The Holiday Begins

I began my holidays on Friday 30 August.  My first day I woke up to sounds of Derek.  It wasn’t great.  He felt unwell, and was spending too much time in the bathroom.

My first day off in months and he was in bed sick.  Great, just what we wanted.  But he didn’t take extra medication.  We decided to ride the wave and see what happened.

Saturday we woke up and he felt better.  It was Derek’s first day of leave.  He tried to spend a quiet day, relaxing as much as he could.  Unfortunately because he had been sick on Friday a lot of things that I had meant to do to prepare for going away hadn’t happened because I spent most of the day looking after Derek.

Things had to get done on Saturday instead.  Sunday I did a bit more. Monday we finally got round to packing.  By then I was tired but Derek was feeling better.  He was able to help get his clothes together, and, when sitting down, was able to think about other things we needed to pack.

Day 1, Tuesday morning we woke up prepared to drive from Wellington to Taupo.  It dawned grey and cold.  A little “frost” showing hints of appearing.

We packed the car (well I did, Derek didn’t do a lot) and once the kids had left for school I made a coffee and off we went on our great adventure into the unknown.

Our first incident happened within 40 minutes.  As we were driving around a tight few corners I was going fine but slow and suddenly jerked the car to the right.  A vehicle had pulled out of a driveway on a sharp, blind corner.  It gave me a slight fright and I took quick evasive action as I thought it was going to come out in front of me.  Obviously the driver was used to leaving his driveway in reverse on this corner, as he stopped just short of being on the road proper, and waited.  My heart beat fast for a few seconds, then I calmed down

Derek however, was not expecting it, and got a fright.  Within 5 minutes he was yarning, commenting on how tired he was, and not wanting to do anything else, but rest. He couldn’t keep his eyes open.

The road after that was relatively straight, and traffic, on the whole, was well behaved.

Even so, it took him over half an hour before he started to feel better, and more awake, more able to focus (brain fog had kicked in).

We continued to Levin where, as Derek was coming right, we stopped to take a walk.  I was driving, so I needed to take brakes rather than driving long distances and Derek needed to stretch his legs.  It was nice to refresh my brain.

We then got back in the car and began part to of our journey, driving through to Taihape for a late morning tea.  Thankfully there were no more incidents.  Derek had a travel pillow behind his neck so he rested a lot, still trying to recover from the shock he received when we first left Wellington.

As I was driving I saw a cafe we had always talked about stopping at, but never had.  So I pulled in, and we had a coffee and cake there.  It was great to be able to just stop if we wanted to with no kids asking why, or having a deadline we were working to.

Nice coffee, nice staff.

It was just before 12 so Derek decided to take his noon HC a couple of minutes early to save taking it in the car.  By now the morning clouds had gone and the day had turned to an amazing NZ day.  Bright blue sky, warm sun and picturesque views everywhere.

We headed toward the Desert Road getting views of Mt Ruapehu as we drove.  It was a glorious snow covered mountain looming ahead with no cloud around it.  A sight you always want to see, but don’t often get to see.

As I drove the Desert Road Derek was feeling a bit better, so took photos.  Anyone that has driven the Desert Road will know that you go along open roads, long and straight, with slight inclines as you rise in altitude.

At the northern end of the road, you begin the decent to Lake Taupo.  It is steep, windy and very much an up and down decent.  You have to go slow in some areas. And you cannot see what is coming round the next corner.

We were following behind another car which was travelling at a steady, safe speed.  As we were going along the car in front began to round a corner when I noticed he applied his brakes and slowed right down.  The car went from view but as I began to round the corner he was stopped, a car in front of him was stopped, and a car heading in the opposite direction was also stopped.  They were all talking.  There was no room on either side of the road.

Although I was slowing because I had seen the car breaking in front of me, I applied the brakes harder, bringing the car to a quick, but safe stop behind the other vehicles.

Derek hadn’t seen what was happening and suddenly felt the lock of his seat belt as the car came to its stop.

As you would expect, it gave him a bit of a fright.  Nothing major had happened.  His heart should have done a flutter, and he should have then been fine.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

Instead, his brain told him there was something wrong, he had to hold on, but his “fight or flight” didn’t kick in and he had to analyse and think about what he had to do.  There was no instinctive reaction.  It was only because he knew we were stopping that he knew he had to hold on.  He then swore.

I realised it was a “Pilot” vehicle coming in the other direction and we had to pull over as there was a very wide load coming round another blind corner towards us and there wasn’t room for us and them on the road.

Once the wide load, and the following Pilot Vehicle had passed us we carried on over the windy road.

About 5 minutes later Derek could feel his energy being slowly drained from him. He likened it to someone pulling the stopper out of an oil sump, and the oil, thick and sludgy, slowing draining away.  He began to get a very heavy headache across his temples, and just wanted to shut his eyes.  He couldn’t do anything.  Over the next half hour he began to start yarning, he felt sore, tired, and he couldn’t focus on anything (brain frog again). I tried talking to him, but he couldn’t speak properly, he was far too tired.  He felt like he was going into crisis.  At the end of half an hour he realised he wasn’t coming right as quickly as the first time. Again I tried talking to him, but he was becoming irritable.  All he really wanted to do was lay down and sleep, but he couldn’t as there was nowhere to pull over.

Earlier, when we were stopped for a snack, he had taken 10 mg of HC.  It should have only just been kicking in when the incident happened and he said it felt like he used it all in that incident and had nothing in reserve.

Luckily his meds were only just going into his body, so, although it took over an hour from the incident, he did begin to recover.  If he hadn’t just taken his HC he certainly would have had to take a large dose to make it up.

He felt tired for the rest of the day, even when he had taken his 4 o’clock HC.

Thankfully the rest of the journey went relatively smoothly and there were no more “incidents”.

We stopped at Taupo for a snack as we were too early to head to the homestay we were booked into for the night.

Day 2 of our holiday dawned dull and grey.  We had a lovely breakfast, served up by our very hospitable hostess.  After breakfast we went for a short walk along the country road where we were staying but it started raining so we had to head back to the Homestay.  We had a light lunch and then settled down to read.  We both fell asleep for a while.

Eventually we woke and, as there was no going outside because of the weather, we sat playing cards for several hours until dinner was ready.

Derek was tired so after dinner, we headed to our room to lay in bed and watch TV.  Well, I watched TV, Derek slept.

Day 3 and we were packing our bags to head to Hamilton.  Thankfully the drive from Taupo to Hamilton was without incident.  Derek had recovered from our trip up, and he was happy to be heading to our friends place.

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