We were supposed to fly and did not and then did anyway…


Tomorrow we were supposed to fly to Japan for a week of vacation in Tokyo and Kyoto.
As always, Lamia had enticed me with nice photos from the web where all the wonders of Kyoto are showcased in a way that make me hunger to go there and take these photos myself. She also did all the trip planning, virtually all of the hotel booking, had already packed Oskar’s suitcase and most of ours and had single-handedly readied the family for a great vacation.

But Oskar started to have fever yesterday: 38.6ºC. Hm, that’s not good. And when things like these happen, I’d rather err on the safe side and not go somewhere. Just the image of us sitting on a 7 hour flight to a strange country with a feverous and miserable kid is not what I consider a good idea.

We still had the hope that the fever could be fixed quickly with some paracetamol and we started to dance around the question at what temperature we would feel okay to fly.

In the morning I was at my medical check-up and while I was there I received temperature updates from Tess. At 9:11 am she texted his temperature was at 38.7ºC. At 11:29 am the fever already hit 39.1ºC. As always when he has fever, Oskar was doing actually quite okay. Maybe a little cranky, but he typically is playing and still rather active even with high fever.

But I admit I did not see us fly the next day with the temperature being more than 39ºC before noon time today.

Over lunch Lamia left the office and went home to look after Oskar and take him to the doctor. I still had a few meetings later in the day after my medical that I could not easily skip. In the end, Lamia and Tess spent quite some at the doctor’s, had his blood work checked (all good) and gotten the statement of the doctor that Oskar would be okay to fly because his ears were okay and everything indicated that his fever was only viral:

Doctor: … and if he still has fever on Monday, take him to a doctor. They have good doctors in Japan.

Frankly, as true as this might be, stuff like this pisses me off: no proper assessment but casual advice of someone who won’t be there if shit hits the fan. I have little interest to spend a day at a doctor in Japan, to be honest, and I’d rather get a run down of most likely child diseases that play a role here so I can better judge whether this is a problem or not. The single suggestion we got was Roseola – again (I thought we had passed that one, but apparently one might contract it more than once).

Then Oskar’s temperature hit 39.6ºC in the late afternoon. This was the moment where Lamia concluded we better not fly anymore tomorrow. And while I agreed, it broke my heart. She was so disappointed and sad. She had spent so much time to get us to Japan and now we were delaying everything just hours before the flight leaves. I hate it when my wife is disappointed and sad.

Back home, we discussed our next steps.
I had already contacted our hotel for the first night in Tokyo and managed to cancel the room without a fee (very professional place and a recommendation if you want to stay close to Tokyo station: Hotel Ryumeikan).
In theory, the Westin in Kyoto had a cancellation period that we had already breached (longer than 24 hours which is rather unusual). But the most pressing item was of course our flight with Delta.
Exceptionally, that one we had not booked directly via Delta, as we normally would, but via Expedia who can handle a toddler traveling without own seat directly when booking on their website. To book this via Delta we would have had to call because their website does not allow toddlers to be booked as accompanied travelers without own seat. This seems stupid and very inconvenient to say the least. Understandably, the Delta offices in Singapore are only open on weekdays during regular working hours. We typically book flights late at night or on a weekend, because during the day we are too busy in the office. So when we booked the tickets we decided to go via Expedia.

Turns out that was a bad idea, however.
Now that we wanted to cancel tomorrow’s flight and postpone it by a month, Expedia was incapable or unwilling to do this at the rate that we expected (i.e. a 150 SGD penalty). And the longer Lamia was on the phone with customer service, the more “new” restrictions seemed to pop up. In the end we were only allowed to change the flight within the next two weeks (not an option work wise). The whole thing became so ridiculous that we ended up very frustrated and instructed Expedia not to change anything.

Oh, man!
2 hours on the phone and the result was empty hands and a very upset wife.

We started to count our losses: the flights plus other cost like the Japan Railway Pass were quickly adding up to ~2000 SGD. That’s a lot of money to just flush down the toilet. I’m okay to lose that kind of money for the peace of mind of not putting Oskar through a potential ordeal – including ourselves if the disease gets much worse in Japan.
But as I’ve mentioned, the other truth is that apart from the fever he seemed to be fine. And if we did not go to Japan now, we likely would not book new tickets anytime soon. And with another baby on the way, the window to actually go on a trip to Japan closed rapidly. Which in fact means we likely would not go in years if we didn’t go now.

Long story short: it was close to 10 pm when we made a crash decision to stick to the original plan and take the flight. Which of course also meant getting up at 3:45 am tomorrow.

Now we still had packing to do (both for us and Oskar) and we still had to book a new hotel for that first night in Tokyo, because the hotel that I had canceled earlier had already resold the room.

Gee – what a drama!
But looks like we’re going to Japan after all…

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