Although this is titled Winter vacation, it truly should start 2 weeks beforehand, to get the full feel of the chaos I have been going through. Everything just kept snowballing from January 29th.
January 29th – What started as a wonderful morning, quickly turned into panic when our youngest, Harrison 3 years old, took a fall to the face at the farm. He had at least 3 cuts that we could tell, but the one on his forehead was hard to gauge the severity as it just kept gushing blood. In the frenzy of helping him, we wound up losing the products we had just purchased, adding fuel to the fire. I had to sit in the back of our SUV holding Harrison with a diaper on his face, applying pressure, while we headed to the emergency room. Luckily it didn’t wind up being too severe and after some skin glue he was good to go.
Relieved in knowing he was alright and nothing major was needed. What a day though!
February 2nd – Our oldest. Wylan – 9 years old, started to complain of throat, neck, and head pain which quickly then added a fever to go along with it. [He has been dealing with sinus problems for several months now and was also congested during this time]. We did what we could with what we knew, rotating medicine and a lot of rest and fluids. By the next day (3rd), I had checked his throat to look for strep. I didn’t see anything that indicated strep in particular, but I could tell his tonsils were slightly enlarged. I was able to get him into the doctor and because of his ongoing sinus issues they gave us antibiotics. Okay fine, we can deal with that.
February 4th – Harrison started to complain that his mouth was hurting. I figured it wouldn’t be long before someone got whatever Wylan had. We started the rotation of meds and just seemed to not really be a lasting issue after a couple of days.
February 6th – This was just a very long day for me. Wylan had an appointment in the morning with an ENT. I had to take him to school after the appointment. At home, I spent several hours working on my essay for my college class. Then after getting the kids from school we immediately had to go to an orthodontist appointment for Wylan. The orthdontist appointments always tend to be a trying time for me as the 2 younger kids cannot sit still and have to cause mayhem. Nonetheless we got it done and got out.
February 7th – I woke up and got all ready for work. When I got the kids up, Isla (6 years old), started complaining that she didn’t feel good. She likes to fib sometimes so she doesn’t have to get up. However, when I felt her head, she was pretty warm. So we started the medicine regimen on her. By this point I was really getting frustrated between feeling fed up and feeling guilty. I have missed way too much work due to illnesses between all of the kids and myself. I really have been conditioned to feel guilty in putting health over a job. However, I still felt guilty either way. I don’t want to lose this job that I love, but I also have to take care of our health. It just feels like an endless circle of guilt.
February 8th – Isla still running a fever. She’s the personality type that is very whiney when she is sick and whining is a trigger for me, but I try my best not to let that show when it involves things out of their control like sicknesses. I was just doing what I can to keep her as comfortable as possible. I had started to notice that she wasn’t talking right. She sounded muffled and like her mouth was full of spit. That night I went ahead and checked her throat. Sure enough, her tonsils were very enlarged. I knew that cannot be good and went ahead and made her an appointment for the next day.
February 9th – I took Isla to the doctor and of course they confirmed her tonsils and lymph nodes are severely enlarged. They swabbed her for strep. Apparently the word muffled is a very common word when it comes to strep. Of course it came back positive and we got her on antibiotics.
That weekend was alright. We pretty much stayed home trying to keep everyone’s health intact. Isla’s fever had finally broke, but her throat was still swollen.
February 13th – In the afternoon I just happened to check Isla’s tonsils again. This time only one had gone down and the other had developed a couple white blister looking things. Knowing that couldn’t be a good sign, I tried to get her into the doctor as we were scheduled to leave the following day for a vacation that we have had planned and paid for since before Christmas. The doctor didn’t have any openings for that day and I had to schedule it for the morning.
February 14th – We were all packed up for vacation and ready to roll. I took Isla to the doctor thinking she had a tonsil stone that they were going to get out and maybe change her meds and call it good. I was completely wrong. This appointment was with someone we had never seen before and to be frank, she wasn’t that friendly. She immediately looked at Isla’s mouth and said, yeah you need to go see radiology for a CT scan and that is at the hospital. Obviously my child’s health comes before vacation, but it didn’t seem like she thought this was even that urgent of an issue. The only available time radiology had for an appointment was 2pm. We were supposed to have left around 11 for vacation. Not a big deal as we were driving, but still throwing things off. We went to the radiology appointment and that was traumatic. Isla had to be poked 3 times for an IV. I had to sit with her through her cries for them to stop and how much it hurt, despite their best efforts to distract her from the pains. After the second poke, she just wanted her dad. We traded spots and he was able to be with her. They got the IV in and the imaging done. Around 3pm-ish, the nurse came to find me to give me the phone to talk to the doctor back at the clinic about the results. She explained that Isla has an abscess inside of her tonsil and shes going to need to see the ENT doctor for their recommendation on what to do next. In order for that to happen, we were escorted to the emergency room. I think we had to go through all of the same questions 4 or 5 times between all the people we saw. Long story short, Isla needed to have a procedure done to drain the abscess so that it doesn’t obstruct her airway and we can get the infection out. In order for that to happen, she had to be taken to the operating room and be put under anesthesia. She was scheduled to go into surgery around 5pm. Sometime around this point, we were able to change the hotel check in date for the next day knowing she needed the time to recover from anesthesia. Surgery went well and only lasted about 25 minutes. We were able to go see her in the recovery room about 30 minutes or so after. She wasn’t talking much, but was able to drink and have popsicles. She was a little wobbly when we changed her clothes, but ultimately she was cleared to go home. As soon as we got to the car she was extremely chatty. She said, when they got to the room for surgery, people were holding her down even though she wasn’t fighting them or crying and then they put the medicine in her hand and it burned then she fell asleep. How my heart broke. 💔 why were they holding her down and being the last thing she remembered was traumatic as she was missing us, scared, being held down, and then the pain of the injection. 😭 my poor girl. When we finally got home and settled, she decided to sleep in bed with me and we watched Lady and the Tramp.
February 15th – All was fine. Isla seemed nearly normal by this point and we were ready to get to our vacation. About halfway through she started complaining that her head was hurting so we pulled over to get her some tylenol. She wound up spitting it out all over herself because it was gross flavoring. She also was demanding solid food because jello and pudding weren’t cutting it. We went across the road to McDonald’s and got her a cheeseburger. She seemed fine after that and we drove on without issue. We arrived at our destination and Chris went to check in. Harrison randomly started complaining about his ear hurting. By time we got in he was getting irritable about it and pulling it. We gave him some medicine and then everyone was ready to go swimming. He even wanted to go still even though his ear hurt. We tried some ear plugs, but of course they were too big for his ears and kept falling out. Once he saw the water, it was distracting enough to make him happy. He was calm and cool and everyone got in the lazy river. I personally cannot keep calm with so many people in water and small children that people don’t keep an eye out for. I know all too well things can go wrong really fast. My anxiety was skyrocketing minute by minute. At some point after a few laps, my nephew came back looking for Wylan. I took that as my excuse to get the heck out of that anxiety inducing river. I went and found Wylan with my nephew and we teamed up. We took turns going down some of the water slides, which was fun, and obviously much better than where I previously was. We had our fun, found the others in the hot tub sometime later, and joined them. While we were in there, Harrison again started complaining about his ear. We decided to dry off and go back up to the room. The kids were wanting something to eat so I took them to the sweet shop down the hall. Once we got back to the room Harrison said, “it’s not helping”. I said what isn’t helping? He said his drink wasn’t helping his mouth and his mouth was hurting. Of course I had to check his throat. Sure enough, swollen tonsils. 😵😭
February 16th – This morning was pretty fun, the kid’s seemed to be fine as we were keeping up on all of their medications. We kept my nephew and the rest of my family had checked out to head home. We had breakfast, spent time at the water park, and doing their Build a Bear activity. We had a late lunch so that we could go back to the water while, hopefully, most of the other hotel guests were at dinner. We also did the MagiQuest and all of the kids defeated the red dragon. Around 530ish we went back to the waterpark (Chris, me, and 4 children). I had already told the kids do not ask to go in the lazy river because I cannot do it. They were okay with that at the time. We had fun taking turns taking kids on the big slides while the other stayed with the other kids. We were just trying to make sure everyone got to do what they wanted.
About an hour or so in, Isla wanted to go down the big slide, but she needed to have a green bracelet to be able to. Chris went to get her remeasured because we knew she was about an inch over their requirement. Harrison also wanted to go on the big slides and I agreed I would go with him. Wylan then asked if he and his cousin (both will be 10 in a few months) if they could just go in the river while they wait for us to come back down from the slides. The slides didn’t have any lines at the time, so I figured at most they’d be in there for 10 minutes. They were excited because the kids in the river had come up with the tube train and they wanted to join in. I saw them get linked in to the train and headed up to the slide with Harrison. In order to get to the slides you go up some stairs and cross a bridge to more stairs. Well on the bridge as I was walking I slipped and fell and took Harrison down with me. We were okay and I was trying really hard not to let more things bring me down. We continued to the stairs. We went up to the top and waited our turn to get the tube that had a bottom for Harrison to sit in. It didn’t take long at all and we went down the slide. I got out and took him out of the tube and the tube out of the water. Chris had just gotten back from getting Isla’s new band and went up to the slides. I gave our tube to the tube return lifeguard and headed over to the river to find the kids. I walk up and immediately see my son being attacked by 2 other kids, pushing him under, and putting 2 tubes ontop of him. I could see him trying to fight them off and I started screaming. No one did a damn thing, not even the lifeguard that was within 2 feet of it and seemingly was looking directly at them. I kept screaming with Harrison on my hip, and finally he was able to get away and get out. He was crying, hyperventilating, and wanted to go home. By time I turned back around those kids were gone. I notified a lifeguard of what happened, he just shook his head like “okay I understand” and went about his business. I went back to the tube return lifeguard and asked who to speak to to report a lifeguard. She notified the assistant manager to come over and I explained to him what happened. He said he would go and speak with that lifeguard right away. We went back to the room, trying to calm everyone down. I still was not satisfied with how they handled the situation and so I left to talk to the front desk person. I explained to her what happened and she was shocked. She wrote down the information and said she would let her manager know. I went back to the room and still was stewing on everything. At some point, I went back to the desk because I wanted to be sure they are actually doing something about it. My son was now traumatized and me walking in on that was traumatizing and for the one person who’s sole job is to prevent drownings to not do a thing, really had my blood boiling. I went back to the desk, spoke with the same lady and an additional lady. She was also shocked and apologetic about what happened. She took down more information and told me if there is anything they can do to make my son feel even a little better they would take care of it. I went back to the room and told Chris and Wylan what she said. Of course being 9, he was excited that he could get anything he wanted. I figured he would ask for all the ice cream, but instead he first said he was going to tell them he wants his Uncle. His Uncle who is currently incarcerated. Ironically it was only a few minutes after he said that, that my brother wound up calling me. Wylan then decided he wanted to check out the gift shop. I took him to the front desk to let her know what he wanted to do. She ended up giving him a $100 voucher for anything he wants in there. He picked out some wolf feet slippers, a wolf stuffed animal, he let each kid pick something out for themselves, and then he also got a necklace. We went to check out and the lady at this register said, “I heard what happened I am so sorry” and gave each kid an extra stuffed animal racoon (the one from the GWL characters named Rachel).
They were all so happy and it maybe helped in the moment. We went to the dance party at 930, Wylan was still not himself. Afterwards, back in the room, I overheard him telling his cousin “I can’t believe I almost drown”. 😭😭
I couldn’t sleep that night. Tossing and turning, thinking of what I should have done or should have said. Feeling like a shitty mother.
February 17th – We went to breakfast and then back to the room. By this point my whole family knew what happened and they were offering their advice and frustrations. I called the front desk to see if they had followed up on the situation – they were supposed to review the tapes to see if they could see anything. Of course they couldn’t see anything from the viewpoint they have. I was informed by a couple of people that places purposely do not have cameras so that things cannot be proven. Apparently that was the case here. I really wanted someone to be accountable and to make sure it didn’t happen to someone else. We decided to try to file a police report, but the police claimed they couldn’t do anything about it. Pretty sure I could press assault charges on those kids, but what do I know? The deputy was actually not sympathetic at all.
We packed up our stuff as we were scheduled to check out. Headed to fillup our cups one more time and I went to speak to the desk person. I wanted to follow-up again to see if they were able to speak with that lifeguard yet. The desk person called the safety coordinator and had her come talk to me. She also was not sympathetic in any shape or form. Claimed “we don’t even have cameras in there” but then “we spoke to the kid’s parents after we identified them”. Uhm, what? How is that possible without cameras? It made zero sense and I was just done with the place. I checked out and Chris went to grab the car.
February 18th – It is now the next day and I still am not over the events. We have been through so much the last 2 weeks. I asked Chris, what is my karma for this? I have bouts of guilt for what I should have done, still feeling like a mother that can’t protect her kids. It makes me want to hide in a dark cave. In my mind, that dark cave is a safe place. At the same time, I need to teach the kids that these things don’t need to ruin our lives and we can still stand up strong after challenges. We will be thankful that we got through all of it without permanent physical damage. I am already in contact with the counselor to check in on the kids at school next week to check for lasting emotional damage. I’m not sure there is much else that can be done. We just have to keep going.
2 replies to “Vacation Woes [Winter Vacation February 2023]”
Wow, Jen! That is awful and I am very sorry that happened and how sick all of the kids were, sending a big hug to you xoxo
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