Monday 25th April 2016 – St Maarten

Very annoyed. This morning’s arrival announcement – we’re here, you can go ashore, the weather for today is…the gangways are located… be back by… – came through the cabins on the Emergency Channel. Just when I think we have explained it clearly enough for them to understand that not everyone on board wants to be woken at 08:25. They may not want to go ashore. They may not be feeling well. They may have been quite looking forward to a lie-in. The bridge crew on this ship simply cannot get it into their thick heads that the pillow speakers are for EMERGENCIES, when we absolutely HAVE to hear what is being said, because our lives depend on it. They are designed to wake us up. That’s the whole point. Using them to tell us the effing weather forecast is NOT  acceptable. *Sigh* ANOTHER letter to write to the Captain.

Signal jamming. No internet today. No news, either. Just repeats of Sherlock Holmes, some nature thing and An Inspector Calls.

This island is literally in two halves – half run by the Dutch and half by the French. They hate each other, apparently. The French half has road markings, like white lines and road signs, but the Dutch side does not. It’s very obvious when you move between the two! The capital of the Dutch side is Philipsburg and the capital of the French side is Marigot.

Went ashore without problem. All fab. Took a taxi to Marigot.  Beautifully warm and sunny – perhaps a bit on the over-fierce side. The taxi dropped us by the market. We went to a little shopping mall, called the West Indies Mall, first, for a bit of air con and some VERY nice loos (one dollar). A rather unpleasant French man threw me out of his little nameless café in the centre of the mall. Apparently, old ladies are allowed to sit down to wait for their husband to come back, but not the people with them. When I offered to buy a drink, to thank him for letting us sit for a few minutes, he said we would have to move to a different table to order a drink and if we stayed where we were, we would either have to order food, or he would call security. Stupid boy. Lost a sale, and quite possibly more, because it was gone noon, and we needed food, as well as drink. Nasty little man. There are some lovely shops in that mall, but steer WELL CLEAR of the little café in the middle, whatever you do.

Dad has had a cold for a few days, and not much appetite, and now has a rather wheezy cough. So he and mum sat in the shade on a bandstand wall while I browsed a few stalls. When I went back over, he said he felt dizzy and should probably have a drink. So I went and bought three. I gave mum hers, and then opened his. He tried to put the straw in his mouth and missed. Then he took one gulp, dropped the can on my foot and keeled over. I was terrified. I thought he was having a stroke. I ran to a stall and asked for an ambulance. The bloke said he didn’t know the number. Like, seriously?! Then I ran back and he was lying back on the floor of the bandstand. I tried to wake him, but he wasn’t coherent, just making noises.  When I tried to move him, he fell sideways onto the ground, and hit his head on the concrete with a crack the like of which I hope I never hear again. By now some people were coming and helping, and we rolled him into the recovery position and he started responding to my shouting at him. I put my bag under his head and someone put a cold bottle of water against his neck, which he said was lovely. I made him stick his tongue out, which reassured me he wasn’t having a stroke. Then the ambulance people came. They took his blood pressure, which was very low, which confirmed to me that he had fainted, and his details from me, and then loaded us up into the ambulance. By which time, dad was using whole sentences again and apologising for all the fuss.

We drove to the hospital and I had to give his details all over again. Then we went through and sat with him while they did a 12-wire ECG  – normal, blood pressure, a bit low, pulse fine, oxygen sats 95, a bit low. Then they basically left us for over an hour. I think they were figuring that if he had damaged his head when he fell, he would exhibit some symptoms, but after an hour of me trying to get drinks out of a machine that only took one dollar bills, he was pretty much back to normal. He ate two Mars bars, which seemed to perk him up considerably. The doctor said he fainted – a mixture of dehydration, low oxygen saturation because of the liquid in his lungs, the heat and not having eaten a proper breakfast before taking his meds and going out in the Tropics. He told dad he could go, but when dad stood up to tuck his shirt in, he went a bit pale and said he was dizzy, so they laid him down again and put him on a saline drip for an hour. THEN we went back to the ship.

I think there was also caffeine or something in the drip, because dad was more perky and chatty during that taxi ride that I’ve seen him in days. The whole escapade cost fifty quid – including the ambulance, the ECG, the drip, and having a private room despite the fact that two women were treated in the corridor on trolleys –both having drips and one having a bandage applied and a conversation with a surgeon. It will probably come to less than the excess on the insurance policy! (FYI here, at least, EHICs are only relevant if you are admitted as an inpatient – they are not valid for outpatient care). Dad had a rest and then came to dinner as normal, looking just fine, although he used mum’s Luggie to get there, because he had damaged his (already bad) knee when he fell.

Scary afternoon but problem solved.

After dinner, I went back out – we weren’t leaving til 9pm – to see if I could find some postcards, but everything was shut, despite the whopping great cruise ship still sat in the port. Rather short-sighted, because lots of people were still milling around looking for stuff to do or buy. But their loss.

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One thought on “Monday 25th April 2016 – St Maarten

  1. Maureen and Ken says:

    Sorry to hear about Dad. I remember when my husband collapsed with same symptoms on Alaska cruise. Very frightening. We were on the ship when it happened. Bill came to £438 in medical centre for same treatment as your Dad. We sat next to your parents in Crows Nest through Panama Canal. Enjoying reading your blog.. Maureen and Ken from Isle of Wight

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