I returned from vacation a week ago today and things have been hectic ever since, with trying to get caught up on things at home and work.
I’m sure many of you have already seen by now that my vacation wasn’t exactly as planned.
I’ll start by saying that it had been three years since Jerry and I last went on vacation, for our honeymoon in 2013. Since then, we’d been dreaming of going on another cruise and had been saving up ever since. We decided we’d take one last vacation sans Caleb since he’s currently the perfect age to leave at home with his grandparents (almost two). Our reasoning was that he’s young enough to not really care that we were going without him, but old enough that he wouldn’t be too difficult for my parents to take care of.
So, how did our last child-free vacation go? Umm… a bit disappointing? Just a bit!
We’ll start with the Friday before we left. It was a super fun day and night. We both took off from work and had a mini getaway with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and nephews. About 30 minutes from us is a hotel with an indoor water park that the boys really love so we went and all spent the night. The kids had a blast, we all had a really nice dinner, and we got a crib for Caleb which he did great in. Aside from a traumatizing moment in which I slipped while holding Caleb in the hot tub and he briefly went under water, it was an absolutely wonderful time and our vacation was off to a great start. Even though I am still traumatized from that split second of terror. Ahem.The next day, Jerry and I were on our way to Florida! Our flights were early and smooth, and our grandparents picked us up from the airport. We spent the next two nights at their house, relaxing and spending time with them. It was really nice… until I woke up at 4 am on Monday (the day we were leaving for our cruise), and was very sick with diarrhea and nausea. I got progressively worse as the morning went on with dizziness and fatigue. Despite that, we decided to still take the short drive to the Port of Tampa and go on our cruise. Just two minutes into our drive, I threw up into a bucket, but still, I said “let’s go!” since our cruise was non-refundable and I didn’t want us to all lose out on our money.
You know how when you throw up, you usually feel better for a bit? Well, I felt GREAT for the rest of the drive and was excited to cruise. I thought the worst of it was over but I was SO wrong. Like, laughably so.
We got to the port, parked in the garage, and then proceeded to exit to the port. I had made it only a few steps when the horrible feeling came back again. I was so incredibly dizzy and sweaty but I managed to make it to the elevator, which I had to squat in the whole time. We made it down, and when I stepped outside and off the elevator, I literally could not take another step. We were SO close to the port, but I couldn’t move. I sat down on the ground and proceeded to throw up again all over. Me, being the stubborn person that I am, STILL said I was going on the cruise… I just wasn’t sure how exactly I’d take the couple hundred steps needed to get to the port and board. When my grandparents asked the port employees if we could get a ride on their golf cart, they went and got their manager. When she came down and saw the state I was in, sprawled out on the sidewalk beside a puddle of vomit, she insisted on calling 911. Even though I was hesitant, it was the right thing to do since I physically could not stand or walk.
The paramedics arrived and hooked me up to all kinds of monitors and machines. When they had me stand and saw that my blood pressure and heart rate got all wonky when standing, they suggested I go the ER. It was at this time that we started to think we would not be getting onto that ship. Another ambulance arrived and they loaded me up then proceeded to administer IV fluids and medication. Jerry rode in the front and my grandparents drove separately to Tampa General Hospital. This was my FIRST ever ambulance ride and ER visit and it was happening in another state ON MY WAY TO A CRUISE. Oh Lawd, my luck you guys… awful! The two paramedics were outstanding though. Funny and compassionate, and we discovered that one of them had a friend in Rochester (where I’m from). What are the odds?
We got to the hospital and I laid around on the stretcher for a bit. Again, everyone at the hospital was fantastic and the paramedics stuck around until I got in a room. We discovered that the secretary has family in Rochester, too. What even?!
I got into a room and was hooked up to more machines. Seriously, later I peeled off SO many stickers from my body. They did some blood work and a pregnancy test (I know what you’re all thinking, especially since I was sick at work a couple of weeks ago, and nope… still not pregnant). I was given more fluids and medication and started to feel a bit better. The time kept on ticking though, guys. Boarding for the cruise was from 1-3 and it was creeping closer and closer to 3, even though we originally arrived at the port at noon. We had all given up hope of making our cruise, except for me, the violently ill, stubborn as a mule one! I called the cruise line and discovered that if we could make it by 3:30, we would be able to board.
We waited around for my test results to come back. The entire staff from the secretary to the doctors to the nurses were SO understanding and they wanted me to get on that cruise, dammit! They went as fast as they could, and as soon as my blood test came back and everything looked good, they had me sign an Against Medical Advice form and released me with some medication, before I had even finished my bag of IV fluids. They unhooked me, let me get dressed, and we hopped in my grandparent’s car at 3:15 and said “step on it!”
(A quick aside about the people of Tampa, FL. I am so amazed by how wonderful every single person was that we dealt with. The parking garage and port staff, all 7 or so of the paramedics, and the entire hospital staff were incredible and compassionate. They made an awful experience just a bit better and I even wrote to the hospital on Facebook to thank them).
We literally got to the ship at 3:30. I felt temporarily good because I was all loaded up on fluid and medication and running on adrenaline. As we walked toward the ship and saw that the door was still open, I told Jerry, “there is NO way they’re not letting us on now! We made it!” Mind you, I started this trek in my rubber soled hospital socks because we were in such a rush. We quickly checked in and as we passed the threshold and heard a Carnival staff member say “you just made it!” I felt a huge sense of relief.
Now, this is getting a bit long, so I’ll cut it short for now and write more about the actual cruise later this week… stay tuned!
Below is a sneak peak of what I spent most of my time doing on the cruise… don’t be jealous… it’s exhilarating!