I have always had a love of huge, beautiful houses. I've always had a love of huge, beautiful architecture in general! This past weekend, while my mother watched the boys, Aaron and I celebrated my 29th birthday by taking a trip to the closest thing to heaven here in the US (outside of Yosemite National Park, of course) - The Biltmore. (www.biltmore.com) Located in Asheville, North Carolina, it was the home of George Vanderbilt, took just over 5 years to complete, and was officially opened to his friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895. This was my second visit to the Biltmore (I went with a cousin and friend of hers two years ago), but was Aaron's first. In addition to driving and walking around the magnificent grounds, we took an evening candlelight Christmas tour of the house. There were carolers, a guitarist, and ballerinas performing in various parts of the house as we meandered through. What a fabulous way to kick off this year's holiday season!
Although close, the trip wasn't quite perfect, at least in my estimation. I failed to research the elevation of Asheville, that is until we arrived and I thought I was going to pass out when I got out of the car. It didn't take long for me to pull out the laptop to check. It's approx. 2000 ft. higher than where we live in Pennsylvania. Oops! For the average Joe, that's not a problem. However, I stopped being normal a LONG time ago! It must have been God who put the idea into our minds to bring the portable oxygen with us "just in case." I was groggy and slow-moving the whole time we were there, and when I did any amount of walking (especially uphill or up stairs), I needed to wear the not-so-attractive oxygen nasal canula. Aaron put the oxygen tank in a backpack (that he generously carried instead of me). It's a good thing that I stopped being self-conscious about wearing it several months ago, or I might have been disheartened by all the stares we received. People don't expect to see someone my age needing oxygen.
After a day or so my body began to adjust to the higher elevation, and I needed the oxygen less frequently! That made the rest of the trip so much more enjoyable. ... But that also meant that when we returned home it took a day or so for my body to readjust back to the lower elevation. As it did so I dealt with migraines, nausea, and my skin being really red. Even though the adjustment (both times) was quite unpleasant, I viewed it as a good thing. When I was there two years ago, my body didn't adjust to the higher elevation. The last time I went skiing in Utah (three years ago), I dealt with really bad altitude sickness the whole week because my body couldn't adjust then, either. This time it was finally able to begin to. I'm not sure if the "improvement" this time was due to Flolan (the continual iv medicine going into my heart), or because of me beginning to get better. But no matter the cause, we were thrilled anyway.
This was the first vacation we've had in over fourteen months. It was the first the two of us have taken alone in even longer. After the stress of this past year, it was a welcome change - a chance to get away and focus on each other (and forget about some of the craziness of our life)! We're already talking about where we'll go next!
#55 - Get me off this mountain
8 years ago