Seven years ago, I woke up on the last Saturday of winter break with a bad back ache. It was early in the morning and I couldn’t remember what I had done to cause me this amount of pain. A little later, I woke up my wife to look for a heating pad. It wasn’t getting any better and she offered to take me to the emergency room. I wasn’t going to the emergency room only to remember that I had moved something heavy and was paying the consequences for it now. We decided to wait until the minor med opened a few hours later.
We were waiting for the minor med to open. After a quick check up, I found out I had kidney stones. A few days later, I had the first of 6 procedures to remove my kidney stone. This began what was my worst six weeks of work of my career. I was basically absent from winter break to spring break. I didn’t miss as many days as you would think. Through a combination of snow days, a holiday, half days and a field trip, I managed to only miss about half the days.
I had every excuse I needed to not go on the field trip. First I had a stent from all of my procedures. This made me extremely uncomfortable unless I was laying flat or standing straight up. Second I was taking pain medication. I was suppose to drive but for the first 2 reasons I was unable to drive. Finally I was always recovering from the previous week procedures.
Even with all of these factors I had to go on the field trip. This was a trip to attend the Student Television National Conference. One of my students was picked to be a presenter at the closing ceremony. I also did not realize my kidney stone would last that long and hoped it would be over with before the conference.
I don’t know why my doctor agreed, but he gave me a week off to recover. He put me on different prescription so I could drive. He also gave me his phone number so that he could help me remove my stent if I had trouble. That would have never of happened because I could only imagine the cleaning lady finding me passed out on the floor.
So we packed two cars and we drove to Orlando for the conference. On the way, we took a side trip to visit Full Sail for a tour and took a picture with this cow. I don’t remember much about the conference. Luckily there was another chaperone who helped me out with the students so I spent a lot of trip in my room. I know we attended a professional training on how to edit and competed in a contest.
The trip home was miserable. We left in plenty of time to get home before dark and stopped a huge McDonalds.
When we were about a 100 miles from home. I had a flat, but I was in no condition to change it. So my students put on the spare. If this had been just me, I would have finished the trip on the spare. Since I had students I had to make a stop to see about getting a new tire. The tire center at the Walmart was closed. Luckily one of the workers was still there. The manager took pity on us and changed the tire. After purchasing a new tire, 5 hour energy drinks, glow sticks and having impromptu dance party, we made it home after midnight.
Despite all the problems getting there and back, I consider the trip a success. The next year I took a larger group to California which included many of the same students. With the knowledge they gained at the conference my media program really took off the next year. The students from that trip provided the leadership for the program for the next 3 years. Everyone on that trip has studied or continued in media in some way. I don’t know that I would take a trip under these circumstances again, but I am glad we all had the experience.