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Best laid plans, the possible removal of Uruguay and the most important thing

I had the best intentions.  I was researching the food in Argentina and had already picked out a perfect little Argentinian place in Brooklyn to try a sample of this country and share my findings with you. I thought to myself, as soon as I returned from my travels, I would be on top of it.

Alas, now it’s been a long time since my last post.  A really long time.  There are a few reasons for this, some good, some bad.  April was a hectic month for me but in the best possible way.  Traveling around, visiting some of my favorite places and seeing some of my favorite people.   As good as April was though, May came and proved to be it’s evil twin opposite.

About 4 weeks ago, I was at work during an overnight shift at my nursing job.  A typical night, like any other except when I went to do one of the things that I always do while I’m at work, I felt a pull in my lower back.  Now, I have felt back pulls before.  If any of you work in health care, especially direct patient care, I am sure you have felt a pull too.  But this was different.  It very quickly became intense pain.  Pain like I never felt before.  Pain that caused me to drive home in a fit of tears because it hurt so bad.  Pain that stopped me dead in my tracks.  Literally.  When I came home and collapsed on the couch, (after crawling up my stairs) I found that when I tried to get up again, I couldn’t.  Motrin couldn’t touch it.   I tried to stand up only to find that my stand had become a hunch with occasional (more often than not) crawling.  I literally couldn’t pick up my feet, only shuffle them.  I was so scared that I went to the hospital.   I thought I did permanent nerve damage.

I didn’t, thankfully.  Now 4 weeks later, I can stand up straight, I can pick up my feet again and walk pretty normally, although not nearly at the fast pace I used to keep.  But at least I can walk on my own now.  I ditched the cane I had to use for over 2 weeks (thankfully).  I am too young to look like granny.  I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for over a month and I will return to work (finally) tomorrow, after over a month of being out.  Being forced to lay down and rest was a new torture I didn’t know.  I couldn’t even cook a simple meal for myself or navigate the stairs to get out of my apartment.  Getting to the bathroom was the biggest triumph in those days.  It feels so good to be so far from that now.  There is still that daily reminder, the twinge when I turn a certain way or move too quickly.  It’s a good reminder for me.  I need to slow down.  Learn to take it easy a bit.  Stop always being in a rush.

So we had to make some changes to our trip too.  Being out of work for over 4 weeks, ruined my savings budget a bit. I tried not to get too depressed about money and just laying around the house.  Laurent has been very supportive and only wants the best for my back and health, so even though it took him  forever to figure out our plan, we got back to it.  Best laid plans, changing already even though we haven’t even left yet!

I figured out financially that we would have to leave at least 2 weeks later than planned, which will push our leave date to October 3.   According to me, this little mishap wouldn’t screw up much.  After all, it’s only 2 weeks that we have to eliminate out of 2 entire years!  But according to Laurent, it changes everything.  Just when I was feeling so much love for Uruguay, he proposed to simply eliminate this country and go straight to Argentina (since we only planned to spend about 2 weeks in Uruguay).

Eliminate Uruguay!  I don’t understand!  We have two friggin years!  But the biggest problem is that we need to be on that damn sailboat (more on that later) at the end of December (the 28th, to be exact).  And there is a lot of ground to cover by then.  And we need to go in a somewhat circular fashion, zig zagging is an expensive route.   The more I thought about it, the more I (painfully, yet again) realized that he was right.  But I wanted a compromise.  So I get one week in Uruguay and we have to ‘shave’ a week off of Argentina.

Okay, so about the sailboat.  Yes, I agreed to it.  I know, I know….maybe not the smartest and definitely not the most comfortable decision!   Right now we are awaiting a response to see if the boat will accept us (i.e. it will become our future coffin) and then once ‘they’ accept us,  we have to hand over an incredibly large sum of money in order to be put through this torture.  They should be paying us!!! Firstly, I really hope I don’t die.  Secondly, if I don’t die,  I hope I am not too sick to take some photos to remember how near to death I was.  The reason I agreed to go to Antarctica via this route was very simple.  I would have regretted it.  In some way, I agree with Laurent.  We do have to earn Antarctica and if we can pull this off and live through it, I will treasure that experience to take to my real grave.

And finally, I really hope this trip can go on at all!  It seems that the closer I get to it, the further it slips away from me.  I am going to be really, really careful from now on. I am truly my backs bitch.  Especially at work, where it is very easy for me to return to that crippling pain.  This trip is everything for me right now.  It’s my entire future and all of my dreams.  We all are so guilty of getting caught up in our daily lives, in the mundane details.  It’s only when something bad happens to us, that we reflect and resolve a positive change.  This shouldn’t be.

I hope that I will never forget the pain I had or the scary feeling of not being able to walk.   And the worst part is that it probably could have been even worse!!   It’s so freaking cliche to say that your health is the most important thing.  Above your kids, your job, your spouse, your passions.  But it truly is.  And it’s something we all abuse and take for granted until that ‘something’ bad happens.   I shared with you my story and all it’s (dramatic, I know) details not so you could have a big pity party for me but also to examine your own lives and maybe slow down a bit more.  And try every day to have gratitude for a healthy body.   Don’t wait til you can’t walk or have a fatal disease.

You have to take the good out of every situation and in this case, I am hoping every day to remind myself of the most important thing.  And you should too.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Heema Gangadia #

    the bloody sailboat!! you poor thing though Jo, I had no idea your back was so bad. Im so glad you’re better, and dont worry about all the challenges youre facing before your tip – things worth having dont come easy x x p.s. i think a week in Uruguay will be enough! 1 day in Montevideo was enough for us!

    June 22, 2012
  2. Chantz!!! #

    I agree Joanna! I didn’t go into work again yesterday:)

    June 22, 2012
  3. rdeer #

    Sorry to hear about your troubles, dearest. I am so happy you are mostly healed. As you have reminded me in this post, it is really vital that we all look at the bright side of a bad situation – as much as humanly possible, anyway. Like you, I have to be mindful of the fact that I can walk, talk, think, hear, see, etc…because I DO get so caught up in the daily grind. You continue to be an inspiration to me.

    June 22, 2012

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