Musings from the Covid Ward

Day 25, South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand Cruise

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022; Noumea, New Caledonia, South Pacific Ocean

It is Day 5 for me in covid isolation on the MS Westerdam. I will be tested tomorrow morning. I used one of my self-tests yesterday morning, and it showed I was still positive. I don’t know why I even tested; it just depressed me. I hadn’t even thought that I might not get out after the minimum term.

My friend Kathi (AKA “Scrapnana, “blogging from the Grand Africa cruise) got out at the first opportunity, but then she had no symptoms. Neither did my friend Nancy last summer and she was nine days in isolation with no explanation.

I don’t know whether I will test myself this evening. If I am still positive, I will just be depressed. If I am negative, I will get my hopes up about the official test sometime tomorrow morning.

We spent the last two days in Nouméa, New Caledonia, where I had a view of a working port. At least the bow camera gave me a sense of the island, which I visited four years ago. I have been tracking our journey on a wall map, and used blue arrows for the ports I have missed.

Instead of giving a day-by-day report of my isolation, I thought I would just put random musings out there, in no particular order.

I don’t know how Kathi, in a smaller stateroom than I have, managed to walk five miles a day in isolation. Round trip from my door to the verandah and back is 35 steps. I’m lucky to get a mile in, and some days I didn’t even try.

I have spent far more time mindlessly watching television than I thought I would. I blame it on not feeling well. But it does seem ironic that someone who doesn’t even have a place to call home or own any furnishings would spend hours watching HGTV home renovations.

As my time in isolation nears the end (fingers crossed), I am feeling guilty about all the things I haven’t done, like take any of those downloaded watercolor classes. Or straighten up the mess in my cabin. Or update this blog daily. Now I am finding myself suddenly trying to accomplish everything at once.

I’m trying to make up for not going up a single stair all week by stepping into and out of the raised bathroom doorway over and over this afternoon. Think it will work?

I don’t like to complain about food, and especially food I don’t have to prepare or clean up afterward. But I’ve yet to have a room service meal arrive hot, and most things on the menu are not very appetizing at room temperature. Sauces are nearly congealed, burgers and grilled sandwiches are soggy, and I’ve never liked lunch meat. I’m still trying to find something that appeals to me. And everything is too salty to my taste. Except the potato chips. Maybe next time I’ll just order a big plate of potato chips.

I didn’t know the sandwich would be swimming in slaw, but I did like the chips.

Yes, I am grateful I haven’t lost my sense of taste or smell, and yes, I am way too picky, I know. I think it’s all about the texture of the food to me.

It’s great to have a balcony, and I enjoy reading out there. I enjoyed The Secret River by Kate Grenville, historical fiction about the early days of colonial Australia that really made me think.

Pro Tip: Choose your reading material wisely. It probably wasn’t a great idea this week to read “Cabin Fever, the Harrowing Journey of a Cruise Ship at the Dawn of a Pandemic.” Why would someone with covid on a cruise ship want to read about a cruise ship full of covid-infected people, some of whom did not survive, trying to get back home? On a ship I have booked for almost 100 days next fall? But that thought didn’t even occur to me until I was halfway through the book. Covid brain, I guess.

I sure hope that when my iPhone is on airplane mode and I’m on the ship’s WIFI, these calls I am making to my sisters are going over free WIFI calling. It will be a very unpleasant surprise if I find I have a huge bill. Someone who spent most of her career working for a big phone company should be more confident of this technology.

The second-best thing was about three days in when I learned that I could order a latte from the Explorations Café through room service. The very best thing was when my latte was delivered in a cup with a personal message from the baristas. Regina, Hazel, Laura, Jasmin and Montaa, you are the best! I can’t wait to see you again in person.