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.

Berths on the NB Palmer.

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