I spent the last six days in New Orleans — a place near and dear to my heart, where I spent my junior year of college and six months post-college – on a business trip. The trip was supposed to be a little more than three days, 75-78 hours tops.
But because of bad New York City-area weather, my flight home was cancelled. And while some of the convention attendees from the New York area were able to reschedule their flights to Thursday, I was busy at New Orleans Urgent Care getting seen for barotrauma — a middle ear infection that feels like your ear is clogged with water — so I didn’t get to reschedule until late in the day. To top it all off, I had to pump and dump all my precious milk after I started taking Fluticasone Propionate nasal spray and Sudafed.
I should have known that something about New Orleans that would equate to things going wrong. When I left there in 1999, I was still reeling from three separate injuries, including two emergency room visits. It felt like the city was sending me a signal: You don’t belong here, sweetheart. Go back to D.C.
Still, the fact that so many things were out of my control — the weather, my earache, my precious milk now wasted — really dampened my big easy spirits (you like that pun?! Haha!). It made me depressed, a little angry, and really freaked out. Would my hearing ever return to normal? Will my milk supply dry up? When will I get home to my baby?
I said a few prayers to the universe, called some friends, and tried to make the most of the situation. I enjoyed dinners. I did my best possible job as an on-site reporter, and I tried to really enjoy the street music.
It all ended up working out — almost. My ear finally popped on Thursday night, and my infection seems to be subsiding (there is no longer a seriously clogged feeling). I got home safe and sound to my family. I’m still pumping and dumping, though, and my supply seems to be dwindling fast.
So often in life things are out of our control, whether it’s weather or physical health. There is only so much I can do. While I can try to reschedule a flight or visit a doctor, or pump as much milk as I can at regular intervals so I can hang onto my milk supply and not dry out, I can’t control the rest. I have very little control over other things, such as how well my baby sleeps, whether or not my favorite guitar student will continue to love playing, or whether a piece of journalism I write will win an award.
Yet often I still stress out when things go wrong.
For future reference, I’d like to remember that things go right as often as they go wrong. For every bit of unhappiness or bad news, there seems to be a balance of good news and unexpected great things. My baby son and husband are examples. I had given up on trying to meet a great guy and have a family when along came Zack. And, after being told I’d struggle to conceive and had a 2-3% chance of getting pregnant, along comes baby Nathan.
I hope to read and reread this entry as a reminder to always have hope that things usually work out. Not always, but usually. Just as there are many days filled with unpleasant surprises, there are days of pleasant surprises too.