Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cruise 2012: in which pneumonia strikes

After not sleeping well again, I was up very early on Sunday 10/21/21. We both coughed all night. I went down to the medic and explained about the lost bag (which really did contain a full, brand-new sealed bottle of Nyquil) and my yearly chronic cough (which I haven’t had in years, this cough was acute) and got a small bottle of cough syrup free. I went upstairs and dosed Will with it. It was green and horrible. I wanted him to go to the medic for real but he said he was afraid they’d put him off the boat for having “flu-like symptoms” and refused to go.
I gathered my lost luggage paperwork and headed to the Guest Services help desk and spent a lovely hour there winning friends and influencing people. Oh that’s right, that was Toad Purse making friends, not me. It turned out that our Carnival Cruise protection plan actually covered the airline losing the luggage. If the luggage wasn’t located in a timely manner, or if I needed to purchase replacement items before it was found, Carnival would pay me back. Even if I had to buy $100 more worth of new snorkel equipment. They gave me two toiletries kits (just to add to my gallon of existing stuff) and a voucher for free cleaning because somehow I packed only shirts in my carry-on and all my pants in the duffel bag. I had the cargo pants I wore on the plane, and another pair of capris, and some spandex bike shorts. That was it.
We had arranged to meet our friends for lunch. Will could barely walk or breathe. I asked if he wanted to go to the medic and he said no. We headed the length of the ship to the back, found our friends, picked up plates for the buffet--and Will said, “I need the doctor.” Put down the plates, walk back to the front of the boat and down from level 9 to 0 and the doctor’s closed until 3. My poor husband was doubled over half dead. I found a crew member and told him it was a real emergency, that Will couldn’t breathe, and he called someone and the medical people arrived and swarmed him. They had him in their little sick-bay bed almost immediately, oxygen tubes up his nose, IV in his arm, then a mask over his face to administer medicine. His oxygen saturation level was only 86 (should be 98 or 99 percent).
 I stayed for a while but I was useless and in the way, and the nurses said he’d be there until at least 3 p.m., so I left to go to the 24 hour pizzeria and see if I could find our friends (I couldn’t, and I couldn’t remember their room number to call them). I came back at 3 to see if he was ready to go. He wasn’t. I thought we’d make it to formal night and he’d get his lobster. We didn’t. He wasn’t allowed to walk. He wasn’t allowed on shore the next day. They had to call for a wheelchair. They called at 5 and it didn’t come until 5:45 and our dinner seating was at 6 so there was no way we could make the formal night since we needed to shower (I’d gone in the salt water pool early in the morning and my hair was crusty, for one thing).
Will had multiple breathing treatments, antibiotics through the IV, pure oxygen up his nose, and his level was only in the low 90s. The nurse said that if he’d gone into an emergency room in the U.S. with his symptoms, he would have been admitted. They said he could go to the hospital in Mexico the next day but obviously we didn’t want that, and they also thought he’d probably get better care staying on the ship. (My friend, who is a triage nurse at an ER, said that the prices on the ship were really very cheap and it would be cheaper to get a physical there than in the U.S. without insurance!) He had two chest x-rays on their crappy little machine and he had pneumonia in one lung. The bill was $800, charged to our on-board account (also known as our Discover card). The nurse pronounced him “a very sick man” and made me feel slightly guilty for not staying at his side all day.
 In lieu of formal night’s lobster and steak, my husband had a sandwich from room service and I had more pizza. When I came back he complained that his room service sandwich had been too small and I walked back up to deck 9 to get him another one from the deli; it was a bigger, better sandwich with more meat, he said.
I was still angry over the loss of our bag. I found a flyer that said if you applied for a Carnival Fun Points credit card you’d get a free backpack. I filled out the app and climbed up to deck 5 (we were on 2) and got 2 free backpacks so I’d have a small bag when I went ashore for cameras, water, etc., since my tote bag was MIA inside the duffel. I have no idea if we got the credit card or not and honestly I don’t care, I only wanted the backpacks. They also gave me 2 lanyards for our Carnival IDs and punched mine so I could use the lanyard.
I found the bakery and bought a giant piece of chocolate cake for $2. It did not make me feel better.
The medics had already said the only way Will was going ashore in Cozumel was en route to the hospital. I was worried about our excursion to Xunatunich the next day in Belize; it was a long bus ride and then hours of walking around Mayan ruins and climbing the pyramid. I didn’t want to go alone. (Our friends went to Altun Ha, which we already visited on a previous trip in 2003. Or maybe they went cave tubing. Either way, not with us.) I was worried if Will’s breathing got bad he’d end up in a Belize hospital, and who wants to be in a hospital in a country with only 3 stop lights. In the WHOLE COUNTRY. I can’t imagine what their jaguar-to-stop-light ratio is but I bet it’s very high. 
I stopped by the excursions desk and noted that there were no refunds within 24 hours of an excursion if cancelled and only 25% refund if cancelled with more than a day’s notice. I showed them the $800 bill saying PNEUMONIA and they agreed to cancel Xunatunich for a full refund if necessary. So no Mayan pyramid in Belize for me this trip. :(
I stopped at the Guest Services desk to check on the bag. They said it was sitting in DC, having never made the plane. I was somehow completely unsurprised by that. But it was going to be sent to Cozumel, and someone from Carnival would pick it up and transport it to our room as soon as we arrived in Cozumel at 7 a.m. the next morning.

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