27 January, 2004
12:00 AM arrived with little fanfare. After the day that most of my science colleagues and I had had with seasickness yesterday, I felt on my way to a much better day. The ship was on a path that gave predictable waves. I took a shower, and checked email and had a few crackers and water. Everything seemed to be going smoothly. I thought about heading down to midrats, but chose instead to do a little reading and catch up on photos.
I felt pretty confident that it was going to be OK. I had been eating and drinking since I began feeling better the day before, and I was sure I had things licked. At 1:50 AM, just ten minutes before the start of my watch, the ship changed course for the start of a new shot line. My head and stomach both started somersaulting and flipping in a random violent assault on my body that sent my brain into overload. I couldn't get to the bathroom fast enough. In less than ten minutes I had gone from a ready to go scientist to a quivering drooling lump hunched over a toilet, thinking that I couldn't feel much worse, knowing that it would be hours before the ship changed direction.
I half crawled, half stumbled back to my bed, managing not to smack my head against the upper berth or ladder. I lay down as flat as I could clenching the sides of the mattress hoping that if I was certain of its location, it would somehow still the motion of the ship. I would have no such luck.
At this point, I am not sure who came to my door, but with every macho bone in my body I hobbled to the door to let them in and feign that I was OK at least for the short run. Unfortunately the color green that had taken over my skin and even my nails warned them of the truth. I was a putrefying mass of flesh, incapable of making it to the door let alone sit watch. I was destined to be down for the count a second day.
By this time Terry Wilson and Huw Horgan were concerned that I was far sicker than I might have thought, and they asked Jesse Doren, a marine tech and EMT to come and check on me. He asked if I could make it to the hospital, but there was no way that that was going to happen. He returned a while later with paperwork, thermometer, and blood pressure cuff in hand to make sure that I was not dehydrated, and on the road to something far worse than seasickness.
After checking me out, with confirmation from a call to a doctor, he gave me juice, water, crackers and told me to get as much down as I could and rest. The next ten hours is lost. I don't remember sleeping, moving, eating, anything, but by about 3:00 PM, I knew again that I was human. I got on my coat, finished the last of the juice and water, and headed out to the 01 deck. After about 15 minutes if felt like I could function just a little.
I spent the rest of the afternoon with occasional visits from well-wishers as I sat on the floor in my room, drinking water, and hoping that the worst was over. I had dinner. It felt good to be back, or at least on the way back. The positive encouragement of everyone aboard made it must easier and less embarrassing.
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