Well it turns out that the doctor's diagnosis was the correct one. I didn't have a brain tumor. On the fifth day of my forced bed rest, I found out something about recovering from Labyrinthitis. It is not a gradual recovery, but a step-by-step improvement interrupted by several days of no change. One day I was depressed with no recovery in sight. The next day I suddenly felt better. From then on I would suddenly get a little better after a few days of no change. I was first able to move from the bed to the recliner, but had to remain in a reclined position in order to watch any television. It took five weeks before I was able to drive again.
Every Sunday the first section I read in the papers is the Travel Section. I believe it was there that I first saw the word "Untours", probably in an Arthur Frommer article. I looked up the website and registered. I also signed up for notification of any "specials". In mid-December I received an email from Untours about a winter special. For $999 per person we could spend two weeks at a chalet in Switzerland at a place called Sachseln. It even included air fare and a rail pass. This special was good for as late as March 31, 2002. But we had to make our reservation by December 31st. I told Eleanor that we lost Switzerland, and now it was being given back to us. I made the call, and requested a two week period for as late in March as possible. The person at the other end of the line had a pretty name, "Francy". She became our 'lucky lady" that day in December. She told us about an interesting restaurant called "Blindekuh". She made reservations for March 12-26, 2002. When we stepped off the train at Sachseln March 13th, we had on our winter coats. But the temperature that day was 70 degrees Fahrenheit. How lucky could we get! Our luck just got better and better. The two people waiting for us at the train station were Berit and Albert Greutert.
I believe in fate. Because the Grand Prize trip to Switzerland was free, we had not purchased Trip Cancellation/Medical insurance. I can't imagine what would have happened if I had come down with Labyrinthitis while we were in Switzerland. We later found out that in addition to the marathon bus tour and seven different hotels we were scheduled to endure, the month that the trip was scheduled for, November, is the worst month to visit Switzerland. So getting sick and losing the Grand Prize trip to Switzerland was the luckiest thing that ever happened to us.
Well, maybe one of the luckiest. Bad things have happened to both of us in the past that led to lucky changes in our lives. People may think that Eleanor got a bad break when she came down with Polio at the age of five. But that became a lucky break for her. She always wanted to be a teacher. When she was graduating from high school, one of her teachers asked her where she was going to college. Her family was poor. Her father had died when she was 14 years old. She couldn't afford to go to college. That teacher had some connections with admissions at Glassboro State College (now called Rowan University), and knew of a scholarship for the handicapped. She was able to get a full scholarship, and wound up teaching for 29 years.
Polio made that possible. It's a long story but Eleanor and I would have never met if both our fathers hadn't died when we were young. During college, I had a summer job across the street from her house, but never saw her. When we look back, it seems like fate was gradually bringing us closer and closer until we met at a July 4th barbecue as teammates in a harmless game of darts (We won!).
So I say it again. I believe in fate. I also believe that sometimes bad things have to happen before good things can happen. So the next time you are having a run of bad luck, keep your chin up. The luckiest day of your life may be just around the corner, like the day we found Untours.