I keep a bag of toiletries packed so I can travel quickly. I have always told myself it’s so I can head out on business trips at a moment’s notice. Or maybe I would take it somewhere fun without any planning. For awhile in my life that was true. I would come in from a business trip on a Tuesday, for example, and leave to somewhere new on Thursday. No sense packing and re-packing that bag, right?

Truth is that I haven’t actually had to travel that much in the past couple of years. The bag stays packed though. I guess because I am always hoping I will go somewhere quickly – on a moment’s notice – with the spontaneity I had long ago. I never really thought that I keep it packed in case I have to go to the ER. Until today.

Catherine has been having some symptoms that in isolation wouldn’t even make me turn twice. In aggregate they increasingly concerned me. I had been in touch with the pediatrician several times, of course. So today when school was on a delay I thought her doctor might want to see her.

“Uh,” the nurse started after consulting with the doc and calling me back. “This isn’t going to be quite what you expected.” I thought for a quick second, “It never is,” and I stuffed my cynic back in the box. “She wants you to go to the ER at either Hopkins or Maryland.” Ugh. Even when you have a kid with as much complexity as Catherine, I am gonna tell ya – those words rock your soul and the whole world stops spinning for a moment. Then it starts spinning really fast. It’s in that spinning when I realized I would need to pack a bag.

I quickly grabbed stuff and threw it on the floor so I could pack it in a suitcase or something, and then I grabbed the toiletry bag. The irony of the spontaneous trip I ever-hoped would happen hit me as I zipped it closed after tucking my brush inside the bag. My spontaneous trips were to the ER now. Everything else requires significant planning.

OK. I guess I will have to learn to accept that.

But I will leave my toiletry bag packed – just in case.

PS: Catherine came home after several tests and she is just fine! No toiletries even needed on this trip.

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