By Joe Rector

This vacation was going to be a good one. Amy and I had looked forward to another trip to Isle of Palms, South Carolina, our favorite vacation destination. We’d even upgraded our accommodations and were staying in a place in Wild Dunes. We left early on Saturday morning to beat the traffic that zooms up and down I-40. Before long, we were on I-26 and looking forward to a week of fun.

Our condo was beautiful. It offered views of the ocean from the living room and the bedroom. Below us was a pool large enough to keep folks from being crowded. A stretch of beach almost 100 hundred yards wide separated us from the ocean. Reaching its edge, we discovered few other vacationers, another plus of staying at that location.

The weather was perfect. The highs reached only into the middle 80’s, and on a couple of nights, the temperatures dipped into the 50s. No brutal heat ran us back inside, and the constant breezes kept us comfortable.

Our plan was to eat at three or four seafood restaurants and to stroll the streets of Charleston. We discovered a water taxi that ferried us from Mt. Pleasant to the shore of the city, and we were only a couple of blocks from the most famous sites.

We struggled to find the pier from which the taxi left, and my insistence to cut across a construction site was ill-advised. Amy’s footing slipped, and she fell on her bottom. Her arm and shin were scraped, bloody, and sore, and we both knew her hip would be covered with black and blue places. Still, my dear wife carried on to make sure the day was a good one.

That day, the third of the week, included a five-hour walk in the old city. We returned home that evening and decided to eat sandwiches instead of dragging our weary bodies out for dinner. Both of us agreed that this vacation was one of the best we’d ever taken, and we were excited about the four days that were left.

At 4:00 a.m. the next morning, our vacation turned sour, along with Amy’s stomach. She felt lousy for a couple of hours before the real pain and nausea set in. We abandoned the beach for a trip to the hospital. Before long, the ER doctor came in and announced that my sweet wife was suffering from acute appendicitis. She received pain medication and was admitted to the hospital. The surgeon came in to tell her that removal of her appendix would be delayed for 5 days until the type of blood thinner she took was out of her system. Antibiotics and pain medication would be administered, and her new diet would consist of liquids only.

We stayed at the hospital until Friday. By then, Amy was no longer in pain nor was she nauseated. We talked with the doctor and told him that we were going home. He agreed that it would be okay. I packed the car and returned to pick up Amy. The six-hour trip was extended by a couple of hours because of traffic-blocking wrecks.

Amy and I arrived at the Park West ER at 11:30 p.m. The surgeon there announced that removing a bad appendix was not an elective surgery and that he would perform the procedure the next morning at 8:00 a.m. By Saturday afternoon, Amy was sore but on the mend.

Our dream vacation turned into a nightmare. We left the beach, ocean, seafood, and Charleston behind for another time. Now, we wait for our part of the bills from two hospitals and two doctors. Vacations will be experienced in our dreams for a while.

The adage that “Man plans, and God smiles” might fit this situation. Before we go on vacation again, I might have my appendix removed, even if it’s not bad.  That’s because it might be, “better to be safe than sorry.”