Friday, October 12, 2012

Shot@Life Uganda Trip Blog: October 12

Now, I’ve really gone a little nutty. While I was out buying a bunch of tiny bottles of hand sanitizer and travel Pepto Bismol tablets for the trip (as advised by the UN Foundation and by my world traveling work colleagues), I made an impulse purchase of a “Buff” brand head-thingy that can be worn 12 ways. Mostly it’s an overpriced headband, but it can also be a neck gator or cover my mouth in a dust storm or – if unexpectedly waylaid in a Muslim country – completely cover my hair. In balaclava-mode, I could even have only my eyes showing. Or, I can be a pirate for Halloween, which makes it totally worth the purchase right there.

I truly feel that the UN foundation is going to take care of us, but I’d also like to have fashionable headwear that can get me out of a jam. Really, it's time for our conference call today to tell us what we really need, so I stop inventing things in my head.

It’s worth noting that I’m also typing this at the Original Pancake House. If anything bad happens, I want the knowledge that I’ve had a really excellent breakfast with bacon behind me. I haven’t had real bacon from an actual pig in a long time. Bacon is not found in our house normally and even if it were, it wouldn’t be as good as this bacon. Have I used that word enough in this paragraph? No? I like bacon.

Shot@Life Uganda Trip Blog: October 11


My tummy doesn’t feel good. Could it just be anxiety, worry, or nervousness that the tickets to Uganda have been bought? Or the whole package of gummi bears I ate tonight? Or both? I can’t sleep.

It was the worry.  I know because my 7 yr old sleepwalked into the bathroom and peed all over the floor. It was a distraction to clean her up and care for her. No more tummy ache. Gee, thanks, sweetheart!

Got all my shots now. Typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis A, polio, tetanus, influenza…even meningitis even though that one was optional. I called my mom from the travel medicine office because I wasn’t sure if I’d received the vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella when I was a child. She laughed and replied that I’d been vaccinated TWICE for that one. Apparently, back in the old days before folks were very vigilant about parental permissions, my babysitter walked me across the street while my mom was at work to a free public offering of vaccinations for children and just got me loaded up without asking my mom. Being a nurse and very health minded, mom immediately called up our pediatrician just to make sure there would be no side effects of a double dose. Assured that there wasn’t, it just became a funny family story. I can’t imagine that happening now in the U.S. I believe in measles vaccinations, but man… I’d be livid if a babysitter did anything like that with my kids without asking! Anyway, a lot can happen on this trip, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be getting measles!

Shot@Life Uganda Trip Blog: October 10


A strange part of this Uganda trip planning is that I’m simultaneously planning a trip to Disney World for February and the juxtaposition of the two very different trips is giving me planning whiplash. My family is going to Disney World for the Disney Princess ½ marathon so my girls and I can run races and raise money for Shot@Life – the same organization taking me to Africa.

While I arrange to load myself up with vaccines for yellow fever and whatnot, I’m also keeping my eye on our advance dining reservations in the Magic Kingdom. One email tells me how I’ll have a layover in Rwanda while another is advising my family how to use the monorail to see me at the finish line at EPCOT Center.

The excess and waste we’ll be seeing in Florida contrasts sharply with what we’ll be seeing in rural areas outside of Kampala. I don’t feel guilty exactly – it’s a fundraiser after all – but it’s odd for sure.

Shot@Life Uganda Trip Blog: October 8


Sitting in a restaurant and doodling on a kids menu seems boring to me tonight. The whole scene just seems played out and boring. Sights and sounds of Glenview, IL are so mundane to me now after raising my kids and traveling up and down the same stretch of Waukegan Road for kids’ activities, restaurants, dry cleaners, and playgrounds for years.

What will this be like when I come back from Uganda? Will I be appalled at the excess? Will I be relieved to be back in the familiar? Will absence make the heart fonder? Will I come back anxious to find some way to go back to Africa?

Shot@Life Uganda Trip Blog: October 5


...waiting, waiting, waiting...

This is the day I’m supposed to confirm if I can go on the trip or not and I’m so curious to know who my travelling buddies will be. Patience is hard. Probably why it’s a virtue.

I want to be doing something. If this were a trip to Disney, I know exactly what I’d be doing: making advance dining reservations, buying airline tickets, putting in hotel room requests, etc. This is out of my hands and out of my league.

So, I’ll do some boring things instead. I’ve found a PPO provider travel medicine clinic to get my immunizations…can’t go on a vaccine observation trip without some shots! What’s the opposite of irony? “Highly appropriate?”

Really this whole thing will not seem real to me until they tell me the plane tickets are bought. The surreal nature of it is hard to shake. If it had been any other week this month or this fall really, I would not have been able to go. My husband works hard and we have no family here. But this happens to fall during a time when he was going to take a few days off to be with the girls anyway. It feels very, very right even though it is very, very scary! Scary in a good way.

A friend and mentor of mine – Ken Patterson, RESULTS global grassroots manager – has said, “When you get that cold feeling in the middle of your stomach and your not sure you can do it, you’re doing the right thing.” Guess I must be doing the right thing, K!