D1602 – Medical Timeout

My Island Hopping cruise, D1602, sailed back into Southampton a week ago today, very early in the morning. So early, I was back in my house by around 8:30 in the morning, something of a record. Despite a week going by:

  • my cases remain unpacked
  • nearly all the mail that arrived while I was away remains unopened
  • none of the things I promised to do for people on my return have been done
  • the final post for this cruise promised nine days ago remains unwritten
  • not a single photograph has been selected for the cruise photograph album (I have one printed for each cruise I make)

So what has happened to cause so much not to happen?

During the last few days of the cruise I had what I thought at the time was a simple head cold – I was sneezing, my nose ran, my throat was a bit sore – nothing unusual, and I hadn’t even bothered to mention it in my last post, D1602 – Third time extremely lucky.

On our last full day at sea my sore throat had eased, so I thought good, I was getting over the head cold just as I would have expected. The morning we docked however, I had all but lost my voice. I drove my friend Barbara down to catch her ferry, and on the way home stopped to buy a few things to eat, but I didn’t want to stop to do a big shop as I was feeling increasingly weak and unwell.

Basically I came home, took to my bed and have been there ever since, give or take a couple of visits to the doctor’s surgery. My throat was on fire, my head in a vice, most of the time I was burning up (except when I was shivering), my chest and throat hurt from coughing up horrible stuff, my brain was in a fog and I couple barely keep awake. After a day or two my eyes started to gunge up, and I had to bathe them clear whenever I staggered to the bathroom. At least it kept the light out of my light sensitive eyes!

It is so ingrained in us these days not to bother a doctor with a head cold, that it took several days before I accepted this really isn’t how I normally am with a cold, and that I needed to see a doctor. By setting my alarm clock and phoning the second my surgery opened, I managed to secure one of the ‘released on the day’ appointments – needed as I hadn’t had the foresight to book an appointment several weeks ago, which is the alternative.

The doctor was clearly very concerned at my symptoms, not least when I told her where I had been on cruises this year – for example Brazil & it’s rainforest, the Tropics, African islands etc. Fortunately she discounted Zika as I didn’t have a rash, but did send me to see the nurse to have blood taken for urgent tests. Meanwhile she prescribed drops for my eyes.

Lunchtime the next day the doctor phoned me herself with the blood test results. Good news – I didn’t have Malaria, but the inflammatory markers where way high, and on hearing I was coughing up a lot more she wanted me seen that afternoon by her colleague. He listened to my story, and examined me thoroughly, before prescribing a week-long course of antibiotics. He admitted they didn’t know what the infection was, or even whether it was bacterial or viral. I’m to return to the doctor if my condition doesn’t significantly improve after taking the antibiotics, or if my condition deteriorates further in the mean time.

Around half way through the course, where am I at? The worst of my symptoms have eased, for example I now have headaches rather than my whole head feeling like it’s held tight in a vice, and I can now stay awake for a few hours at a time. Just putting together this post (a little bit at a time) would have been totally beyond me last week. But I am still in bed, and far from well, hence the long list of things not yet done.

My posts are usually about the fun side of travelling to distant lands and exotic places by cruise ships. I’m sorry that this one isn’t, but it does show that there can be a downside to all this travel too. Fingers crossed I am on the mend now, and hopefully it won’t be long before that promised final post on the Island Hopping cruise appears!





3 thoughts on “D1602 – Medical Timeout

  1. Oh dear…poor you Graham. It sounds very unpleasant and we hope that you are feeling a lot more comfortable now? Not a great way to conclude a great tour. On the other hand, I’d leave all the mail where it is – you must have a father Christmas sack full. Maybe the snooker is either not your scene or not comfortable to watch? but some nice tea ( from memory I am not sure of you like it?) and a bit of snooker could help Take care Graham….please let us know when you are picking up and have a speedy recovery now Love Anne and John

    Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2016 16:43:22 +0000 To: john_neugebauer@msn.com


    1. Thank you both for your care and concern. To remind you, one of my many quirks is that I don’t drink tea, or any other hot drink. But yes, I am doing my best to keep hydrated – with water and the occasional fruit juice. TV-wise, more to my taste at present is a wildlife or travel program – nothing too taxing on the brain, and always one I have recorded in case I don’t take in something or I simply fall asleep. I’ll keep you posted of my progress. Love and best wishes Graham


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