Seat belts are buckled. My hands tightly grip the arm rests. The plane starts building speed down the runway. I am not crazy about take-offs. Just get this ginormous air boat in the sky and I can relax. A little. But 3-year old Dylan diverts my attention.
Dylan: I have to poop.
Me: Dylan, really?! Are you serious? You can’t poop now.
Dylan: But I have to poop.
Me: Honey, you have to wait – just a few minutes – until we reach a comfortable cruising altitude. It will be the perfect altitude for pooping. (Dylan has just learned that sometimes you have to wait to do your business. Thankfully, she does).
As soon as we arrive in Boca Raton, Florida, I’m immediately conscious of two things. First, I’m freezing. The indoor temperature in this state is completely ridiculous. Everyone saunters around in a t-shirt and shorts (they are apparently oblivious to the 45 degree indoor weather), while I’m desperately searching my bags for more layers.
Second, after a long day of traveling, I need coffee. I convince my husband to return to the airport (after we’ve rented our car) because I know there is a Starbucks somewhere in that airport. I leave the poor guy endlessly looping around the passenger drop-off area, with our two girls buckled in the back, while I go in search of a cafe mocha in the main terminal. I approach an information desk.
Me: Hi. Is there a Starbucks in here?
Information Desk Lady: Why yes, there is.
Silence. Now I don’t want to come off as some impatient New Yorker so I wait. More silence. It’s like a staring contest at this point. I blink.
Me: Could you tell me where?
Information Desk Lady: Right down there by terminal C. But it’s kind of far.
Me: That’s ok. Thanks.
So I begin my journey. And I’ll wager that Information Desk Lady is not a long distance runner. Because 20 yards later (yes, I just happened to be carrying my yardstick), I’m standing in front of a Starbucks. Suddenly Boca is the land where your dreams really do come true. I’m clearly inappropriately euphoric over a cup of coffee.
That night we leave Dylan and Summer with Ricky’s parents and we dine at Sal’s Italian Ristorante where we are greatly relieved to learn they still have the buffalo wings on the menu. Because what’s fine Italian dining without wings?
Then comes sleep. For about 46 minutes.
Dylan starts coughing and wheezing. Her breathing is labored. Is it Croup (a virus that causes inflammation of the airway)? She’s sobbing. I’m getting nervous. She’s shaking. This is the most distress I’ve ever seen my little girl experience. She’s had Croup before but never like this.
We rush to the hospital. These are the words that seize my whole body. The nurse says, “We have a 3 year-old who is having trouble breathing.” I keep telling Dylan that everything is going to be fine. My arms are wrapped around her. But I’ve lost all faith. Inside I’m hysterical.
We quickly learn there is no pediatrics department at this hospital. But they begin treating her. A nurse nebulizes her with adrenaline and another gives her a dose of steroids through an IV. She screams, vomits and shakes.
Slowly, way too slowly, her normal breath begins to return. She stops quivering. Her body starts to calm. My faith returns. Ricky and I start smiling. We can laugh again.
We start to wonder why no one looks like McDreamy, McSteamy or Katherine Heigl here. It seems doubtful that any of these residents are sleeping together. We catch no one hooking up in the examining rooms. We are a bit disappointed.
3 hours later, at almost 4 am, with the diagnosis of Croup confirmed, we check out of the hospital and bring her home to my in-law’s. Dylan gets a gigantic Hershey’s bar as a special treat for her bravery. Needles = chocolate. She is starting to see the upside of a trip to the ER. I am so drained. So tired. So grateful. I fall asleep. One night of Boca under my belt.