Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All Aboard Germs!

It was ridiculous. Laughable, really. But not at the time.

My family and I went on a 7-day cruise last week. We boarded the ship at noon on Saturday and were immediately met by a woman from the health department handing out health forms. The form was quite simple; it asked us if we had experienced any of the following symptoms in the previous 7 days: stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, etc.

Since Linda and Dave were both too weak from their stomach aches, vomiting, diarrhea and fevers to hold a pencil, I took the liberty of completing their forms for them.

Let me step back....It all started with my daughter Kimmy, who just returned from Europe with a not so sweet souvenir: one extremely nasty intestinal bug, which bit her on Thursday.

In retrospect, we probably should have stayed at a hotel on Friday night, but instead we brought our germ infested daughter to my unsuspecting friend Sue’s home in Jacksonville. Sue prepared a marvelous feast for my home-cooking-deprived family which was consumed without abandon. At 2 a.m. Linda woke me up to tell me she was sick.

For some reason, Linda likes company when she throws up. So I sat with her at the foot of the toilet, with one eye open and both nostrils closed. After several rounds, I felt a toothbrush was in order. It was when I went to the other bathroom to grab toothpaste that I noticed Dave was simultaneously tossing his cookies. (Thankfully, Dave prefers privacy while puking.)

It was a long night for the 3 of us.  But I was full of empathy. 

“Come on, guys! Get it out of your system! We’ve got a ship to board in 10 hours!!”

Sue and her family slept through the excitement. But she warned us, through her protective face mask, that we would have to fill out a health form at the port. “You have to lie about being sick, or they won’t let you board the ship,” she warned. Left unspoken, “because you can’t come back here…

 So I drove the debilitated duo and the convalescing Kimmy 2 ½ hours to the port and led the sickly bunch into the terminal for check in. 

“Pull it together! Stop looking so sick! And, whatever you do, don’t barf!”

We decided to find a spot for Dave and Linda to rest while Kimmy and I waited in line.

When we got to the front of the line we handed the health forms to the lady. “Where’s the rest of you?”

“Oh...you need to see David and Linda? They’re over there, lying on the floor. They’re just tired. Didn’t get enough sleep last night”

“Oh yes! They always have that slight green tint to their faces. It’s comes from my husband’s side of the family.”

They somehow stumbled their way to the counter, and with some subtle encouragement from me (an elbow to the side and a kick in the shin) they gave the required feeble grunts. The woman shook her head pathetically and allowed us to board the ship.

By Monday they were all feeling well enough to enjoy the cruise. Then it was my turn. But it was payback.

"Linda....I need some company".

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