8/6/2012 1:52 PM
By Kim Edgren
I have just returned from what my kids have come to call “The Edgrens Take on Norway.” Seventeen of us, from 5 to 74 years old, traveled to Sweden and Norway for two weeks. We stayed in four cities, four hotels, and one home on the side of a beautiful mountain; we traveled by planes, trains, ferries, buses and automobiles and spent time with 15 of our Norwegian relatives who live on a picture-perfect fjord.
The trip was amazing in itself, but for me, it felt a little like a miracle. Just last year, almost to the day of our departure, I received my melody valve and stents after hitting my congestive heart failure status. The reality is, last summer this trip would not have been possible.
I admit, I was apprehensive about the trip even though I have felt good. But this was a big journey, regardless of health, and I knew it would be draining. And here, on this side of the trip, I can report that physically, it was mostly good. My pride, however, took a bit of a hit.
First, I have to note, I was not the only cardiac patient of the group—unless you are counting patients under 70! There is my dad, 74, with A-fib; Uncle Danny at 70 with mitral valve issues; and Jenny, the Norwegian matriarch at 79, with recent valve replacement and her own stents.
Do you see where I am going with this? I felt old! And “we” did well! We took on Stockholm and all its walking; Oslo and the statues… and all its walking; and all the steep cobblestone streets.
There were some concessions on my part, first thinly veiled as “support” of my fellow group: skipping the climb to the Stockholm Tower to keep my dad company; forgoing the long walk to see the “circle of life” sculptures in Oslo with my uncle; and, begrudgingly not making the trek with Karen and the girls to climb up the wondrous Oslo Opera House roof to stay with the old folks (but, really, knowing that would have done me in for a few days at best).
But the straw of my mental back was the family mountain...
Learn more about that “straw” in part 2 of this blog post, coming soon!
Kim Edgren was born in 1966 with transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary stenosis and ventricular septal defect. She recently became the proud owner of a Melody valve! When she is not trying her hand at writing she is busy spending time with her partner and three girls, managing her two child care centers and planning her next vacation.