They never let her go home this morning; instead they placed an NG tube and put her on steroids to help relax her innards and decided to watch her for a good 24 hours.
It also doesn’t help that they’re not sure what is causing the inflammation yet. It could be a virus or food poisoning or a parasite (perhaps another gift from Guatemala), or it could be something like Crohn’s Disease. If it’s a virus, it should work itself out and leave Liz in some comfort in the next few days. But if it’s Crohn’s, it could flare up again at any time.
Finally, we got fate's message. Even if they tell Liz she’s allowed to leave the hospital in the next day or two, after not having food since Sunday night, she’s going to be weak and sore and uncomfortable. A trip to go stay in the wilderness and spend her days hiking the Grand Canyon is probably not advisable at this time.
So, unless we get a miracle, Rachel and I will take off on the road trip, just one day behind schedule, and leave Liz here. Our mom will drive down to bring Liz back to Wisconsin for the week. And if she’s feeling well enough, Liz will book a flight and meet us in Denver next week to enjoy at least the last half of the road trip with us, after she's recovered. It’s as good a compromise as we can manage. Liz is taking her time in the hospital really well, and we joke that she’s developing a bad habit of ending up in the hospital when she’s supposed to be traveling (see Let Down from a few years ago). Next time, maybe I’ll stop being so stubborn and take a moment to read the signs and listen to what fate has to say before it’s too late.