Menu Close

Love on a Mission {Part 15}

Love on a Mission: 3 Countries, 2 People, 1 Marriage

This is the s tory of how Chuck and I met and fell in love. If you have missed any installments, be sure and get caught up here: Love on a Mission. Love on a Mission: 3 Countries, 2 People, 1 Marriage

But first I need to shake this darn sickness…

My parents have come to visit so we can go wedding dress shopping. I am one of those women who always dreamed of being a mother. As a little girl, I would gather all of my dolls and stuffed animals around me as I fed them and changed their diapers and tucked them in for naps. I spent countless hours dreaming of being a mother. In contrast to my sister-in-law who had bags filled with bridal magazines as she looked forward to her wedding day, I haven’t dreamed about being a bride since I was six. I want to get married to Chuck and have a house (hut?) filled with fat, laughing babies. That dream requires a wedding and a wedding requires a dress. 

I am filled with dread as we enter the bridal shop. Everything so fluffy and puffy and lacey. I hate it all. I hate the wedding dresses, the bridesmaid dresses, the fake pearls, the flowers the sickly pastel colors. I find myself extremely jealous of Chuck who has only to don a (rented) tuxedo for our wedding. I want to cry when I see the wedding dresses. I finally see one that I don’t hate, that I don’t envision making me look like a prom queen from the 80’s…the price? Five thousand dollars.

I want to vomit and not from my current illness. Five thousand dollars on a dress I simply “don’t hate”? I can’t do it and we leave. In bed I begin to sketch a dress I think I can wear. Something simple, something with an empire waist and minimal lace. I send the sketch to my mom who shows it to a friend who agrees to sew the dress for me. In the end, my wedding dress cost one hundred twenty-five dollars. 

I have been sick for weeks and nothing seems to help. I have been to the doctor twice and am on my second round of antibiotics. My parents urge me to visit for the weekend so they can take care of me, and have me visit their doctor. The flight is only about thirty-five minutes, but to me it feels like hours. No messages from stewardesses about Chuck loving me, no nibbling on brownies or even reading a book. I am so tired all of the time that I doze the entire flight.

I haven’t been truly fever-free in more than a week. My parents are really concerned about my health. I can barely eat and have lost weight. I am not coughing or sneezing or stuffed up. My main symptom seems to be fever, extremely painful joints and burning. I feel like my veins are flowing with fire, not blood.

My parents’ doctor draws blood and informs me my white blood cell count is extremely elevated (you think?) He prescribes stronger antibiotics, insisting I will get better with these. The weekend draws to an end and I head back home. I am still struggling through work (the doctors insist I am not contagious due to the antibiotics) and school. I come home, do my homework and fall into bed. This is all I do: work, school, bed.

My fevers are getting worse. My temperature is creeping up to 104 and 105 at night, dropping to a more reasonable 101 during the day. A week goes by and my temperature hasn’t dropped below 101 degrees once. I have been to the doctor three times in the past three weeks. They have no idea what is wrong with me and I am way beyond the point of caring. My life has become: fever, try to eat, sleep, drag to work, drag to school, pop antibiotics, try not to throw them up, go to bed.

My love letters to Chuck have slowed and he is extremely worried about me. We are just over a month away from our wedding. I need to select and order a wedding cake. There are so many details to attend to and I can’t do a single one.

I find myself on my grandma’s couch one night, determined to get some liquid into my body. I have a can of 7Up next to me. I take a minuscule sip and decide to wait ten minutes and take another. Long before the ten minutes is up I have thrown up. I wait ten minutes and try again, more vomiting. At this point my grandma calls my parents and says, “I think you need to come up here and take care of Renee, she’s getting worse”.

My parents arrive, take my temperature (it’s 105) and load me up for a trip to the emergency room. In my feverish haze, I wonder how high a fever can get before it causes brain damage. Things don’t look good at the hospital. My temperature is 106.7 and my blood pressure is registered at 80/37. The nurse quickly attempts to place an IV. In her haste she stabs me; drawing blood. I watch as two drops of blood land on the floor. Through my burning pain, I stare at those crimson drops that no one but me seems to notice.  The doctors draw blood and have me give a urine sample. I haven’t kept anything down for more than a day and I am very dehydrated which makes urination difficult.

I stare at the blood. I drift in and out of a restless sleep. The doctor comes in.

“We found out what is making you so sick,” he says.

To be continued…


  1. Melpub

    You have mastered the art of the cliffhanger! I know you lived to tell the tale, but am looking forward to finding out how. I remember the same crisis with wedding dresses: I finally found one I thought I could stand–I didn’t like it–and it cost $2,000. Forgetitsville. A friend then found a lovely off-white silk dress, lovelier than anything I’d seen in my extensive search, one that stretched from the horrifyingly expensive Vera Wang boutique (cheapest dress: six thou) to crummy little shops in my urban neighborhood. The friend found the dress in the window of the (late lamented) Daffy’s–TJ Maxx is more or less the successor– and I was delighted to wear it. Cost: not more than $300, but I’ve forgotten the exact price.

  2. bemis


    I bought the first dress I tried on. I tried on several others after and they were all terrible (in my opinion)! The one I chose was also one of the cheapest. Definitely more that $200, but far less than $2000. I was the same way with a wedding dress. I wanted simple, not to look like a wedding cake topper. Mine did have lace, but very simple lines and no big poof in the skirt or long train.

    I definitely didn’t grow up dreaming about weddings…or babies, for that matter. Although, I did love playing dolls and dollhouses growing up. I was mostly focused on trying to keep up with my brothers and not do anything that could cause them to call me a wimp or a sissy. It apparently worked because in my first year of college, at exact 100 lbs, the guys in my dorm told my friends that I was “intimidating.”

  3. Carolynn Slocum

    ARGH! I know what iit was, but I won’t blow it. I just can’t wait to read it! Good job on this series my friend!

  4. RaD

    I tried to e-mail you but didn’t get a response and I see it hasn’t been fixed yet…. This is Love on a Mission post 15. I went back and looked and you did not link the original post 14 with you telling the girl on the plane that it was you they were talking to on the loudspeaker. If this were me, I’d want someone to let me know. 😉

    • Renee

      Yes, it’s a mess. lol. I did get your email and meant to respond and thank you, but I was in Seattle and didn’t have access to my computer to fix it. We’ve had a bit of drama with Apollo’s tube since coming home so I’ve been busy and overwhelmed. I really appreciate you pointing it out. Hopefully, it is fixed now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.