A Trip to the Big Apple

Have you ever come up with plans for the family that sound really good on paper and then somehow in the implementation phase something goes drastically wrong, expectations are crushed, and the fun outing turns into something completely different? Every time we return to NYC for medical reasons we come up with a new plan of attack to avert disaster. A new approach to beat the city that always seems to beat us. We develop a plan in which a family of eight can visit Manhattan in an economical, timely way, and accomplish the objectives of meeting with several specialists while still smiling and having fun. Perhaps our goals are unrealistic, too ambitious. Nevertheless, each time we remain optimistic as we make the arrangements for our trip into the Big Apple.

This past week we once again devised the perfect plan. The plan that would avoid multiple parking tickets. The plan that would circumvent astronomical parking fees for large 12 passenger vans. The plan that would assure no late night rides alone through the Bronx. We will take the train in from Connecticut! The kids will have a blast and it will be so relaxing. We won’t need to worry about driving and parking in the city. We’ll pop in and out of Dr. Devinsky’s office and then we’ll have the rest of the day to sight see, explore, and have fun!

While nothing went terribly wrong it just wasn’t the relaxed enjoyable trip we had envisioned. “Fun” is not the first word that comes to mind when I reflect upon the day trip. Frazzled, hectic, exhausting, are all words that surface ahead of “relaxing” in my mind. We arose between 4:30-5:30 am, ran around like lunatics for hours, and arrived in Manhattan at 1:28pm, exactly 2 minutes before our scheduled appointment time with Dr. Devinsky. We crowded into an 8×10 exam room and dialogued with our favorite neurologist about shivering, anticonvulsants, seizures, and brain waves. Dr. Devinsky felt the 72 hour ambulatory EEG completed in January showed no evidence of seizures or any erratic spiking. This news alone was well worth the morning’s journey. We decided next to continue on a conservative path medically considering Gabby’s history of returning seizures. We will slowly raise her Trileptal dosage as she grows over the next 6 months to maintain her current blood level rather than allowing her to “outgrow” her current dosage. We all agreed we don’t want to rock the boat just yet! Better to ride the rest of the year out with consistent medication levels in the blood.

We left NYU ready to celebrate the good news, relax, and enjoy some ethnic food. We chose an Asian sushi place and settled in for a special lunch. We realized when the food began arriving that Makinley had literally been immobilized for 6 hours straight. She had gone from car seat to train seat to stroller to restaurant bench. It was then that I stopped casually chatting, bent my head to my chopsticks, and began to pack away some serious sushi before the ticking bomb sitting beside me decided to explode.

We escaped the quaint establishment just as our youngest became possessed. She flung her head back and opened her mouth to scream as we crossed the threshold back onto the busy streets of New York. We headed for Fifth Avenue hoping a brisk walk would settle our psychotic baby into a deep slumber. It worked and the next few hours we spent enjoying window shopping, street performers, and unidentified celebrities. The kids expressed an interest in getting ice cream and we began hunting for a good spot. These children deserved some sweet creamy goodness after the adventures of the morning. They had been so well behaved and patient. We stopped for “dippy” (as my husband affectionately calls it) and after the last remnants had been licked clean from every spoon we released sweet Makinley from her stroller for a little exercise. Big mistake! She was everywhere all at once and the very sight of her stroller was enough to contort her face and send her little legs running in the opposite direction. It was then that the dark clouds rolled in and our plans for Central Park were squashed. We stuck “KinKin” in the stroller and fled toward Grand Central Station through the steady rain to catch a rush hour train with a few seats left 4 minutes before departure time. Now we just had to survive the 2 hour train ride, 20 minute walk to the remote parking lot, and the 45 minute drive back to my parents.

We did survive and though we came home exhausted that night it was a completely content and happy exhaustion. The exhaustion you experience when you know you’ve given life your best. When you tuck your children in without regret and then you happily crawl into bed bone tired thanking God that you’ve been given one more day to be together.


  1. Wow, that sounds like quite a day trip. My husband and I visited New York last year and had a hard enough time trying to navigate… I can’t imagine doing it with 6 kids! I’m thoroughly impressed! :) http://www.newyorkboutiquehotel.com

  2. Cindy Francis says:

    I knew if any family of 8 could tame NYC it is the O’Melia clan!
    Glad to hear the news about Gabby.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Mark, Cindy, Anna & Jack

  3. Wonderful story and from every word is breathing God’s blessing upon your precious family. Keep those stories coming, I didn’t miss one yet!

    love, Alena

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