It was the second week in January, and Randy and I were on the road to Sedona, Arizona for a much anticipated vacation. The month after Christmas is always a let-down for me, and so my thoughtful husband planned a week away in this beautiful red rock country. As we neared our destination, we were enthralled with the striking contrast specks of white snow made on the crimson rocks. Driving through town we talked about a new shop or restaurant we wanted to try. We were both excited for a week of relaxation and a break from the routine at home.
After checking into our resort, I stood looking out our back sliding glass doors at the scene before me. Oak Creek was only a few yards away, and cracking the door open, I could hear the sound of rushing water and smell the crisp, cool air laced with the scent of dead leaves.
The creek beckoned me to come and walk by its muddy shores, but I knew there would be plenty of time for this so I turned down the invitation, vowing I would go outside later. The thought came again to take a few moments and walk by the creek. Ignoring the prompting the second time, I pulled myself away from the beauty before me to start preparing dinner. I didn’t expect that simple choice would become a major regret, for I never got a chance to walk the banks of Oak Creek or dip my hands into its chilling water. Not on this trip.
The winter night closed in quickly as Randy and I enjoyed a simple dinner of roasted chicken and butternut squash. I was looking forward to a quiet evening together, perhaps a movie and my favorite treat, ice cream. As I rose to start clearing the table, a sudden rush of pain engulfed my lower abdomen. Confused at the sudden contrast between feeling great to being doubled over in pain, I made my way into our bedroom. Thinking the pain might go away if I lay down for a few minutes, I curled up on the bed, placing a pillow against my stomach. I didn’t say a word to Randy, so you can imagine his surprise when he walked into the room ten minutes later to find me moaning, “I need to go to the Emergency Room.”
Concerned, Randy got as much information about how I was feeling as I could relate, and began asking Siri for directions to the nearest hospital. If you have ever used Siri, you can visualize the following scene. Randy is frantic and Siri decides not to cooperate. Trying several times to get a reasonable answer and being led to a useless website, he finally listens to my feeble attempt to interject some useful information. “During our drive today, I saw an Emergency Room on the right side of the road. Just retrace the road we took this afternoon.”
Looking at me incrediously, he helped me to the car and we were on our way.
Sedona’s Emergency Room was void of patients and so I received immediate, excellent care. Sadly, due to the nature of my condition, we ended up leaving Sedona early the next morning for the familiar hospital and doctors we knew in Mesa. Banner Desert has a whole file on me thanks to my history with cancer. The good thing was I knew which doctors I wanted on my case, and that made all the difference.
for this– the view outside my hospital room window–
was heartbreaking. My only connection with nature on this vacation was through my car window, or a glass sliding door. Never again will I ignore the invitation to enjoy the moment. It may never return.