The Retirees at Sea – Influenza

After a lovely day in Warnemunde and a session of cards and board games we went to dinner. I had been feeling light headed during the afternoon and had no apetite for dinner nor any wish for the after dinner show. We returned to our cabin. There was a full moon as we sailed from Warnemunde (I think it was Warnemunde) and I took my last photos for a couple of days. It was cloudy grey and despite the full moon darkening – just how I felt.

At sometime during the night I started vomiting and had tremendous stomach pain felt hot and the room was swimming. This went on till morning and throughout the next day. The ship was sailing for Oslo in Norway and I had no ability to do anything other than lie in bed. I was now hallucinating, feverish, vomiting and had diarrhea. Kerry nursed me as best she could with a damp washer to bring down my fever. For three days I hallucinated, ate chicken soup, drank water and fitfully slept while Kerry did what she could for me whilst staying sane with short trips from our cabin.

We had plans for Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm all of which were forsaken by Kerry to remain caring for me. After the 3rd day I was able to rise and visit the Infirmary where the doctor confirmed I had influenza and prescribed Tamiflu medication and a half dose for Kerry just to ensure she did not succomb. When in public (travelling to the infirmary each day for tests as to my fitness for my ongoing journey) I had to wear a mask, but otherwise I was confined to my cabin – in isolation. A biohazzard team would visit each day to disinfect the cabin.

So there I remained. Gradually the vomiting and diarrhea ceased but the hallucinations continued until my fever broke. I tried to rise for Copenhagen but there was no chance and Stockholm was the same although I did try and sat outside the cabin on our deck for a short time. Strangely they had an unusual wharf system (at least I think it was Stockholm) and I used my camera for the first time in 3 days.

Kerry was now becoming worried what might happen should my fever not break before Helsinki and our return flight home. She researched hotels in Helsinki and found one within the airport terminal. I was still unable to eat solid food or leave the cabin except for my morning and evening trip to the infirmary. As we sailed into the harbour I was feeling as though something had changed. The hallucinations had stopped and I had a reasonable night sleeping. So I opened the cabin door on our balcony to breath in some of the cool artic air and took these photos of the islands sheltering Helsinki, the multi coloured dressing cabins on one of the outer islands and at last the harbour.

On the morning we docked at Helsinki my fever broke and this was confirmed by the doctor who declared I was no longer infectious and free to go. We were last to leave the ship and Kerry and I travelled directly to the airport to locate the hotel, book a day bed and allow me to rest until our flight very late that night. My fever may have broken but I was weakened by the illness so much so that I slept from Helsinki to Singapore, and again from Singapore to Melbourne and finally home to Brisbane.

So despite the sour end we had a great time and the moral of the story is always have travel insurance!

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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.