Queen Victoria (Iberian Highlights)
The first sea day as we tootled between Palma and Malaga.  Typically, on the day for a lie-in, I woke up too bloody early.  I could hear Creepy Charles in his cabin 2 doors away laughing at something as I tried getting back to sleep, getting up later and going for a walk on deck.  It was a beautiful day.  One thing I love about Cunard is the blowing of the noon whistle.  Inside, the bell is rung but no one is paying attention to it or the announcement following it.  Lunch in the Lido.  Despite a food allergy, there is always plenty of choice.  As I headed back to my cabin, I noticed fencing in the Queens Room.  Charles was watching after the waltz lessons despite a few days before claiming he's a great dancer.  He immediately chased after me, showing everything he highlighted in the Daily Programme, with particular attention to the Masonic Meeting at 3pm, with a huge grin on his face.  I carried on walking when he suddenly announced he was celibate and expected me to be impressed.  Shopping and they didn't have some stuff but said they would be restocking in Southampton so I'd try again in January.  A quick pop to the Golden Lion for a drink to take across the road to my cabin.  Jean was in there and told me Charles had been coming onto the women at the singles meet.  A few hours later, I began feeling unwell.  Awful pain in my abdomen.  Tried to sleep to see if that helped but it didn't.  It was formal night and Patricia knocked on my door to ask if I were going to the Captain's booze-up.  I had my photo with the Captain, listened to his speech then waited for Patricia.  We had a new face at the table.  Ellen I think she said, born in Liverpool but grew up in Port Elizabeth so South Africa was the only home she really knew.  She was something to do with one of the jewellery shops.  Unfortunately, I had to excuse myself during first course as I really wasn't well.  It hurt to eat.  I crawled into bed and stayed there.
The first of two ports on the 8th beginning with Malaga before arriving in Gibraltar around 11pm.  I was still feeling unwell but after seeing Aegean Odyssey through my window in the lovely dawn, threw on some clothes and went up one deck for photos then returned to bed to hibernate until I felt better.  It took until sailaway before I did, though still had abdominal pain, but not as bad.  Hopefully that was the end of it.  I didn't want to be medevaced due to that bastard surgeon ignoring my hernia 7 months.  I went to the Lido for the first food since leaving dinner.  I saw Ellen in the jewellery shop afterwards and apologised for the night before.  She told me I looked very ashen at the table.  She wouldn't be joining us as there was a champagne reception but would the following night.  I was welcomed back to the table and managed to get through dinner, except the beef which wasn't how I liked it, but returned to the cabin afterwards until Gibraltar was in sight. I felt I was ready for anything so ordered the room service club sandwich.

My plans for a little walk to the gardens were scuppered by pain again.  It crossed my mind the cause was the now chicken club sandwich but had the first one more than 24 hours before getting ill the first time.  Oriana was due to join us so I struggled on deck for fresh air and see if I could get her.  I couldn't stay for her docking due to the crippling abdominal pains so went back for a lie down.  I made it back up for our own sailaway two hours later and finally the Captain blew the horn, but not much.  Then back to bed.  Shortly afterwards there was an announcement about a medevac but I have no idea whether we went back to the dock or a helicopter came to us.  We hit rough weather which normally doesn't affect me and I love but it made me worse.

The day I'd been looking forward to the most as I would be meeting my friends Jeff Chaffee and John-Paul Evans, who were on Jewel of the Seas, in Lisbon but I was more sick and in pain with my hernia than ever.  I had to call for a doctor after 6 lots of vomiting, but a male nurse called James came out who wrongly diagnosed seasickness despite speaking to the doctor on the phone and me telling him about my hernia.  I was given an injection and he left some tablets just in case as well as a load of paperwork about norovirus etc.  A female nurse called Elizabeth phoned a couple of hours later to ask how I was and say that I was confined until 6pm - noooooooooo!  Mind you I felt like crap and just wanted to sleep, which I did.  She would call back later.  My bill came with the wrong diagnosis of gastroenteritis.  I didn't wake up again until 6pm when there was a knock on the door to sanitise my cabin.  I only needed the bathroom doing.  I asked if I'd been released and they didn't know so I called the medical centre since she didn't phone to tell me.  I was now confined for a full 24 hours in case it was a bug.  I asked about food so she told me to order from the bland room service menu, which I didn't fancy as I wanted something light.  I was desperate for a drink that wasn't water since that made my mouth dry.  She assured me I would NOT be charged as they were confining me, though I still had my doubts. I ordered a fruit basket minus apples and can of Pepsi which I had to sign for.  When I pointed out I was told I wouldn't be charged, he called someone then said I wouldn't be.  Around 8.40pm there was a knock on my door.  It was a maintenance man to fix a light in my bathroom which wasn't broken.  Checking up on me?  Creepy Charles walked past as I'm stood there in my nightie and leered suggestively.  Piss off you twat before you make me more ill!  After the maintenance man saw the lights working perfectly, he was confused, apologised and left.  I went back to bed.
Gradually, I began to feel a bit more hungry so ordered some of the bland chicken from the menu with a jelly and two cans of Pepsi.  He wanted me to sign so I pointed out I'd been told I wouldn't be charged due to the doctor confining me.  He asked his superior who was by the outer door who didn't know so called someone before saying I was right and I didn't sign anything.  The food was incredibly unappetising and dry.  At 7.30am, I was woken up by the phone.  It was Elizabeth from the medical centre asking how I was.  I was freed - yay!  But needed to see the doctor due to the original misdiagnosis for a letter to give my stoma nurse and bastard surgeon.  The medical centre opened at 9am.  One Australian lady had fallen over in the rough weather.  I couldn't work out if she'd knocked a tooth out, an implant out or it was a broken false one.  James took my blood pressure using a machine from Southampton General, the hospital that bastard surgeon works.  The doctor was really nice.  She examined me, listened and agreed my hernia was making me ill.  She thought it may be becoming strangulated and agreed to write the letter with her diagnosis.  The much-needed holiday after all the stress that bastard surgeon put me through most of the year had now been ruined because of him.  I really hoped AXA would pay up otherwise he was getting the bills!  I saw John a bit later.  Sandra and Jill were learning Charleston line dancing.  I found Patricia which gave me a chance to tell her what had been happening.  No sooner had we sat on the stools next to the slot machines that Creepy Charles appeared and was practically on top of me.  She told me about a conversation he'd had with a businessman, who talked about his own businesses but Charles clammed up about his, saying he wasn't at liberty to discuss it but he had a very important meeting when he got home which was, in fact, the Resident's Association.  As it was Remembrance Day, there was a 2 minute silence at 11am.  I went on deck afterwards.  It was windy but so nice breathing in fresh air.  I sat on the Prom deck a while to give Benny a chance to do my cabin but when I went back after the noon announcement, there was a note about sanitising.  My bed was stripped.  I should have got a picture.  I went to find Benny so he could let them know to do it while I popped across the road to the Golden Lion for lunch.  My stomach was still not right so didn't fancy heading to the Lido.  I couldn't eat it all and returned to the cabin for a nap afterwards.  There was a message on my phone from Jean who'd been worried about me and hoped I was okay.  Maureen called a bit later then Patricia to see if I was okay and going to the World Club party.  It was the third and last formal night.  Then dinner which was just what I needed and cheered me up.  Everyone welcomed me back, including Pop-Up Dave when he brought my drink.  Sandra mentioned Creepy Charles and how he'd told her he had his 72nd birthday with a massive cake in Venice.  I told her he claimed he was 67 to me.  It was wave the napkin time which used to include a Baked Alaska parade.  Afterwards it was Roaring 20s ball in the Queens Room but first a tango by Wilfred and Ilona (or Alan Bradley and Katherine Hepburn as I called them).  As usual, the Peggy Spencer reject was there and he made a beeline for our table.  He nabbed Sandra after I'd said no then went asking others.  Chris the Gentleman Host, persuaded me though and we did a waltz.  Well he did.  I just shuffled unable to see my feet due to the lump I was carrying.  We were joined by a lady who had been chatted up by Creepy Charles during the singles meet.  She mentioned her next cruise was with Cruise and Maritime in May, which he then claimed were his favourite line.  He asked when she was going.  When she replied, he said he was unable to make that so she had a go at him, saying it wasn't about him, it was about her.  Again he waltzed to everything reasonably slow and sat out the fun dances.  It was funny watching how bad some of the women were when dancing with him yet were excellent with their other half or a Gentleman Host.  Sandra and Jill were able to show off what they'd learned in the Charleston line dancing and were joined by Jean.  It finished at midnight so off to bed.


© Patricia Dempsey 4th-13th November 2017
Not to be reproduced without permission