Tuesday, December 29, 2009

an Amtrak misadventure

Apparently we had not shaken the flu when we boarded the Amtrack Zephyr from Emeryville, California to Denver, Colorado.
While the train snaked its way around the bay and headed into the foothills about
an hour away from Emeryville,
Jack had the nerve to say, "I'm ready to get off now."
This did not bode well for the coming 31 hours of train travel.
I won't go into the entire 32 hour journey of a lifetime but let's just
say the flu went on to strike Scott down with a fever and chills,
keeping him seat bound and Addie and Will continued to spike fevers
throughout the trip.
At one point when Scott was rendered incapacitated by aches and pains,
in all of my grace and understanding, I may have asked him,
"So your off duty now?" staring with no compassion whatsoever
into his fever bright eyes.
Obviously, I am no angel of mercy.
At my accusation, he rallied to take the boys to the cafe car to
play a game of Chutes and Ladders.
I passed out shot glasses of Advil like it was lemonade.
Early Christmas morning, say around 3, the train food started to disagree with Jack,
and I awoke to a gagging sound.
I was immediately alert as Jack and I made our way down to the airplane
sized bathrooms where Jack was sick. Yep. Merry Christmas.
This continued on through the wee morning hours,
with Scott and I trying to catch snippets of sleep in our semi-reclining train seats in between upchucking episodes.
The highlight was when Jack didn't make it to the bathroom, losing it
in front of a luggage rack with Addison standing at the top of the small stairwell
sobbing since he wet through his pull-up onto his seat mid-sleep.
He was distraught that I was leaving to tend to nauseous Jack before changing him.
Scott took over clean-up and while I changed Addison and tried to keep him from waking our traveling neighbors.
(Shout out to Scott! You are the best barf cleaner upper ever!)
I believe it was when Jack spilled his gatorade all over his travel blanket that
my true colors came out and I remarked,
"This is the worst Christmas ever." I am a harbinger of joy in tough situations.
Needless to say, a bit of the Christmas magic was lost in the midst of sickness but
St. Nick still found his way to the stockings tucked into the train seats and red wrapped presents peeked out from underneath foot rests.
The opening of gifts and the joy that settled onto fevered faces restored a little of the Advent spirit as we wound our way through a snow covered country.
Life was never so joyous as the moment we pulled into to Denver station,
loaded our 13 bags (I'm not kidding) into the van and headed to my parents house.
We were welcomed by Christmas lights and snow topped trees and hot tea and sandwiches and warm beds and love.
Praise the sweet Lord. Christmas had finally arrived.
We are putting the train behind us.....
At least until next Sunday when we have to ride it back to California.
Start the prayers now.

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Andrea said...

OH MY...I am sooooo sorry! I can not even imagine how stressful it must have been with everyone sick and no help. I would have likely been lots more cranky than you! GOD BLESS YOU, Sweetie. I pray your train ride home is uneventful and easy.
Blessings, andrea

ashleypmo said...

When the chaos has pushed me to my limits, and I am convinced that our sweet Lord has saved the most ridiculous of adventures solely for me, I will reflect on this post and remember that on the other side of this great nation lives a soul sistah whom I have never met, but who is doubtless having the same feeling....

Praying for a magical, barf-free return trip!

dawn said...

ohmyword. I am so sorry to hear about that horrific trip. Glad you made it safely and hopefully enjoy the visit with no more incidents. I hope the train ride back is completely F.U.N.

Bonnie said...

This story goes way beyond the one I always tell of landing in SFO with two children throwing up on our laps....I officially pass the "that poor family" baton on to you and will start diligently praying for your return trip!

Summer said...

You have GOT to be kidding me, Sue! That is unbelievable. Aren't you so glad you are writing books now, so there can be some redeeming quality to these stories? That is one for the ages, girl!

Meg said...

I can't believe you took a 32 hour train ride with 3 little boys. Wow. I must say, I am about as compassionate as you are when my hubby is sick. Poor guys.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Bless. Your. Heart.

And I'm not even Southern. But there is nothing else to say that adequately conveys my sympathy.

I pray the train ride home will be equally fun as the ride out was dismal.

Anonymous said...


Girly Muse said...

Lord have sweet mercy on you.

Oh my.

I'm speechless. :)

So sorry.

This will be part of your family's Christmas lore for the rest of your life.

Praying for Sunday! Eek.

deezmath said...

Oh, Aughtmons! Rallying as always with wit and matter of fact-ness, being strenghtened even more so in the midst of your trials. I noted Scott's quick status update and cringed...waiting for your more indepth rendition of it all.

I SOOO admire you, Sue! (And Scott, too, of course). I think I would've gotten off the train halfway there, called my mommy and said...you wanna see us, come and get us. :-\ Thanks so much for your transparent honesty..."off duty now" is SO something I can hear my voice saying. I will definitly be praying for y'all's trip back home. Not as romantic as I imagined it to be...maybe I'll start mine off w/ a simple 3 hour tour from Sac to SF. heh heh.

Soak up that family time and let it replenish your soul and cause you to forget the pain of it all...kinda like childbirth...and relish the joy of where you are. xoxox

Pamela said...

Oh honey, I just want to hug you. :) so glad you are with family now...this will make for wonderful Christmas memories someday... Happy New Year, Sue & co!

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Sheesh, girl. This is some story! I'm surprised they kept the train running...during the beginning of the Swine Flu epidemic, someone barfed all over the very front of the plane right before take off, and they wouldn't let us leave! We waited over an hour while they removed carpet, seats, etc. to clean it all. They said they almost moved us to another plane. As sore as my rear was, I wish they would have.

I'm sorry you had such a trip, but yay! that you finally found Christmas. And family. And love.

And a bed.

Kara said...

Sue!!! That is SO horrible. I was laughing and feeling compassion for you all at the same time - envisioning all the chaos. We had major sickness drama at our house through the holidays with both kids too, but you unfortunately may have made me feel a little better about ours. Why do we always have to have illness at Christmas?? It stinks! Hope the whole clan is better and that you are enjoying your time in Colorado. I know you are!

eternity driven said...

this is the saddest story I've read in a long time!! Oh, I am truly sorry. I am praying that you guys are resting up, getting 100% healthy and that your trip home is fun, safe and memorable.....in a good way!