A holiday, vacation, planned with family turned into a nightmare I'm still trying to fight my way out of. I have just returned from the worst vacation, holiday, I have ever experienced. I know many individuals have had bad vacations, that involved mishaps and or pain, however this holiday was, and still is, a nightmare that I wish I could awaken myself from. Poor health and traumatic events landed me in a hospital emergency room for a dreadful 29 hours upon my return from my recent vacation.
It all started a week prior
My ordeal began about a week before a much planned, highly anticipated, and expensive vacation from the USA to England was to occur. It had been 3 years since we had visited England and 3 years since we had seen our 2 children and 6 beautiful granddaughters! I awoke one morning about a week before my vacation with soreness in a gland in my neck that slowly moved to a pinpoint area on the back left side area of my neck. I have several autoimmune diseases, such as RA, AS, Lichen disease, as well as other ailments, mostly dealing with the spine. When dealing with these illnesses, it isn't unusual for me to have a flare and with a bump up in my steroid medication, add some heat and ice packs and I would carry on as I have done many times before. Only, this time, my strategic plans were to fail me and my family.
The pain in my neck continually got worse and even though I had pain medication, I could not get any relief! I was determined to enjoy this time with my family but my enjoyment was short lived. Health wise, I was miserable, the pain was causing sleepless nights and a 30° drop in temperature with a chilling wind just ripped right through me! The sudden change in climate seemed to intensify the pain in my neck. I went from temperatures of nearly 100 °F with extreme humidity, to cold, rainy, wind blown sea air. I caught a cold with deep congestion, probably from a fellow passenger on the long flight.
My immune system is compromised due to RA and the biologic medications I take for my diseases. Every time I would cough, the pain in my neck would become worse! I tried to hide it and kept struggling on to keep up with kids, ages 13 down to 15 months. Mentally, my mind was whipped. I tried hard to join in the activities that their little energetic bodies were doing but I was becoming withdrawn and found myself trying to hide away and be alone. I purchased a book and engaged myself in it. I had already pushed my body way beyond what I should have. I had walked for miles through rough terrain, climbed stairs, and participated in activities I had never done before. Normally at home, I would have had a day of rest between any strenuous activities such as these. I didn't take any extra rest. I was not even able to rest comfortably enough to rejuvenate my body for the next days activities. As I withdrew myself as much as possible, I felt guilty and felt as if I were an extremely rude houseguest. Being this severely sick in a foreign country with family we haven't seen in years is and was devastating.
If you can believe it, it gets worse
The drama doesn't stop there, my physical health and mental well being continued to decline. Five days before our flight back home and I awoke after a restless night and had lost the use of my left arm. I could no longer properly take care of my own needs. One would think that things couldn't get worse, mentally, emotionally and physically, I was drained and things definitely got worse.
On Saturday before our flight back home on Monday, our Avis Rental car broke down in a desolate area of the Lake District in Cumbria United Kingdom. My husband and I calmly called the # 's provided us on our rental agreement to get assistance. 4 hours later, after talking with many representatives and some calls getting very heated and I'm sure expensive, we were told that NO replacement vehicle could be provided until Monday. AVIS CAR RENTAL LEFT 2 SENIOR CITIZENS, ONE OF WHICH IS TOTALLY DISABLED, STRANDED WITH NO TRANSPORTATION. These actions, or lack of, show me that this company has NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE!
- The rest of my holiday, the last 2 days were totally ruined as if it were not already. We were to travel on Sunday to have lunch with a friend whom we had traveled over 4000 miles to see. This had to be cancelled due to not having any transportation to travel to their home. We then had to scramble to make our own arrangements for transportation to make our hotel reservations for Sunday night and our flight back to the United States on Monday. Expenses were incurred, physical and mental abilities were stretched to the highest level.
- After a 5 hour delay in Atlanta airport for a 27 minute flight, we finally arrived home at 11:00 pm. on Monday evening. At 12 noon the next day, I was admitted to the hospital . Unbelievably, and unfortunately, there were no rooms available in this hospital and I spent 29 hours of hell in the emergency room.
What I'm dealing with now
I am now facing a bone biopsy of a bone in my neck to rule out infection. There is extreme swelling and the MRI does not show the reason. I have a serious history of infection which landed me in emergency surgery in December of 2017 where a mass was removed from my leg as large as a can of vegetables. I am still in pain and still have no use of my left arm, even though I've been on mega doses of steroids for approximately 8 days. I have filed complaints and escalated complaints to Avis rental car company about their lack of customer service and disregard of human life. I have not received a phone call from the rental company, only a couple of scripted unacceptable e mail responses where I have filed a complaint.
This is life with RA, we never know what may lie ahead for us. A wonderful holiday expected but a total nightmare continues!!
Does your RA impact you financially?