Well, I have been gone about a week on a long overdue vacation. Did any of you miss me? I went on a cruise (for the first time) and stayed away from any contact with the internet and work. You guys are NOT work. You are a labor of love and I missed you! Pardon me for not warning you about the absence, but things were so crazy at work before I left that I didn’t have time to inform all of you, and besides it is definitely NOT cool to apologize for something that hasn’t happened yet! I did try to answer all of the 60+ new comments before I left and actually worked on that right up until the time I got in the car.
Incidentally, I checked my email today and saw absolutely NO comments. I KNOW that some of you have written comments/questions/concerns over the past week (since they seem to be expanding exponentially), and that only means the ‘comment fairy’ at Healthline hasn’t prescreened the ones you have submitted and posted them on the website. Don’t worry, when I finally receive them, I will answer as quickly as possible, so please don’t resubmit one if you already have and it hasn’t yet appeared on the site.
Anyway, to purposely avoid all things medical for at least another day, let me tell you about some aspects of the cruise. First, I have a whole new appreciation for DIMENHYDRINATE (marketed as Dramamine, Gravol, and Vertirosan). As I am sure many of you know, this is a medication used to treat ‘motion sickness’ (and it is very safe to take during pregnancy – oops, I already haven’t avoided ‘all things medical’!). Chemically, it is very similar to the antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and it is actually a salt of both diphenhydramine and 8-chlorotheophylline (related to the stimulants caffeine and theobromine – CHOCOLATE), although the antihistamine effect predominates.
Motion sickness is the body’s natural response to conflicting reports from your senses (particularly your eyes and inner ears) to your brain regarding motion and women are about twice as susceptible to it as men for reasons I do not understand. Anyway, half the ship woke up seasick after the first night on the cruise and if it hadn’t been for the Dramamine, I don’t think I would have had much fun. Thank goodness it works FAST! Enough of that digression!
It was a short 5-day cruise. The first stop was in the Cayman Islands and while there I visited “Hell” (and returned safely). For those of you unfamiliar with “Hell”, it is a wetlands field that has jagged limestone rock structures covered with black algae that gives it a truly ‘out-of –this –world’ and hellish appearance. If I figure out how to post a picture on this page (I am technically challenged), I will do so in the future. Anyway, we went from “Hell” to 'heaven’ where we sampled many varieties of Tortuga rum cakes – VERY yummy! It would not have been hard to have spent the rest of the trip there! The rum samples (especially the ‘spice rum’) weren’t too bad either! Although the sea was not necessarily my best friend by that point, I did enjoy the beautiful water and the ambience of the people. No scuba diving for me yet because the left shoulder still has not healed. Before I left, I had to stop at the local Harley-Davidson dealership and get a Grand Cayman T-shirt with a pirate on it, of course – ARRRGGH!
The next stop was Calica, Mexico on the Yucatan peninsula. From there we went to see the Mayan ruins at Tulum. Our guide was Mayan, indeed that was his ‘first language’, and his family still lives in an open-sided thatch-roofed hut without running water and electricity in the middle of the country. Gilberto gave us a perspective on the history, culture, philosophy, and religion of the Mayan people that I am sure many of the other touristas didn’t appreciate by simply wandering the ruins on their own. When he found out that I was a physician, he related several tales of the ‘herbal’ cures passed down through the centuries and still used by his people today. He even educated me on the Mayan midwives’ method of predicting the number and gender of children a woman would have by ‘interpreting’ the number, spacing, and appearance of ‘knots’ in the umbilical cord of the first born child – will have to give that one a try! Gilberto was so good, he even made the ritual of ‘human sacrifice’ sound like it was something both understandable and acceptable. I was afraid to ask if his family had yet abandoned that practice, but if I ever go back to visit him again, we will be sure to clarify that point before heading into the mountains to say hello to his Mom and Dad!
Well, today, I won’t bore you with other more banal details of the cruise. In brief, I am currently withdrawing from both overeating and Dramamine (but not too much sun or alcohol). I already miss the vacation and the wonderful people (crew and passengers) we spent time with during the week. If you want to be spoiled, take a cruise! Tomorrow, I will tell you about one of the ‘activities’ on board that was not only entertaining, but gave me some insight into a technique that could be applied to improve relationships with significant others. So for now, and out of respect for the ship’s captain who was Italian,…Ciao!