Monday, May 23, 2011

Off We Go on Our Transatlantic Crossing! Uh-Oh

Seven of us set off on our transatlantic crossing April 23 from Port Canaveral on the Norwegian Sun destined for Copenhagen with several stops in between.  Our group included my father, my Uncle Les and his long time girlfriend Jane as well as three of my friends, Marsha, Alice and Carolyn.  It would be a 6 day crossing before we expected to be at our first port in the Azores.

I expected a leisurely 6 day stess free crossing of eating, socializing and a little gambling.

Wrong.  Unbeknownst to me this was just the beginning of the daughter trip from hell.

Less than 12 hours out into the Atlantic Dad became sick.  Took him to the infirmary where this hateful doctor informed us it was only a first aid facility. That did not make either of us very comfortable (actually scared the bejeezus out of me but didn't want dad to know.  The doctor never even got out of his chair, spoke to us from another room sitting in front of his computer. AND we had just started out into the open Atlantic).  He told dad to rest.

So later that day I come bebopping to dad's room with a tray full of food to find him shaking violently, can't get warm, teeth chattering.  I have NEVER seen anyone shake like that.  I call my uncle for help (which wasn't my best idea), call the ship's infirmary and get Mayo Clinic on the ship to shore phone.  (As I said earlier, I wasn't too confident in the doctor onboard.)  My uncle shows up while I am on phone with Mayo and starts yelling down the hall that we needed help, his brother was dying. 

Right about that time, I aged an additional 10 years. 

The hateful doctor showed up, said dad could spend night in infirmary where he would be on call, so that idea went out the window. Spoke to Mayo doctor on call (of course it was a Sunday so Dad's usual doctor could not be found adding to my stress.) Amazingly after we gave dad a couple tylenol and had him stop taking some medication he had been prescribed, his symptoms subsided.  He was having a violent reaction to the medication he had been given 5 days earlier.  We were told to go to the infirmary the next day which I dreaded and couldn't sleep most of night because I  was scared to death what would happen next. 

Did I mention that my dad is 88......

Next day a miracle happened. We met Dr. Modesto, the OTHER doctor on board.  Wonderful, kind, concerned, competent, thorough, took us to a real examining room.  Thank God.  Unfortunately, she had to tell dad that if his INR didn't improve they were going to have to DIVERT the ship to Bermuda and put him off.  His response:  Holy Sh..!

Did I mention that my dad is on blood thinners........

Next day we go to infirmary again, dad upset, doesn't want to get off ship, doctor kind but firm but dad gets a break.  His INR improves so he gets a pass until the first scheduled stop in Azores but we have to keep checking in to test his blood.  His does fine for a few days then gets the infection he had back again which is why Mayo had given him the original prescription in the first place.

Now what!!!!!

They email Mayo, decide to try something else and the infirmary visits continue and continue and continue. I won't bore you with the details but by the time my dad left for home we had been to the doctor a total of 15 times.  That number, however, includes the visit to the emergency room in England when he fell after he decided to climb a fence, but that is another story............

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