One year ago today we flew to China to get Rachel. There are going to be several One Year Ago Today posts in the next few weeks because everyoen at my house is having fun re-living memories of that trip. Well, the memories of September 9th aren't at all fun, but it was an adventure! I'll explain.
Getting to China involved leaving our house at 4:30 AM to drive to the airport, checking in and going through security, killing time for an hour, getting on a small plane and flying for two hours, landing in Chicago and going through security, killing three hours or so, going through security, getting on a big plane and flying for 13 hours, landing in Beijing, going through security one last time, collecting our mounds of luggage, and driving 45 minutes to our hotel. It was a looooong day. Oh, and on top of it all, Katherine was sick.
It was the height of the Swine Flu frenzy and China was quarantining anyone who came in to the country with a fever or flu symptoms. Katherine had a fever, diarrhea, a stomachache, and just didn't feel good. But we had to Plan B for travel, so we got on the plane anyway and hoped for the best. We were pretty certain she did not have H1N1, but she was air sick and in high anxiety mode and probably had some sort of non-flu bug. We spent the overseas flight trying to keep her calm and convince her to sleep and surrupticiously dosing her with Advil and Tylenol every couple of hours. Steve and I didn't sleep because we kept seeing images of Chinese officials in hazmat suits climbing aboard the plane with temperature probes (and that actually happened up until a week or so before we left!). We tried very hard NOT to think about how a week's quarantine would impact our travel and adoption plans. When we had to fill out customs forms, we lied and reported that no one in our party was ill. It was a miserable flight.
As we were descending into Beijing, Katherine gulped down a bunch of water to try and get her ears to pop. It didn't work and she was in pain until we landed. As soon as we got inside the terminal, I took Katherine to the bathroom. On the way out she puked all over the floor. It was just the water she'd guzzled, but still! We were perhaps 30 yards from customs and security, she'd just vomited, and she was still radiating heat from a fever. I cleaned Katherine up and we marched on. In security, Steve set off the alarms, I had to unload my carry-on, and Katherine got pulled to the side to wait. No one seemed to notice that she was flushed, glassy-eyed, and buring up. We were waved on. The last hurdle was a giant temperature scanner. It was mounted about 3 foot off the floor and positioned so that everyone had to walk past it. I took Katherine's hand and we walked through as quickly as possible. No buzz! No lights! We did it! We climbed on a train to the luggage area weak with relief. We'd done it. We'd sneaked a sick child into China.
Katherine ended up being fine. By the next morning she was climbing the Great Wall with a big smile on her face.