I was 21 years old and very energetic. David & I camped frequently on our days off of work. This particular trip, we had been camping at Caddo Lake State Park and I returned home covered in mosquito bites. No literally, covered!!! But, it was one of the best camping memories I have. Everything was breathtakingly beautiful!
I have to admit that I can’t find my own photos right now of Caddo, but here are a couple I pulled from a bing search that are licensed for sharing.
Rowing a canoe across from the love of my life, between the cypress trees with the moss stringing overhead was like a scene out of a fairytale. Even viewing these pictures, my heart longs to go back to that trip. My mind can still recall the thick, humid air, the smell of the pines, and the croaks of the frogs as they jumped through the stagnant water from lily pad to lily pad. The tranquility of that place relaxed you to the core.
However, it was time to leave that behind and return to work. The money had to be earned somehow. David & I worked at the same hospital but on different units. He was in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and I was in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. We were young and so working the night shift wasn’t much of an inconvienience to us. In fact, it made working as a nurse more relaxing as you could avoid much of the hustle and bustle of everything going on during the day (patients coming and going to procedures, doctors doing rounds, family visitation, etc.)
As I woke up, took my shower, and pulled on my clothes, I remember thinking something was not right with my eyes. I rubbed them, but everything was still not focused well. I scarfed down my meal, brushed my teeth, and climbed into the seat next to David as he drove us to work. I remember the tight feeling I had in my chest as I realized now what I was seeing. Everything was double. There were two cars in front of us, two buildings we just passed, two people walking beside the road, two trees, two everything… I tried to explain myself to David, and we pretty much settled on the fact that I needed to get my eyes checked for glasses. Convinced I could get through the night, I walked to the assignment board at my unit, glanced down for my name, and broke into tears. I couldn’t read which rooms and patients I had been assigned for the evening. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to work that night. I still feel guilty for leaving my unit short a nurse on that evening. I’m not sure why it didn’t set in earlier that I wasn’t going to be able to complete my normal routine. I guess it was denial.
David was at work to stay for the night, so we made other arrangements. My inlaws came and brought me back home. Once there, I called my parents and asked how they knew they needed glasses and if astigmatism made them see double. Eventually, I called my doctor. He told me that it was probably nothing, but to go to the ER to get checked out. Hey, wasn’t I just at the hospital? Ugh! So, we made the drive back into Dallas.
As soon as I walked through the doors of the ER, I was urgently wheeled away to CT scan. Once as they were appeased that I was not dying of a brain bleed, I was released with orders to follow up with the neurologist the next day.