You Can Plan but Don’t Count on it Going as Planned

I am a planner.  I love to research, plan and execute that plan to fruition.  As a writer I spend a lot of time planning.  I plan my schedule to carve out regular time to write.  I plan and research what I want to write about.  And then once I’m ready to write, I  pray it to be the best possible written word so that my readers not only enjoy the content but gain some usefulness out of it.

I spent the better part of a year planning (along with a great travel agent) a once in a lifetime trip to Alaska with our daughter and her family and family friends.  There was so much to plan for from passports, who was going to watch our dog, Liesl, airport shuttles and hotel reservations on the front and back end to what to pack, and making sure we had all the necessary confirmations and paperwork.

I was prepared.  I made sure everyone was prepared.  I had all the bases covered.  I thought.

Now don’t get me wrong.  The trip was wonderful with time spent catching up with my friends, Donna and Scott and spending time seeing Alaska through our kids and grand-kiddos eyes.  And there was so much Thad and I had forgotten from our first trip to Alaska some 13 years prior.  The beauty of this state cannot be photographed properly and the respect and preservation the people of Alaska work hard to foster and grow reminded us all to appreciate nature’s world around us.

We did not experience the horror stories of traveling that many have shared.  No, we were blessed with a great land tour through Denali which showed us much history, culture and even Mount McKinley!  Yes, we actually got to see it this time!  The cruise was on a beautiful ship with great accommodations, good food, great service and lots of things to do and explore.

But –

Let’s face it, friends, medical mayhem seems to follow me and my family wherever we go.  Why should a fifteen day trip to Alaska be without it?

Five days into our trip I came down with a cold – not Covid – just a good old fashion cold.  But we were headed to the cruise ship and I availed myself of the nice stateroom to nap in the afternoon.  A day later, my grandson, Ryker started with a sore throat.

Then my friend, Donna, after having spent a wonderful day sightseeing in Icy Pt, Alaska, cocktails and dinner began feeling quite ill and passed out and was taken to the ship’s medical center where it was determined that she had either experienced food poisoning or severe dehydration.  Her son and I stayed with her while they administered IV  fluids and then she was released to return to her cabin but told to take it easy the following day.  So while the rest of the crew went  into Juneau, she and I hung out on shipboard and caught up with each other’s lives – something we hadn’t been able to do in a while.

At the last port, Thad and I had gone into Ketchikan, Alaska and was joined by our daughter and her family.  What had started out as having a bit of a chill in the air, quickly warmed up to 80 degrees and so we removed are windbreakers.  Thad tied his around his waist; I put mine in my backpack.  As Thad walked, his wind breaker slipped down around his knees causing him to trip and fall, first on his right knee and then on his right shoulder!  While he was able to walk, his right shoulder was immovable and locked hanging down by his side.  And so we walked back to the ship and was taken to their medical center via wheelchair.

When they saw me in the medical center again, this time with my husband, they looked at me as if I might be some sort of merry widow trying to bump off my travel mates.  Nevertheless, I explained what happened and made sure they knew that Thad sported two shoulder replacements and our concern that the right shoulder appliance might have been affected by the fall.

Waiting for the x-rays I began to see the absurdity of this all and found myself smiling and giggling and shaking my head in disbelief as we waited for the results. I don’t know what got into me!  I don’t know if it was just nerves, exhaustion, or just giving up on the planning and control.  I had the distinct feeling God was giving me more fodder for this blog.

X-rays did not reveal anything, however, they admitted that their equipment wasn’t state of the art and they could do a tele-conference with an orthopedic surgeon in Texas for second opinion.  They also suggested we go into Ketchikan (but might not be able to make it back onto the ship before departure) or once we were in Vancouver (two days later) to go to the hospital there.  We elected for the teleconference and then Thad felt he could limp home to his orthopedic surgeon for follow up care and lick his wounds in private.

While I was on the downside of my cold, cold symptoms morphed to Donna, my daughter, Francesca and Thad.  As if he didn’t have enough on his plate!

The return flights were fine once Thad and I got through customs and TSA.  As usual, we lit up the screen   First they tagged Thad to be given the “special treatment”.  No, not a pass.  For some reason they put his boarding pass in an orange binder.  When I asked what that meant, they said they randomly search passengers.  So here he was walking with a cane, arm in a sling and told to  remove his shoes, belt, and sling and had him remove all his items from his C-Pap and carry on.  Really?  As Thad puts it, the only thing they didn’t do was a cavity search.  With me, I lit up like one of my five Christmas trees.  I told them about my pacemaker, my two hip replacements but unbeknownst to me my wrists, chest, and thighs lit up as well.  But better safe than sorry, right?  God bless my son-in-love who while I was being given “the search”, helped “Humpty Dumpty” – I mean, Thad get put back together again.

So what is my point, friends?  All this long winded story is to say that you can plan for a lot but not for everything. I don’t know if God was trying to stretch me, grow me, or likes to laugh at all my gyrations and planning.  I know He has  a message in this story and I am still reflecting on it.

In the meantime, how did the medical mayhem color my vacation?  Did it mar the trip in any way?  No, rather like Sarah when told she would bear a child at her old age, saw the hilarious absurdity in the mayhem and laughed.  And that laughter helped provide us with the attitude adjustment needed for the strength to carry on.

Sometimes even when you plan, you find yourself being swept along for a ride, sliding down an icy slope on the seat of your pants, half scared, half exhilarated and all you can do is giggle and hoop and holler.  Because in the end – God’s got this so you don’t have to.

“What a Ride!”


Thank you for reading my post.  If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it.  Feel free to even re-blog – may these words take flight!

I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts.  To order a copy or learn more go to my website at

Blessings for Health & Wellness.



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