Christmas. The time of year, when family come together to celebrate and enjoy a time of being together. I've always adored Christmas. The music starts playing mid November, and all ideas and excitement for Christmas rages through my blood. Or it did.
I'm still waiting for Christmas to happen. Oh, I know Christmas has happened, and for some other lucky people it was everything they wanted it to be. My Christmas was everything but what I wanted it to be.
Despite our best efforts to make it happen, unforeseen circumstances meant that the type of christmas my mum was wanting, didn't happen. She wanted the old-fashioned traditionally family christmas that she has grown so used to as the five of her children grew up, and I wanted to give that to her.
We've all left home now, my youngest brother left just this year, and it was tough on her to put up the decorations to realise that christmas was probably never going to be the same. As it was only two of us made it to her house for Christmas. I didn't make it home. I never grew up in that house, or that area, so I couldn't call it home, but I was there. It would have been nice to see my other brothers, but hey ho. They have lives too.
My mum lives on small island that I'm not overly keen on, off the mainland of the UK. To get there from Chicago, is a challenge but not entirely undo able (obviously). What we didn't factor in was an emergency plane landing, and making a pit stop at the nearest emergency department between flights. Here's a pointer for flying anywhere anytime, just not at christmas - but in particular then. If your husband has hemophilia, it's not a great idea to schedule wisdom teeth removal within a month before flying.
Why? Because, his blood clots might dislodge mid-flight, when you're hovering over a big body of water called The Atlantic Ocean, with more than two hours to go to landing. The dislodged blood clots mean you will sit rolling paper napkins into small wedges as your husband struggles to get his bleeding gums under control while he quite literally looks like a vampire, as he spits mouthfuls of blood into a sick bag every few moments.
If that were to happen to you, the bonuses would be: no queue to land, customs checking you through security without even leaving the plane, and - if you have kids with you - a free tour of the plane that Jo Public doesn't usually see; cabin crew quarters, first class... even the pilots will come say hi, and the kids will get a visit to the cockpit and a photo op with the pilot who just flew through the night to get you home.
Yes. All of that happened, and it sucked - big time. While sat in the Accident and Emergency department of Frimley Park Hospital, I had to decide whether to carry on to my mum's house without my husband. I left him there, and caught our second flight without him, because if we didn't get there then, we weren't getting there for Christmas. Not without a small mortgage to cover Christmas Eve last minute fares. He would be in the good hands of his parents, and the NHS, and I couldn't upset my mum, by taking away the small, precious amount of time my mum had spent so long looking forward to.
Christmas went ahead as planned, minus my husband. He was let out to his parents, several hours after I abandoned him, but his Christmas wouldn't be too fun. I made the best of it for the children, and did my best to hide my upset that he couldn't be with us. They had a good day, opening presents from their Nanna, and being spoiled with cake and yummy food, unlike TH who struggled to eat anything other than porridge, or jelly (jello).
Two more admissions to hospital, and an intolerable amount of stress and hatred toward being stuck helplessly on an island later, TH finally stopped bleeding late on Christmas night. We were worried that the same would happen on the plane back to Chicago - but, we took precautions and carried treatments with us, just in case. Thankfully, he had no more problems, and we landed safely back on New Years Day.
So, Christmas is behind us, even though it feels like it never actually happened, and we have a fresh year to come. The children have returned to school this morning, and I am currently sitting, enjoying the silence, and the first chance I've had to sit and write for a while.
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Filed under: The Expat Experience