Not all journeys end in Vegas, but this one most certainly does.
Almost one year ago, I came down with the flu (after having gotten a flu shot) and ended up in the hospital. As that was the third time in about a year I was on IV antibiotics, I decided to go ahead and get a port-a-cath, which I'd actually been thinking about for a few years.
I slowly started to come back to life from the flu, and I got my port bright and early on a Monday morning (the 28th of February in fact). Everything went so well I felt sure I'd made the right decision about getting it.
Then a week later - five days before we had a trip planned to go to Vegas - I noticed some pains in my arm and shoulder that turned out to be a blood clot. I was admitted back into the hospital after a long night in the ER of the state's biggest public hospital. The next couple of days was a roller coaster of emotions, from learning about the dangers of blood clots (pulmonary embolism, while not likely but often fatal, is the big worry in my case), to getting over the last of my lung infection and worrying about what would come of our trip.
As soon as I was able to make the transition from a heparin IV to lovenox shots (the prescribed treatment for blood clots until you can thin your blood out enough to switch to coumadin), I was itching to get out of the hospital. I made a deal with the docs: if they let me go home, I promised not to get on the plane to Vegas the next day, which was deemed too risky with a blood clot.
So, I missed the trip to Vegas.
I spent the next couple of months having episodes of panic over the blood clot, going to the Coumadin Clinic at UNC once or twice per week - and a total of five months on coumadin (which means you have to limit alcohol and be really consistent about your diet and exercise to keep your levels consistent). In the end, it was a good decision to get the port, because after the clot cleared up, we could see on a scan how my vein had narrowed from all the picc lines I'd had - no telling how many more lines it could have held before a problem developed there.
Fast forward a few months to where my fortune seems to have changed. I had a series of trips planned at the end of last year (trip to MI to see my new nephew, trip to OH for Thanksgiving, trip back to MI for Christmas) and each time I said to myself, if I can only get through this trip without being sick, I'm fine with having to go on IVs when I get home.
I made it through each one of those trips, and have managed to not get sick despite the plethora of sick people I have inevitably encountered. Naturally, after my Christmas trip, the next goal was getting to Vegas. I almost thought about going on IVs before this trip just so that I would be at the top of my game, but my lung functions at my last appointment were so good (yay!) that didn't make sense.
So here we are. We are flying to Vegas today, and then driving down to Joshua Tree National Park for three nights, going to visit a friend (and see the Hurricanes play out west!) in Anaheim, and spend three nights back in Vegas with five of our friends.
I'm so excited, I can't wait.