I was scheduled to join my favorite, small, yacht-like ship PEARL MIST on May 6th in Portland and today be on my way to Rockland, Maine. But things didn’t quite work out as planned. May 3rd I was rushing around getting ready to hop on the Airporter Bus for Seattle to spend a few nights with my daughter and her family before flying off to Maine and a summer on PEARL MIST doing the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes.
As I try to recall it’s a little blurry, as it was then. I must have fallen or gotten down to look under the bed for something and started shaking and shivering more than an ex-Panamanian dealing with NW weather.. When I tried to get up I could not, and I couldn’t even crawl. My wife tried to help but I was dead weight. I knew that something was definitely not right. Worried that I might be having a stroke and knowing that the first hour is the “golden hour” in which to get treatment I told Nikki, “I think we ought to call the ambulance.” She did and it seemed almost immediately our local fire department was in the driveway, I’m told, with two ambulances, an engine, and six EMTs.
Here it gets really hazy. I do remember in the ER room at the local hospital watching them pull out what looked like a regular old defibrillator and shocking me. It hurt, yes, but it wasn’t like being tased which is what I’d thought it would feel like, not that I’ve ever been tased. I remember being quite pissed because they kept doing it. The ER people told my wife I even asked, “Why do you keep shocking me?” Later I would find out that I flat-lined five times. Here I had a golden opportunity to explore the “white light” – What are accommodations like? Who’s here and who’s not, and who’s here that I don’t think should be? And was the music Bach or Gaither? And I missed the opportunity, bitching about being shocked.
It was decided that I needed to have a pacemaker and they installed a temporary one, which was replaced the next day. It’s in my left shoulder so I have strict orders that I can’t do much of anything with my right arm for the next month.
It gets even more wacky.
Nikki, my loving wife, came to visit me … slipped and fell in the hospital lobby and ended up breaking her leg. So, it turned out we spend our 48th wedding anniversary in the same hospital with both of my daughters, who literally dropped their busy lives to help us out, coming to visit and shuffle our three dogs. I did some research online curious as to what the traditional 48th anniversary gift was. Couldn’t find much maybe because most people don’t make it that long. I did find a coffee mug imprinted with “Holy Shit! Still married.” A bottle of rum would be a better idea. Anyway, we settled for matching pairs of no-slip hospital socks.
I hate to have left my friends on PEARL MIST in the lurch not just in the start of a new season, but on the first cruise after the Covid-pause, but they have been very gracious and understanding.
I feel OK … tired but my daughter assures me that I may think I”m OK, but my body has been through a lot and it takes time for the medications to wear off. I’m hoping to be able to rejoin the ship later in the season, probably in Milwaukee, for the Great Lakes and Fall Foliage cruises.