Vacations are wonderful and lovely. Especially when it’s to somewhere that you’ve never been and you get to do something new and exciting. Until someone gets the flu. That’s definitely a game changer.
Matthew and I headed out for Colorado with our favorite travel buddies, his grandparents. (They’re who we trekked around Alaska with this last summer.) Pagosa Springs is a 19 hour drive from our home in North Louisiana and we broke the drive up a bit by staying with Matthew’s mom and stepdad in Texas. It was a win-win for family time! Both Matthew and I were very excited about the trip because he hadn’t skied in many years and I’d never been. I’d also never seen “real”‘snow piled on the ground or fluttering through the air. We just don’t see that type of weather in Louisiana. That’s strange for me to realize since I’m quite the traveler. Nonetheless, we were pumped about the trip and couldn’t wait to enjoy three full days of skiing in Colorado. And then Matthew got the flu.
We went up on the mountain on Monday and Matthew felt terrible after just a few passes down the mountain. We were certain that he had altitude sickness so he rested in the car while we skied a bit more. The next day, he stayed behind to rest in hopes that he would feel well enough to hit the slopes on our last day. As the day progressed, he felt worse and worse and spiked a fever, so I tracked down a local nurse practitioner for him to see. (A huge shout out to Susan Kuhns at Pagosa Health and Wellness for staying late and helping us out. She was awesome.) When we presented his list of symptoms to her, it was pretty clear that we were dealing with the flu. She gave us meds (including some preventative options for me) and we stocked up on all things flu related at the local Wal-Mart. In all honesty, I’ve never been more excited to see a Wal-Mart stocked with wellness items AND a friendly staff. If you saw the contents of my buggy, you would have known that we were fighting something nasty – Lysol, Lysol wipes, thermometer, vitamin C – the works. From what we can gather, Matthew must have been exposed to and fought off the flu virus and the altitude sickness weakened his immune system allowing the virus to take hold. To say that it wasn’t how we expected to spend our few days in Colorado, is definitely an understatement.
As I sat in our dark hotel room, preparing Easy Mac in the hotel’s microwave, I realized that I felt like we were Bonnie and Clyde. We were hidden away in this room, unable to go outside for fear of being found. The blinds were closed and we seemed to have no connection with the outside world. Matthew and I chuckled over this realization and as he apologized for “ruining our vacation,” I assured him that it wasn’t ruined…we would just leave with a different type of memory than what we originally planned.
Despite the sudden illness, I did get to learn to ski and enjoy the snow a bit. On the first day, I went to ski school to learn the basics. Matthew’s grandparents are both great skiers, so I also had them to learn from. I was happy to report that I picked it up rather quickly and didn’t even fall the first day! The second day brought with it some challenges, as is was snowing rather heavily and the slopes were a bit crunchy/icy. I fell twice on Tuesday…nothing too dramatic though. I did end up in a bit of a tough spot once though. I came down the mountain a bit faster than I anticipated and missed the turn to go my usual route. Instead, I ended up at the top of a much steeper slope than I felt comfortable with. I stood there at the top, literally afraid to move. Luckily, Matthew’s grandfather was with me and showed me how to slide down gently. I’m usually pretty brave; however, I knew I wouldn’t successfully navigate that slope. Before Pappaw showed me a trick to get down, I was seriously considering calling a helicopter come pick me up! The moral of this story is to try not to get yourself onto a slope you’re not comfortable with!
Even though our trip didn’t turn out like we planned, I loved the beautiful scenery and the snow. After this trip, I feel like I could live somewhere where it snows and love it! The snow-covered trees and mountains were simply gorgeous and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to experience them for a bit.
Until we meet again Colorado! Next time we’ll come without the flu.