Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Vacation That Never Was

I really lived up to my nick name this time! For over six months I’d been planning a trip to Europe. I was at the airport with my new clothes, hair freshly done, new skate wheels, snacks, Euros and maps of each city I was visiting including directions to everything I wanted to see and do. As you can tell I spent a lot of time preparing for this trip. I pride myself on being well organized and prepared. So as I excitedly went to the airport ticket counter to get my plane ticket an amazingly unbelievable thing happened. My passport was expired!!!

I couldn’t believe this was happening. It just seemed surreal. After a slight bout of sadness and anger…ok so I acted like a two year old throwing a tantrum...I decided to work on a plan to get a quick passport renewal. The next 24 hours were like something out of the amazing race except no fun and no big cash reward. After driving around town for forms, info and pictures I found out you could drive to Miami and possibly…maybe…if the moons and stars aligned just right…get a same day passport.

I headed to Miami at 3 a. m. After only two hours of sleep, a three and a half hour drive and waiting at the passport office for nine hours I FINALLY got to speak to a passport ‘agent’ or whatever you call them. And I was promptly told there would be no passport that day and no passport over the weekend either. I’d have to drive back down on Monday or have it mailed to my home on Tuesday. This was extremely disappointing news and I’m sadly disturbed by our passport office’s lack of concern or motivation. Yes I was the idiot who made the unbelievably stupid mistake but there should be a way to fit in a same day passport in emergencies like this. Especially considering you pay enough extra money for a same day passport to fund the extra man power it would require.

For a while I contemplated joining my friends six days later but I decided the extra flight money and shorter vacation time made it not really worthwhile. Since I was very disappointed once I made this decision I tried to be more Zen and realize everything happens for a reason. For some reason I was not meant to go to Europe at this time. (I know the reason…I was stupid). We tried to make light of it and decided it was the butterfly effect at play. Somehow by me not going to Europe over 100,000 lives were saved! I have no clue how but it kinda put the missed trip in perspective and made me laugh.

Once I made the decision to bail on my Europe trip I decided to still take a week off from work for a staycation. I felt bad that I let my two vacation friends down and that I wouldn’t get the change of scenery but this seemed like a decent back up plan. Especially since I live in Orlando which is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

Since I was on vacation, even if I was still in town, I changed up my normal routine. I spent my week off zip lining, orienteering, snorkeling, kite boarding, reading, movies, water parks and mountain biking. So it wasn’t all bad but was probably the most expensive staycation ever since I still had to pay for much of my Europe trip.

Every time I find something I prepared for the trip I get a little reminder of my big mishap. After yoga I used the special conditioner I purchased for the trip since I didn’t want to bring a full size bottle. Thankfully this wasn’t very good conditioner so I joked it’s a good thing I didn’t go or my hair would have looked bad and it would have ruined the whole trip. Then while skating I played music on my phone and had yet another reminder as I had uploaded tons of extra music to enjoy while on vacation.

After this fiasco I was debating if I wanted to keep traveling in the future. I love the adventure but it’s so costly, time consuming and stressful to plan a trip. Plus I get motion sickness which takes away some of the fun and limits what I can do. As I was contemplating this information, a friend asked me to go on a skate trip to Thailand. Instantly I was happy and excited and looking forward to this new adventure opportunity. I realized I would not stop traveling but will be more careful in the future.

I had a lot of support along the way from friends just wishing me well to friends providing valuable information and especially driving me to Miami. Thanks to all of you! I truly feel blessed for my friendships and I won’t let a little thing (ok not so little thing) like missing Europe get me down for long.

Cat “10 More Years” Cathy

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Road Rash

As I recently blogged about, I received some major road rash from my urban crit mountain bike race. With all my aggressive sports and hobbies not to mention my clumsiness I’ve been bruised and beat up many times before. Normally I just put some peroxide on the wounds for a few days and maybe some polysporin when I remember and pretty much let it scab up and then pick at the annoying scab until it’s gone and I have a pretty red scar. But this time was worse than usual so I did what I often do these days…I Googled. Yep, I wanted to know what the best way was to treat road rash as I never gave it much thought before.

The top Google hits referred to not letting the wound dry out and scab up. That scabbing prevents oxygen transfer and healing and that you should keep it moist with some sort of antibacterial cream and a bandage. So I decided my injuries would make a good science experiment and off I went to the pharmacy.

I wasn’t totally sure what to get so I ended up with a pretty full table of bandages, gauzes, wet dressings, tape and other miscellaneous interesting looking items. I had so much stuff I started telling my visitors ‘welcome to Pharmacy Island’.

This anti scab method was definitely more expensive than my normal ‘ignore it’ method. Some of that was due to my learning curve as I purchased several items that weren’t necessary. I also just never realized just how expensive first aid supplies are. Thankfully I saved some money when my $75 worth of wet dressings wouldn’t ring up at the register and I was only charged $3 thanks to a disgruntled CVS employee. Even with this windfall I still spent over $150 on supplies for my little science project experiment.

This anti scab method was also more time consuming and annoying. I dressed the wounds about twice a day but it seemed like I was always cleaning and changing bandages or worrying about the bandages staying in place

Another negative to this new anti scab method was the allergic reaction I had to the tape I used to wrap my bandages. I ended up with red swollen and itchy tape marks all around my leg that stayed around for over two weeks. Even now, over two months later, I can still tell where I placed the tape since the rest of my leg has tanned but the formerly taped allergic area is still white.

On the plus side the wounds were not painful and I didn’t have any annoying scabs that would itch and get picked at. Also it did seem to heal quicker since after two weeks of bandages I took them off for the last time and only had light pink skin. The light pink skin made it seem like I would have minimal scarring but after a few adventures in the sun they are now a much darker brown than the rest of my skin. So I’m dark brown where I had road rash, white where my tape had been and just in between tan everywhere else. It’s a very unique and interesting look that’s sure to be all the rage someday.

I don’t have a definitive answer as to which method is better but I would definitely try the anti scab method again especially now that I know what bandages to use and what to do. Here’s hoping you never need to try this for yourself and happy healing if you do.

Cat “Calico” Cathy