Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October 13 - Sydney, NS

Mom and Dad love you!


Colonized by the British in 1785, Sydney, Nova Scotia has a population of about 180,000 and is the center of a significant coal mining industry.  Frankly, we remain clueless as to how this port of call came to be included on the Spirit’s itinerary.  In the daily newsletter published onboard, the writers were having a very difficult time coming up with attractions that would entice passengers to buy one of their expensive excursions, and those who did were not reporting anything special ashore.  The only things listed in the newsletter were an old fort, the summer home of Alexander Graham Bell and the world’s largest fiddle!  These were definitely yawners for us, so we elected to stay on the ship for the day.  However, the paucity of sightseeing venues was not the deciding factor in our decision, unfortunately.

Shortly after midnight this morning, I awakened shivering, with chills and fever.  My first thought was that our worst fear had come true—that one of us would contract the flu or even worse, the swine flu—while aboard ship.  Like everybody else, I guess, we were thoroughly spooked by all the media coverage for the last year or so.  Feeling really lousy, I was convinced that I had contracted the dreaded H1N1 virus and that I might have to be buried at sea!  (Isn’t it funny how you always think the worst?)  Sandy, of course, was so frantic that she had entered a low earth orbit; she had already begun to inquire as to what flights might be available out of Sydney to take us back to Texas.  In the meantime, she declared that I would be seeing a doctor, and she could only wait, nervously pacing around the room, until the ship’s infirmary opened.

I was quickly seen by a female doctor of Scandinavian descent, dressed in a crisp white officer’s uniform.  She was very friendly and efficient, giving me a thorough exam and finding that I had a temperature of 101.  (I think it probably had been higher than that, but Sandy poked some Tylenol in my mouth earlier.)  We were quite relieved to hear that I did not have the swine flu or any kind of flu, for that matter.  The doctor said this was likely a 24-hour virus that was going round, and she gave me a shot, prescribing bed rest and giving me two packages of medication to take for the next couple of days. 

After the injection and my ingestion of some of the pills the doctor gave me, I began to feel much better rather quickly and, by mid-afternoon, the only lingering symptoms were a little weakness and loss of appetite.  We were both so relieved and thankful that the doctor’s diagnosis apparently had been right on the mark.  I don’t know what kind of virus it was, but it was a nasty little bug; I’m glad it didn’t last long.  I went back to our cabin and slept for a while, but I didn’t exactly stay in bed all day as the doctor had suggested.   Sandy was highly disapproving of my blatant disregard for the doctor’s orders and communicated that disapproval with the regularity of a cuckoo clock.  I was only able to gain release from my captivity by convincing her that it would be inexcusable for me not to call Mindy today and wish her a happy birthday.  To do that, I reminded her, would require going to an upper deck where we could get a cell phone signal.

While there, I was feeling well enough to write and post the day’s journal entry, an activity carefully monitored by a frowning Sandy, who I think was expecting me to relapse unexpectedly into a coma at any moment.  I really felt much better, but I was not particularly hungry at dinner, which annoyed me greatly as it was lobster night!  As we went to the dining room, Sandy was still frowning and holding her cell phone at the ready with the ship’s doctor on speed dial, but I made it fine, although I could only pick at my food.  What a shame.

Attempting to keep as close to the doctor’s orders as possible, Sandy marched me back to our cabin after dinner and ordered me into bed, where we watched a movie and fell asleep fairly early.  I guess I’m not that good a patient when it comes to following orders, but I still think I didn’t get away with much today, thanks to my dear, loving wife, who takes better care of me than I deserve.

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