Daryl Gets Done In…

I don’t quite know where to begin with what happened over the last week, at what should have been a lovely MidWestern conference, maybe the planets skidded out of alignment, maybe it was my turn to get rained on, I’m certainly overdue…

I came into this trip sick, I started taking an antibiotic the night before I left.  The cancelled flight to Hancock MI didn’t help, and then ensuing Amtrak/Greyhound adventure making my travel time to the Upper Peninsula more than 28 hours.  Not being able to sleep for 36 hours straight put more stress on my body that already was suffering from a virulent cold/sinus/respiratory ailment.  But I could have dealt with all that.  I am good at what I do, I arrived in Hancock at 8:30 in the morning, dropped onto the Main Street in town in the rain, and was quickly picked up by someone in the conference, and taken right to the judging area for the fashion show.  I worked diligently through the day, finally coming up with the award winners near dinner time.  I was completely exhausted, and after a couple of glasses of wine with friends, I crashed.  My bags still hadn’t arrived from Chicago, but I tried to reason that there was a midnight flight and surely they would be on it even though I couldn’t get a seat.

Word came the next morning that in fact that only one of my bags arrived, the other was still in Chicago, and it contained all the samples for the one day class I was about to teach.  I went for breakfast, and tried to scramble to come up with everything I would need for the class that was absolutely critical, Robyn donated some floss for heddles for the inkle loom class, and I thought I might be able to pull this off.  The rental looms fortunately were in the bag that made it.  But not the shuttles.

All started well, but I just wasn’t feeling myself.  No surprise.  I’ve taught under some pretty nasty conditions, but I had confidence I could carry on.  I gave the first lecture and felt increasingly bad, to the point where I started getting worried.  I had already made a few unusual trips to the bathroom, and something was definitely wrong.  I started another lecture and realized to my horror, I needed to get to the bathroom immediately where I proceeded to hurl my guts out kneeling on the bathroom floor, I’ve never been so sick, no way around it, I had food poisoning, probably from the rounds of bus/train depots from the previous day.

Now, each of the individual calamities that befell me in that 36 hour period were annoying but not debilitating.  I could carry on.  Lying on the public restroom floor wanting to die, unable to move away from the toilet, I had the notion that it was time to quit, that the universe was trying to tell me something and that for the first time in my 25 years of teaching I wouldn’t be able to finish a class.  I prayed like my life depended on it, to whoever or whatever was with me in that restroom.

Somehow I managed to clean myself up and stagger back to my class, and actually having lost everything from my entire digestive track, I felt better.  It goes like that with food poisoning.

Since the students had carried on in my absence, God bless them, there were a number of mistakes, I set out trying to fix and repair and get everyone back on track.  I spent the two hour lunch trying to redo loom warps that couldn’t be salvaged, and getting everyone ready for the afternoon lecture.  I moved slowly and deliberately.  I was so weak.  One of the conference committee members went out and bought me my favorite family remedy of honey and apple cider vinegar to mix with water so I could start to heal my system and gain back some of my strength, enough to get through the remainder of the class.

By the afternoon I was reasonably sure I was going to live, and one of the students, who knew someone at the Hancock airport, was able to connect with them and I was assured my second bag with all the samples for the class was in the air and would be arriving just before the end of the class.  Life was looking up.

The bag did arrive, and the students in spite of the morning difficulties did actually learn the techniques I had planned, and they got to see everything I had brought to inspire them.  I didn’t eat dinner, and kept sipping my honey and vinegar.

My new coat/dress was in the bag that finally made it from Chicago, and I was able to change and head over to the fashion show.  I was giving a presentation at the end, and the awards.  By this time, the original ailment I came in with had settled in my voice box and I had full blown laryngitis.  Could this week get any worse?

I taught my two three hour lectures on Saturday, with no voice, but I have to say that the Midwestern audience I worked with all weekend could not have been kinder, more caring, more supportive, and more helpful, and it was because of that support I actually managed to do my job and complete my  classes.  I don’t know how I did it, I’m sure all the prayers I said kneeling in front of a toilet in a cold public restroom didn’t hurt, but I got through it, which is something I never wanted to say about a teaching experience.  I love what I do, and I love my students and I felt so incredibly bad for the series of unfortunate events that kept me from doing what I do with my usual focus and enthusiasm.  Thank you to all who held me up and kept me going and trudged right along with me.

I’m following this sad story with a much more happy one, I didn’t return home immediately, I went instead to Marquette, MI with my friend Ginnie to rest and recover for a couple of days at her house.  Stay tuned, it gets better… (And there will be pictures)


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Donna Kallner
June 29, 2011 9:22 am

Thanks for hanging in there! Glad to hear you’re feeling better.

judy anderson
judy anderson
June 29, 2011 10:58 am

So glad you are feeling better. You are one fantastic lady. Please take care of EWE

Rita Rooney
Rita Rooney
June 29, 2011 11:13 am

So very sorry to hear about your ailments on this trip. It does sound like a travel trip from hell, and then a digestive trip from there as well. It takes an awful lot to floor and for the first time in the many years that I have know you, it caught you. Glad to hear you are felling better and you are taking a few days to recover. We just don’t bounce back as we used to. Travel safe when you come home.

June 29, 2011 12:19 pm

The kindness of ‘strangers’ is critical in a situation like you just went through – which only goes to prove that the weaving community is just that – a community.
cheers for surviving!
who had a recent similar experience, but without the travel challenges….

Randi Rewoldt
Randi Rewoldt
June 29, 2011 8:01 pm

OMyGod…I am sorry you had such an ordeal! I guess I was just so excited to be in your class I really didn’t notice that you were anything but stricken with a bad cold! We also use the cider and honey remedy – which I think is close to magical. 🙂 I hope you are now back to good health.

June 30, 2011 5:55 am

Good grief! What a horrible experience. Some evil aspect must be afflicting instructors. Just finished a 5 day class at Peters Valley. Our poor instructor was also terribly ill and had no voice for one full day.In addition the supply list was incorrect and sent out late. It all worked out, but she said she was going to bed for at least 3 days as soon as she got home.

Hope the trip home is totally boring and uneventful.

June 30, 2011 6:47 am

so glad you are feeling better. You are for sure “superwoman”. I had food poison too and it is horrible. I couldn’t move or get out of bed (except to go to the bathroom) for 2 days. I don’t know how you did it. hugs.

June 30, 2011 9:20 am

Ah, the glamorous life of the itinerant weaving teacher! Maybe you’ve used up your bad luck for the next few years and it will be smooth sailing from now on.

June 30, 2011 11:12 am

Oh, Daryl, I don’t know how you got thru it all! I’m so sorry you were ill andI’m sorry I didn’t get over to say hello to you at the conference in Hancock, MI. I, too, was dealing with misaligned planets or something. I did get through all my classes and saw ALL the exhibits and the fashion show (you did a great job!) in spite of feeling feverish and with some weird pains in my jaw and I just kept taking Advil for relief. I learned a tremendous amount and came home to Wisconsin totally over-stimulated and excited by… Read more »

Mary Ehrlich
June 30, 2011 12:17 pm

The only joy from attending this conference I got was seeing you. Even if you not at your best. After my fall into the breakfast room, trip to the hospital, pain, sleep, and getting home, I can truthfully say I had never wanted to attend a conference as much as this one and wish I would never have gone so much. The people were lovely running the conference could not have been more helpful and caring. My body will heal.

June 30, 2011 12:29 pm

Oh, God has certainly shown you grace and mercy in answering your prayers and those of your friends (and mine too!) It certainly was a trying time and I’m sorry that you suffered so much for the sake of your students, but it is remarkable to hear of your drive and attitude to keep going no matter what, I would like some of that! Trusting that you will have better times to make up for it soon and lots of love. (Phew, so glad to hear your coat made it safely back to you, too!)

Candiss Cole Footitt
Candiss Cole Footitt
June 30, 2011 2:00 pm

We will be in Madison next weekend. Guess we are back to crossing paths. Get some good recovery time.