Not the vacation we planned – Part 3 (conclusion)

BCH by JulieAnn Corbin

Jaycie looking much healthier at BCH!

Although I hadn’t expected that Jaycie would eventually end up at Boston Children’s Hospital, I knew that she was receiving the best possible care and that they would be able to do whatever it took to get her healthy again. Our original plans for vacation had involved spending a day in Boston, but we ended up spending much more time in the city than that and not under the fun circumstances I had planned.

I’d talked to my ex-husband a few times on the phone and he was going to drive out the night they transferred Jaycie to BCH (Friday) to be there Saturday morning. Knowing he was going to be there with Jaycie in the morning, Jordan and I didn’t feel as rushed to get back to the hospital and ate some breakfast at the hotel Saturday morning before heading to the Oak Grove T station to take the subway in. Driving into Boston in the late evening was one thing, trying to drive in on a Saturday morning was not something I was ready to try.

Using the subway took longer than I expected, but when we arrived at the hospital, Jaycie was sitting up in a recliner chair they’d brought in and happily watching TV. She looked the healthiest I’d seen her since picking her up the previous Sunday from her father’s house. My ex-husband was reading on the sofa bed by the window and Jordan was happy to see him.

Jaycie’s nurse for the weekend was named Chris and he was very friendly and informative. He encouraged us to get her up and walking around more and to make sure she kept eating and drinking. The doctors and nurses all explained to me that with perforated appendicitis with abscesses, they prefer to let the child heal before removing the appendix. They had Jaycie on antibiotics and fluids still and they said that they could drain the abscess if necessary, but that they didn’t always. As it turned out, the abscess or abscesses weren’t in a place that was easy to drain so they decided a course of antibiotics and waiting 6 weeks to remove the appendix was the best course of action.

Jordan and I spent some time in Jaycie’s and I updated my ex-husband on the situation and what had occurred up to that point. His fiancé was arriving by train that night and they were going to figure out a place to stay for the night. There was more color in Jaycie’s face and she was smiling and even laughing, which reassured me that she was finally on the road to recovery.

Satisfied that Jaycie would be fine in the company of her father and the care of the hospital staff, Jordan and I left the hospital and walked down the street to the food court we could see from Jaycie’s hospital room window. We picked up some lunch for ourselves and the girls’ father and returned to the room to eat. After a few more hours in the room helping Jaycie eat, drink, use the bathroom and walk around the hallways, I decided that Jordan and I should head out in search of food for dinner. I always go to Faneuil Hall Marketplace during my Boston visits so we hopped on the T and made our way there.

Going to the marketplace during the dinner hours was a bad idea and it took us almost two hours of waiting in line and riding the T to get back to the hospital. Even so, it was a nice change to be out of the hospital for a while and actually taking in some of Boston. I saw the horse drawn carriages lined up and decided to snap a picture to remind us that we hadn’t spent the entire time in BCH.

horse drawn carriages in Boston by JulieAnn Corbin

Once back in the room, we all ate our food hungrily and wiled away the time with what had become the usual hospital routine for Jordan and I. My ex-husband was going to stay at the hospital until he had to pick up his fiancé from the train station so around 8 p.m., Jordan and I decided to leave for the night. We knew another day of the similar routine awaited us tomorrow but that we’d have a bit of break now that the girls’ father was in the city.

The next day, Sunday, Jordan and I arrived at the hospital to find that they were cleaning Jaycie up with some wipes because she hadn’t wanted to shower. She doesn’t enjoy showering when she’s healthy so I can understand her not wanting to deal with it when she was unwell. After she was cleaned up, Jaycie put on clean hospital clothing and resumed her usual TV watching. Jordan and I brought her some Avengers action figures and a Transformer to play with a few days prior and she was actually interested in playing with them that day, which was a huge improvement!

I had promised Jordan we’d make it to a bookstore while in Boston and even though that promise had been part of the plans prior to Jaycie becoming sick, I was determined to make it happen. With my ex-husband and his fiancé keeping Jaycie company, Jordan and I set off after lunch to take the T to Barnes & Noble. As that falls under my future blog post detailing my adventures with Jordan, I’ll elaborate later.

We returned to the hospital with two new books for Jordan and a My Little Pony graphic novel for Jaycie. Jaycie immediately started looking through the comic book, which made me almost as happy as she was to receive it.

Jaycie had improved immensely over the past two days at Boston Children’s Hospital and the nurse had said she might be able to leave the following day, Monday. Jaycie was eating normally, including her favorite snack of goldfish, and they were switching her to oral antibiotics to get her off the IV version. My ex-husband and his fiancé decided to drive back to NY that evening and I admit that it was nice to get back to just the three of us. My girls are my world, we’re a triumphant trio no matter what shape we’re in and I’m just more comfortable when it’s me and my girls.

Jaycie spent one final night at Boston Children’s Hospital and we were finally able to take her back to the hotel Monday evening around rush hour. I’d driven into Boston Monday morning because I knew she wouldn’t be able to handle the T and that drive was not a fun experience. If one more person honked at me to run a light or pull through an intersection when it wasn’t safe, I was on the verge of getting out of my car to pummel them. I would never actually do something like that, but they were messing with the wrong mama at that point!

BCH by JulieAnn Corbin

Jaycie waiting for the valet to bring our car from the hospital parking garage.

We managed to get back safely to the hotel and Jaycie was finally able to enjoy the hotel pool, which was the main reason I’d decided to book a hotel instead of rent a cottage for our summer vacation. She spent almost an hour in the pool and she was the usual smiling and happy Jaycie that Jordan and I knew. I was glad she’d had some time in the pool finally but I still wished she hadn’t had to endure so much pain and discomfort over the past several days.

Jaycie finally in the hotel pool!

Jaycie finally in the hotel pool!

Our vacation was supposed to be a fun time filled with happy memories and instead it was stressful and exhausting for all of us. Although I know that life happens and things were beyond my control, I still felt like I had failed my girls somehow by not giving them the trip we’d planned on. I’m a mom first and foremost and the health and happiness of my girls is the most important thing in the world to me. I can’t do anything to change the past and all that matters is that Jaycie gets healthy, but I’ve vowed to make next year’s summer vacation a fun and memorable time for all of us.

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Friday Morning in Boston

Sun rising over the trees outside my hotel on Friday morning.

Sun rising over the trees outside my hotel on Friday morning.

I woke at 4:30 a.m. on Friday, June 27, 2014, the day I’d chosen for my return to Boston as a solo explorer. I laid in bed for a half hour before giving up the ghost, getting up, showering and dressing for the day ahead. I was eager to get into the city before it got crowded so I could get my bearings. Well, as much as lost me can ever get my bearings.

As taking the commuter rail into Boston last August didn’t end well, I decided to drive to a T station this time and take the subway in from there. When I saw that a couple of the orange line T stations were down and buses were being used, I opted for the blue line instead and drove down to Wonderland Station.

It was an absolutely beautiful morning and as it was barely 6:30 a.m., traffic was pretty light. I found a lot where I could park for $5 all day and my little Matrix was one of only 3 cars there. It was right next to the T station and within moments of parking my car and equipping myself with my trusty black messenger bag, I was standing on the platform, my loaded Charlie card tucked into my back pocket.

I boarded the next inbound subway train and found a seat easily in the nearly empty car. The car got more crowded as people entered at each stop and I’m pretty sure I was the only one on the T truly happy to be there. I took pictures at the Airport Station and didn’t care if I looked like a tourist. I think I’d love the ride even if I did it every day for work!

View inside the Airport T Station

View inside the Airport T Station

I’d decided to take the T into the Aquarium Station because I knew it was near Faneuil Hall/Quincy Marketplace and I was very familiar with the whole Long Wharf area from my past three trips into Boston.

T Station map at the Aquarium stop

T Station map at the Aquarium stop

I got off at my destination and took the multiple escalators up to the street. When I got to the top, a friendly gentleman who’d been behind me asked “Do you need help? You look lost?” I smiled and said “No, thank you, I’m good. I always look lost.” He returned my smile and exited to the street while I inwardly wondered if a warning went out through Boston that lost Julie was on her way in for a visit…

Once out on the street, I grinned happily as I saw the huge clocktower rising into the morning sky proclaiming the time as barely 7 a.m. The clock was actually a bit slow but I took a picture anyway to make the occasion.

clocktower morning

I walked around a bit, refamiliarizing myself with the area and I found a handy dandy map I don’t remember seeing before. I took a picture in case I needed it later but then totally forgot I took the picture so it really didn’t help. It’s the thought that counts I suppose.

Map of Long Wharf

Map of Long Wharf

My next order of business was finding some breakfast as I’d only eaten a cookie on the drive to Wonderland Station. I heard a couple of tourists on rented bikes ask the cashiers at the Boston Harbor Cruises where they could find coffee and she suggested a Dunkin Donuts around the corner or a Starbucks further down. I watched the direction they rode off in and walked that way at a leisurely pace.

I don’t think I’d walked that way before and if I had I totally missed the dolphin sculpture/statue standing, well I guess it’d be swimming, there. It looked quite lovely in the morning sunlight and the date on it said 1977 so it was a timeless classic the same age as myself.

Dolphin sculpture

Dolphin sculpture and the morning sky in Boston

I continued on and found the Dunkin Donuts but the line stretching outside the door made me decide to look elsewhere for food. I headed to Quincy Market hoping there was someone open serving breakfast. I found several delivery trucks lined up outside the long narrow building and I thought it was very cool that I was early enough to see such beginning of the day routines.

Delivery trucks outside Quincy Market

Delivery trucks outside Quincy Market

I slipped inside the open doors avoiding men with dolly carts full of supplies and the aroma of food met my nose. I looked down the almost completely empty hall in wonder knowing that within a few hours it would be packed with hungry customers.

Deserted hallway looking one way

Deserted hallway looking one way

Deserted hallway looking the other way

Deserted hallway looking the other way.

As I stood in the center below the large dome of the building, I was treated to lovely music played by a young man at one of the “Play Me, I’m Yours” pianos located in the Market. He was very good and I took a few pictures while trying to avoid him noticing I was taking pictures. I didn’t care if I looked like a tourist, the music was lovely and deserving of recognition.

guy playing piano

Man playing piano.

My stomach growled reminding me why I was there so I set off down the hallways in search of someplace with a breakfast menu. A simple thing like eating breakfast is never a simple thing with me and that tale must wait until tomorrow.

Return of the Muse

Me in the Boston Public Garden 6/27/14. See that glint in my eye? That's my muse ;)

Me in the Boston Public Garden 6/27/14. See that glint in my eye? That’s my muse 😉

Yes, the blog title is an homage to Star Wars: Return of the Jedi because I love the original Star Wars movies. More important than that though is that my writing muse has returned!!! She’s been MIA and AWOL for quite some time now. She’s been lost in the Land of Shadowed Sorrows, navigated the Seas of Shattered Dreams, fought amid the Wars of Unrequited Love and vanquished the Demons of Heartbroken Hopes. She survived all that and has come out stronger and more determined than ever!

I was still able to write freelance in her absence because I can write that stuff in my sleep by now. Freelance does use my creative writing skills, my cleverness and my imagination but it barely touches the surface of my Creator-given talent and passion. That talent and passion inspired me to start writing fantasy novels at 12 and continue writing them into my 20’s until I had completed 10 manuscripts based in the same world of Aindar.

I still wrote off and on into my 30’s but with nowhere near the proficiency and desire I’d possessed in my younger days. A marriage that ended in divorce, several bad experiences with men and an overall distaste with the ridiculous lack of good men left my heart bitter, jaded and mistrustful. I don’t really blame my muse for leaving amid that. How could she possibly hope to inspire me to continue to write about romance between kick-butt women heroes and the good men that fought beside them and for them when the last good man I knew was my father? She left me to fight through her own trenches while I battled my own demons and now we’re ready to work together again.

Maybe it’s my most recent trip to New England or my most recent bad experience involving a man or just the phase of the moon, but something finally snapped inside me. I’m a beautiful, kick-butt hero chick, I love myself, I’m blessed with two amazing daughters, I have a great life and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the dishonest, manipulative, controlling and overall “evil” men of this world determine my feelings about all of them.

My father was a good man with an amazingly loving heart and he loved me unconditionally. I deserve a man I love and who loves me back and who treats me like he did. Even though I haven’t found that man in real life, I can write about him in my books…along with the less than stellar males I’ve dealt with. You know what they say, never anger a writer or you’ll end up in their next novel *wink.*

So my fantasy writing voice has returned and I’m going to use it to speak out for all the powerful, strong, beautiful women like me who deserve only the best and should never settle for “he might do” because they’re lonely. Look out world, JulieAnn’s muse has returned and she’s kicking rear, taking names and writing them down!