Adventures in Travel: Things Don’t Go As Planned

Two days ago, we dropped off our daughter for two weeks at Girl Scout camp and got on a bus to Chicago. At which point in the bus station, I have a pretty significant marital spat with my husband which almost involves me telling him to stay behind in St. Louis because I’m pretty mad.
But after the first three hours of the journey and not talking, we manage to make up enough to decide to try to have a good time. We check into our pretty cool hotel downtown and have dinner and a swim. We had all day the next day to spend in downtown Chicago. After breakfast, we head for Navy Pier and almost make it to the walkway when I wipe out on the sidewalk, turning and dislocating my ankle.
I didn’t notice for about ten minutes that my phone had flown out of my pocket. I crawled out of the hot sun around the corner to the shady area where I felt so sick, I lay on the sidewalk and just cried. When I noticed my phone was missing, John went around the corner to look for it and it was gone.
I immediately started cussing out the imaginary “piece of shit” who stole my phone. Now I had to go to Urgent care and the phone store! I managed to limp back to the hotel lobby and put my foot up on the couch. John got me some ice and brought me my iPad so I could activate “find my iPhone”
We noticed it had been carried across the street to the Ohio St beach area and there it was. I cussed out the thief some more. Then I said, hey, John, send a text that says “Return this phone to W hotel for a reward” and see if they bring it back.
I then shut down the phone and put it in Lost Mode with John’s number on it. John went to Walgreens to get me some ankle wrap and I sat on the couch icing my ankle. He returned with my phone. Apparently a nice family had found it and intended to turn it into the phone store but went to the beach first. As soon as they saw the Lost Phone message, they called John and he met them at the entrance to the tunnel. He offered them a reward but they refused to take it.
First lesson of the day: jumping to the worst conclusions about who had my phone. I wonder why we always go to the worst scenario. I was pretty grateful for the return of the phone. I thought about the phones I return to my Uber passengers and am grateful that I seemed to have gotten some good phone karma. But it bothered me that instead of being hopeful about who had the phone, I had been hateful and angry. I had been all “what a piece of shit” to steal my phone”
My next stop was getting an uber to Urgent Care. Fortunately, my ankle is not broken but I did do significant soft tissue damage given the dislocation. They gave me a gel cast and crutches.
The doctor told me to stay off it and rest it up.
Me: does not tell her I am going to London.
I thought of my mom going to London with a broken arm about eight years ago. I had gone to New York with her for four days to help her get through the first part of her trip and then put her on a plane to London. She never once thought about canceling her trip. Neither did I, frankly.
We took an Uber to the Blue Line and John helped me down the stairs with my luggage and said goodbye. I sent the crutches back to St. Louis with him – I simply couldn’t manage them and my bags. He said “Can’t I just donate them?” I said “No way, we already bought them, and besides, I’m sure I will need them as a theater prop.” Yeah, it’s an illness. So he took them back to St. Louis with him.
When I arrived at the airport, I immediately asked for assistance and they brought me a wheelchair. Part of me was thinking- but I can limp… but the other part of me was like- don’t act like that, you aren’t taking a wheelchair away from anyone, there is enough for everyone, you are legitimately in need of assistance. It’s hard because I want to be the one helping someone else but sometimes I need help, too.
And my second lesson in humility was having mobility issues and realizing what goes with it. You have to have a lot of patience because you’re relying on other people to do things for you.
So, yes, you do get to board the plane first, but that evens out because you are pretty much the last one to get off, and after that, you have to wait for a chair. There were 33 wheelchairs on that plane. So, pretty much no one was letting mobility issues stop them from going to London.
I can still walk, albeit very slowly. I managed to get on the underground and get to my flat okay. Fortunately the Underground station is very close to my flat and I didn’t have to change stations. I hope that my ankle gets to feeling better, I am going to try not to do to much. I was mourning not getting my 20.000 steps of exercise in from walking through the airport but I am grateful to all the staff who helped me.
And I suppose I am also grateful to be overcoming obstacles. Things don’t go as planned. You have to overcome things, or get through them. I try to be positive about it. I did have a wash of depression as I had to manage the fact that we had a lousy day because I fell and I never made it to the beach and we didn’t walk around Chicago at all. And we wasted time fighting.
I have a lot to be grateful for. The plane landed and it was an absolutely gorgeous warm, sunny beautiful day in London. Seventy three degrees. A rarity in the land of rain. A family that cared enough to return a lost phone. A husband who went out of his way to take care of me when I was injured. A flat in London to rest my bones in. So, I’m sore, but I’m here and I am making the best of it when things don’t go as planned.

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