I(we) never imagined for a split second that our first visit to the old COR in October 1995, would blossom into the most phenomenal relationship of our lives. And it’s equally unfathomable that we would become repeaters.

It wasn’t something that we even dreamed of or talked about. Going to any tropical country for a vacation wasn’t even on any kind of a list. We were so overwhelmed with the birth of our daughter Sydney Erica in 1972, there was no time for anything else.

Syd was born in December. The following September, she had her first seizure. She was only nine months old. In the twelve months following that horrific day, Syd had 278 more seizures. Each one required a trip to the ER where she would get a shot. This would put her to sleep and when she woke the next day, things went back to normal. What ever that is.
Over the years, Syl and I got into a routine on what had to be done each time. It played out over and over again, hundreds of times each year.

There was little time to speak of frivolous things like any kind of relief, let alone a real vacation.

Fast forward to 1993. Sydney is now 21. She’s obviously much larger than she was as a child, and handling the seizures have changed quite a bit.
She often loses bladder control, so she and the bed need to be changed. If the seizure doesn’t stop within a particular time frame, I then would give her a needle, pre filled with Luminal. Within moments, Sydney was back to a restful sleep.

So when Syl came home and said, “How would you like to go to Jamaica”? the best I could do was to just stare at her. Just a long blank stare. I’m not even sure if I fully knew where Jamaica was in the West Indies. It sounded further away than the moon.
“What are you talking about Syl”, I mumbled. She explained that there was an organization that sends professional registered tennis, squash and a third sport that I don’t remember, to resorts around the world. They work one week in exchange for room and board. And they can take a friend. I immediately raised my hand. She picked me too.
There was a lot of jumping up and down and laughing and shouting and crying and all of that lasted for a long time. She had more information. All we would have to pay for was the airfare. After that, we were golden. Then slowly but surly Richard Reality made his appearance. The laughing and giggling subsided and the room went silent.

Wow. Free vacation. Whoopee. Wait. What about airfare? We didn’t have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of. First hurdle. We went to my parents. Explained the whole thing and they “lent” gave us the plane fare. Whew!!

And what about Sydney. She was not happy about mum and dad going away. We spent many days talking and trying to prep her. Well, let’s just say that it took some pretty ingenious planning and scheming but when it was all done, we had found a person to stay each night and in the morning get Syd off to school. Other people came when she was coming home. Everything was in place. We were actually going to be able to pull this off. And we did. We were off to Jamaica. The year was 1993. But not to Couples just yet.

The resort we stayed at the first two times was known as the Boscobel Beach Resort. A family resort. It used to be the old Playboy mansion in the early 60’s. They broadcast from there on Saturday night, I used to watch the show in black and white TV.

The second night we were there “they” called from home. Syd had locked herself in the bathroom and refused to come out. They wanted us to come home. That was impossible. Made some frantic calls to other family members and eventually, Sydney came out. Life went on. We, on the other hand, sat on the bed and cried our hearts out. Scared that we weren’t there, scared for Syd.

Okay. Now we have two trips to Jamaica under our belt. Syd got just a bit better the second time, but still upset.

On our way back to MoBay after our second trip, we noticed the island at CTI and asked the driver what it was. We stopped the car and got out as he explained about the au natural life of the island. Syl and I looked at each other, eyes wide open. “When we get back, see if Couples is on that list of resorts”, I said to her. The rest is history.

The first two trips were truly a much needed break from reality. Beautiful grounds, wonderful people, great food. All scrumptious.

But our first Couples experience was so incredible, so over the top, that by the time we left after seven days, we had already caught Couplesitis Adorium. It would be many years before I was able to gain some insight into this frightening malady. In a paper I wrote later in 2013, I described what can happen to an unsuspecting traveler.

Couplesitis Adorum is an insidious affliction that travelers to the particular tropical destination known as Jamaica, have come face to face with. The situation has no basis in the scientific community, for theirs is the study of absolutes and testing and proofs towards a positive result. This malady has none of that. And even more disturbing is that this terrible thing preys on the naïve vacation goer and the consequences can be catastrophic.

Every trip we make still makes us feel the way we did so long ago. There have been many changes in twenty years. But the one thing that still remains is that delicious feeling you get when you walk into the lobby of your favorite Couples resort. There is nothing like being “home” with friends and family. Nothing like it at all.