Day 7 of Family Road Trip from Miami to Alaska: Crisis and Chaos in the PapiMobile

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Day 7 of our family road trip from Miami to Alaska was a day straight out of vacation HELL.  Everything that could have gone wrong seemed to have gone wrong times two on our way from Memphis to Oklahoma.

There's a story behind these oven mitts.

A Double Shot of Pain

The day started in Memphis with my wife waking up with extreme tooth pain.  She had been feeling some pain in her mouth since the Magic Kingdom but now it was much worse.  It was so unbearable her dentist recommended she go get an emergency root canal.

In perfect sync, my son began walking like a cowboy.  We thought it was just him being funny or exaggerated about some slight irritation he had with his Eczema skin condition until we realized that he had visible skin peels on the back of his legs, between his thighs, in the inside of his arms and even on his face and parts of his ears.

The 100F plus degree weather we experienced in Tupelo and Memphis the two previous days apparently took a big toll on him and it now seemed as if his skin was literally peeling off.  To make matters worse, he was itching and scratching so badly that no amount of Benadryl or other ointments were helping.   My daughter Elena and I kept constant Scratch Patrol on Jonathan (we smacked him for scratching) until I bought him two big red oven mitts that we had to force him to wear at all times.  He looked like a lobster.

Jonathan’s situation was serious enough that I decided to let his mom and our family back in Miami know what was happening.   If you know Latino families, you know where this is headed.  In no time everybody knew and everyone had advice for us.  His mom and grandparents were understandably worried, calling every five minutes as the pressure and panic began to take hold of our PapiMobile.

Tough Questions

In the midst of all the drama, we had several questions and dilemmas:

– Do we stop right now, in the middle of Who Knows Where Kansas to get Jonathan some medical attention on a Sunday night when few doctors are around?

– Do we push further, try to keep Jonathan from bursting with more skin issues and see if it gets better now that we would not be doing any outside activities?

– Do we have Angela AND Jonathan get their medical treatment at the same time somewhere along the way or even, ideally at Colorado Springs, Colorado, still one day away?

Not knowing the extent of Jonathan’s medical situation, my ex wife and I discussed the possibility of her flying in to Colorado Springs to take Jonathan back to Miami, a prospect we all dreaded given how much he was looking forward to this road trip.  If he had to be hospitalized, which is a major concern that would be a massive problem that could force us to rethink everything.

The Finger Amputation Incident

In the midst of all this worry, occasional weeping from Jonathan and nervous family calls from Miami, right near the Kansas-Colorado border, things took a deeper turn for the worse.  In trying to keep his lesions clean, Jonathan reached for a Wet Ones wipe and got his right pointy finger firmly stuck in the lid.

Jonathan's finger got stuck in the lid of a Wet Ones bottle like this one pictured here.

Jonathan began to scream and cry at the top of his lungs: “OUCH, OUCH, OUCH, my finger is stuck.  My finger is stuck and it’s going to get cut off.”  My wife pulled over to the side of the highway while I tried to pry Jonathan’s finger out of the sharp plastic lid.  The pointy corners of the lid seem firmly entrenched in his finger when a Kansas patrol officer pulled alongside to offer help.  We said, “nah, officer, thanks but we have it under control.”

Twenty minutes later Angela and I were still on the side of the road trying to pry the finger loose out when the officer returned.  “Can I help you with something?”  This time we accepted his offer and the rest of the story is in this short, unedited video which if you know my practical joking son Jonathan he deserves to have you watch.

Fog and Fatigue

Despite our aggressive pace and strong desire to get to Colorado Springs as soon as possible, hours of driving and fog forced us to pause for some rest at a truck stop.  We put Jonathan’s oven mitts on, angled the PapiMobile’s chairs back for rest and the next thing you know we had all dozed off all night.  We slept amongst trucks and truckers in a rest stop in Kansas.

Disney Vacation Tip of the Day

The medical problems we experienced on the road underscore the importance of always traveling with an emergency medical plan.  This means that in addition to having a great First Aid kit you also need to have all your medical, doctor and insurance information handy for all passengers in the vehicle.  You also need to verify if your insurance benefits are available nationwide and under what circumstances.

Where in the World is Papi?

July 11

450 miles from Memphis, Tennessee to Tulsa, Oklahoma

States Traveled so far: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma



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