450 Passengers and 1 Frog

Well, the  long stretch of perfect health In  My Year of Living Travelly came to a screeching halt after five months.

I gave a lecture two days ago despite a sore and scratchy throat and  figured I would shake it off, as I usually do. This cold virus had other plans for me.

Since then, I had to beg out of hosting a dinner table and being a panelist on Liars Club, which I love doing. I missed out on a  zodiac adventure yesterday and a shore excursion I really wanted to do today, and have  been holed up listlessly in my room, venturing out only for a cup of tea or something to nibble on with no enthusiasm.

Those of you who have known me from my leaching days are probably aware that a few years back I developed chronic inflammation and swelling of the supporting structure for my vocal cords, which causes  them not to line up the way they should  to produce a strong voice.  It was a severe enough problem that I had to give up my full-time teaching jobs several years before I planned to, since I simply cannot project my voice well, or for very long.

Cruise lecturing is fine because I have a headset mike planted right next to my mouth and I don’t have to speak for more than 45 minutes a couple of times a week.  The hardest part for me has always been dinner at large tables, since  projecting my voice enough to converse feels similar to the strain of yelling with a healthy voice.   I often go back to my room quite hoarse after dinner, but I have generally recovered by morning.

But not when a cold makes things worse.  If I talk at all in the early stages, I set myself up for the almost  dead certainty of a couple of days  with total laryngitis.  I’m hiding out now not just because I feel like crap, but because I don’t want to have to use my voice at all for the chit chat that is part of life on a ship.

So far so good.  I sound like a frog, but I am not down to a squeak. This self-imposed quarantine has also been good for the other passengers as well, since ships have often been called floating petri dishes, and hopefully I won’t spread this around.

This cold came on so soon after the start of the second cruise that I have met almost no one.  No dinners, no shore excursions, no team trivia after the first two days.  This is a weird one so far,  but since the cruise is a full two weeks, I will still have some time to be my usual self and have fun with the folks on board.

The good news is that I don’t have a lecture for two more days, nor another table to host for three. The bad news is that I am missing Alaska!  Lucky for me I saw a lot on the leg from Vancouver to Seward, and  the new ports are at the end in British Columbia, when presumably I will be my old self again.

One of my unanswered questions about My Year of  Living Travelly was if getting sick would put a damper on my enthusiasm and make me wish I could go home. I now have my answer, at least for something as minor as a cold: If you have to crawl into a cave for a few days, why not do it in  a bed with fantastic linens and fluffy pillows, a cabin steward, and room service? Sure, being sick is no fun, but my life is as good as ever.