When I walked off the ship, and headed towards the car, my first thought about my first cruise was, “never again.” In fact, for a good week afterwards, I told people, “yeah, I had a nice time, but cruising isn’t my thing.” Now before my friends and family (aka travel companions) start a flurry of calls that sound a lot like, “wait, I thought she said she enjoyed the cruise. Did something happen?” let me explain by starting at the very beginning. As Julie Andrews taught us, “it’s a very good place to start.”
The trip started with an overnight stay in Galveston, Texas. We arrived the day before to avoid the stress of trying to drive there the day of the trip, and we’d booked a room at Ginger’s. I’m not sure who Ginger is other than a lovely hostess on Airbnb who had a lovely home that she loved to fumigate with the lovely smell of multiple scentsys. This is important later.
That first night we piled into cars and headed out on the town to enjoy some lovely downtown Galveston seafood fare at a restaurant recommended by Ginger, whom it turns out is clearly a lot more patient when it comes to navigating torn up/destroyed streets and detours, and who also, unbeknownst to any of us, had some vendetta against me. This is important later. The food was decent – not amazing, and in hindsight likely added to the next part of the story, but we had a great time. Everyone was excited. We were setting sail the next day!
We headed back to Ginger’s, which still looked rather unassuming at this point. I opened the door, walked in, and fell into Ginger’s scentsy pungent aromatic punji trap house of horrors, which immediately began assaulting my head. My frontal sinuses seized up, and the whole front of my head was on fire. Not to be outdone, my heart began racing uncontrollably. I couldn’t be in the house, and I dramatically exited hoping fresh air would help. I was now “that girl” and I hated being “that girl.” I wanted to be the girl that drank wine while sitting around on the couch laughing and telling stories. She seemed way more fun to be around.
I could feel my pulse as if each beat of my heart wanted to explode through my skin, and I could hear it – that whooshing sounds you hear on an ultrasound. I started taking deep breaths, releasing each one slowly, which had exactly zero affect on my heart rate.
Now, I’m lucky to have a lot of people with medical experience in my life. Smart people. People who are just a tiny phone call away, and I thought “why don’t you call…” and I didn’t. Here’s why: When I got back from the cruise, mentioned what had happened, said I nearly called, their response was, “I would have told you to go to a hospital. Your heart rate shouldn’t have been that high for that length of time” (over an hour). Well, I knew you guys would say that, and so I played a very risky game with my health to not be “that girl” who ruined everyone’s cruise by landing in the hospital the night before. Easily not the smartest thing I’ve done, but there it is. I didn’t want to be “the story.” And nearly a year after I destroyed my ACL and MCL, I couldn’t take what I saw as another hit. Nearly a year and a half after Jay died, I just couldn’t have another major thing blow-up and disappear. I just wanted to go on a flipping cruise like a normal human being. I mean sure, I wouldn’t have flipped the coffee table if I hadn’t been able to go. I would have started flipping cars (or making a really good go at it while my friends stood around watching silently with a, “what is she… is she trying to flip the car? Are you just going to let her? I’m not going to say anything. Ok. Well, let’s just stand here until she runs out of steam? How long do you think…? Be cool. She’s glaring at us. You go, girl! You got this! WHOOO! Beth!!! Psst, dude this is really awkward.”)
While I was outside, my fellow travelers (aka friends and family) went around and disarmed Ginger’s little olfactory booby traps that had ambushed my entire face. Then about two to three hours later I owed everyone in the house an apology as my body rejected every single toxin it had encountered. Sorry part a thousand, guys!
That’s how I started the cruise, and seven days later it still bothered me deeply. When asked along the trip which stories I would tell, this always had to be the first. It sets up my initial knee-jerk reaction, but there’s always more to a story, and there’s more to this one.
Welcome to cruise installments! (That’s right fellow cruisers, I’m dragging this bad boy out after making you wait and wade through gym stories! You’re welcome!)