The Happy Birthday That Wasn’t So Happy

I’ve been pretty upfront that 2011 hasn’t exactly been the swellest of years but things took a turn for the worse last week. My birthday was yesterday but it was Ward Conference at church, which meant Jamie would be in meetings all day. His sister generously offered to make me a birthday dinner that night (YUM) but Jamie and I decided to celebrate on Friday while she watched the kids.

We planned to go to dinner but at the very last minute, I had a freak-out moment (not unusual in my world). My knee surgery is scheduled for Wednesday and I announced we HAD to go hiking just in case it was my last opportunity to ever do so again (overexaggeration is not unusual either). Obligingly, Jamie and I set out on a relatively steep climb and he stopped after just a few minutes.

“I can’t go on,” he said.

It was then that he revealed he’s been having heart problems. The first episode was in Crested Butte a few weeks ago and then again while he was racing around the house with Bode. This was his fourth heart “attack” in three weeks.

And yes, I freaked out. For those familiar with Jamie’s health history, he has an extensive one, including heart surgery for an arrhythmia a few years ago. This time, however, was different. He did not have the rapid heart rate but rather, a burning in his chest.

He is going to the doctor tomorrow morning and now my knee surgery may be on hold because we can’t afford to do both. Actually, we can’t afford to do either but heart problems trump knee any day.

I’m not sure what is it with birthdays but I’ve been having crummy ones the past few years. First, there was lice. Then, last year I was at the 2010 Olympic Games. This would seem like an amazing birthday and it definitely started out that way. I had breakfast with all my wonderful Microsoft peeps who bid me farewell because I was flying out later that day.

I arrived at the Vancouver airport three hours early, anticipating heavy security and a lot of crowds. There were both. I got in line and was soon asked to stand to the side as they ushered in a large group of people who were running late. I waited an hour before being able to check my luggage in. The process was frustrating but I still had plenty of time when I headed over to security.

I could tell there would be trouble just by looking at the security guard and he gave it to me.

“You cannot take two large carry-on items onto the plane.”

I glared at him but I knew he was right. I spent the next 15 minutes consolidating my items into one carry-on item–a piece of luggage I have traveled with for 10 years. When I had triumphantly crammed everything in, he snidely said, “OK, now go and see if your carry-on fits into that,” and he pointed to the metal outline that checks baggage size.

Because my bag was now bulging at the pockets, it did not fit. “You need to go back and check it in.”

We both knew darn well this particular piece of luggage was approved but the guy just wanted to be a jerk because he could. The prospect of enduring that line again was too much for me and I. Lost. It. Now, let’s keep in mind that I had been living on minimal sleep for 10 days and was a bit out of my gourd but I laid into that guy like I have NEVER laid into anyone before.

I wasn’t proud and it was not pretty.

I slunked back to the line and checked in my carry-on as I blubbered away. I ignored the security guard as I walked through a second time and waited in yet another line to pass through security. By this time, I was very close to missing my flight.

And I, of course, got pulled aside to have my carry-on checked. I begged the woman to please hurry because I was going to miss my flight and do you know what she said?

“Maybe you should have arrived to the airport early.”

And then came freak-out No. 2. How I HAD arrived three hours early. How I was not allowed to check-in for an hour, the security guard who made me recheck my bag and pretty much every grievance I’ve ever had with society since birth.

She let me through.

Sometimes insanity has its advantages.

But evidently in my world, birthdays don’t.

Update: Jamie went to the hospital a day early and was admitted for overnight evaluation. They’re trying to re-trigger the attack for diagnosis.

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