OK, let’s start with the good part first: my family and I embarked on our road trip vacation on Saturday. It got off to a good start; we left a few minutes earlier than I had hoped, the strains of “Holiday Road” propelling us down the highway on our journey.

The drive itself was almost miraculously easy: no bad weather, no construction delays, no mechanical issues. The only negative is how much Steak n Shake now sucks, but that’s another story for another day.

The visit itself went well, too. My three kids, my wife and I all got to visit with my dad, two of my sisters, one of my brothers, and assorted nieces and nephews. Long-standing sublimated resentment notwithstanding, we had a really nice visit. The drive home on Wednesday was as hassle-free as the drive up, and I still had a couple of vacation days left to get some things done.

Then we found out that our washing machine was broken; no big deal, so we have to go to the laundromat for a few days.

Then we found out that my son’s blown engine was going to cost $10,000 to fix; at least that’s what they were asking, I passed.

Then our cat died.

On the day we got home, she was looking a little wobbly, dragging her back paws; we thought she might have fallen while we were gone, but the lady who watched her for us said that nothing unusual had happened.

We took her to the vet who told us that her body was fine; the damage was neurological and getting worse rapidly. By the end of the day, she could no longer see. The vet said there was nothing he could do for her, so we had to put her down.

Then I had to be taken to the emergency room.

I woke up on Friday feeling feverish. As the day went on, it kept getting worse; I took my temperature and it read 103.9. Since I was using one of those cheap drugstore thermometers, I assumed the reading was just wrong. I took a couple of Tylenol, and after a while, the fever subsided.

I was also experiencing some pretty severe chills and dizziness. I probably should have gone to the ER then, but I kept telling myself that the fever would break soon and I would be fine.

When I got dizzy and fell down the stairs early Sunday morning, my wife insisted on calling an ambulance. I didn’t try to get up, I just waited for the ambulance.

Two fine young police officers made it to the house first and asked me if I thought I could walk down the second set of stairs. I pointed out that I was laying prone because I could most certainly NOT negotiate stairs at this point.

They say that if you want to go to the front of the line in an ER, tell them you’re having chest pains. I now know that having a temperature knocking on the door of 104 will get you moved up pretty quickly, too.

Again, I thought they would give me something, and the fever would break and I would be on my way home.

Then they admitted me to the hospital, saying I should be there a “couple of days.”

Well, I stayed almost a week; it turned out that the fever and the dizziness were due to a virulent infection that attacked my kidneys and my bladder; if you were a listener of the show 5 years ago, you will know those are the two most vulnerable body parts I have. I was having flashbacks to that time when I had an infection like this; that time I spent a month in the hospital.

To make a long story longer, through a combination of IVs, horse pills and injections, things were brought under control and I was released on Fri. having been gone from work for two straight weeks.

As my wife said, “We should have just stayed home.”

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.

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