Wild Wild West: Last Leg of the Trip

Wild Wild West: Last Leg of the Trip

Our tour of Yellowstone National Park ended with us in Driggs, Idaho.

And it was there that we noticed that Brenna’s skin didn’t look like its typical self.

Her skin had developed some red spots on her belly and back that looked almost like a rash. We touched base with her dermatologist and we all speculated what it might be… heat rash from the car seat? an infection? irritation from the hotel towels or something else she had come in contact with?

But by morning, it looked worse and was spreading to her arms and legs, so after a series of calls and some coordination, we picked up a prescription in Colorado as we headed to our next destination. And then when Brenna started running a fever that night of 102.4, we were so grateful to be able to start her on medicine.

Fevers apparently were a common theme on this year’s family vacation.

Thankfully, we were at a beautiful condo in Colorado (thanks to some very generous and thoughtful blog readers!) for two days, and we used that time to rest and recuperate. Brenna responded to the medicine right away and after just a couple of  doses, her fever was gone and her skin was almost back to normal.

This was the gorgeous view from our deck in Grand Lake, Colorado… it was a nice way to wake up!

We had a lazy morning, and Brenna slept all morning, so when she woke up, she was ready to party. We drove to a ski resort in Winter Park to have lunch and ride the ski lift up the mountain. The kids were thrilled by the whole experience.

Evan and Connor on the lift

And that evening, we had company for dinner! A wonderful family who we met at the FIRST conference a couple of weeks before drove from their home in Denver to have dinner with us. Our kids are almost the exact same ages, and their second son Ethan has lamellar ichthyosis. The kids all became fast friends, and we were so glad to get to visit with them and get to know them better!

Brenna says “no thank you” to posing with the boys 🙂

As we then said goodbye to Colorado, we realized we were all getting a little tired of traveling at this point. Between both kids being sick, and therefore both parents getting very little sleep, and traveling in a van most days, we began dreaming of our own beds. But we still had 4 days to go, according to our itinerary.

So we looked at the map, rearranged some hotels and scheduled ourselves to arrive back home on Friday evening instead of Saturday afternoon. Instead of hitting Wichita, Kansas, we stuck to the upper portion of the state…which worked out well because we got to go to the Salina, Kansas zoo…

AND another family we met at the FIRST conference lives in Kansas, so we were able to meet up with Cora, who has a beautiful 11-year-old daughter with ichthyosis, for lunch as we went through! I told Evan after the conference that it feels like now we have friends all over the country… and that was proven true as we got together with 2 different families on our trip 🙂

Our last day took us to Missouri, to visit our friends on July 4th. The kids had slept well the night before, and we were all in good moods to celebrate the holiday and then arrive home that evening.

As we had planned our long journey west, we had laughed about how we were crazy to be going on this trip following another trip to Indianapolis and right in the middle of moving, and we had laughed about how we weren’t going to get any sleep…and we were right.

But I’m so glad we did it.

Driving 50 hours in a van with two little ones over 9 days doesn’t sound like much fun, but it was fine. They got used to the driving quickly. We stopped along interstates to go potty, and we unloaded some luggage in the trunk at rest stops and gas stations so we could lay Brenna out to apply her Aquaphor …but again, it was fine.

As I spoke with our dermatologist the morning Brenna got sick, he told me he was so glad we were traveling, and that even though we were encountering some health issues and some stress, that we were learning how to travel with a rare skin disease. And we’ll be much better prepared for future trips and Brenna will be more prepared to travel on her own as she becomes an adult.

So while it was stressful, tiring, and even frightening at times, it was also exciting, adventurous and just plain fun.

There will definitely be a next time!