Another possible medical emergency a few hours before boarding the ship…Thank goodness for a previous posts saving the day!

The ship is still decorated from Christmas.

Yesterday morning, shortly after I uploaded the post, Tom told me his tooth abscess had returned overnight.  While in Fiji we’d decided dealing with it other than with the use of antibiotics was not necessarily the best course of action after our visit to the dentist’s office. We feared their equipment may not have been up-to-date and the most sanitary.

In November, when Tom was treated for the abscess at the dentist office in Savusavu for a fee of FJD $6, USD $2.78 with two free antibiotic prescriptions and a dose of Ibuprofen, we thought if he could last until we arrived in New Zealand, he’d visit a dentist shortly after we arrived.

Most likely we’ll find a good dentist in the nearby town of Taranaki which appears to have several dental offices.  Of course, we’ll ask the owner of the house we’re renting for a recommendation.

This wonderful chemist saved the day!

With only two hours until we had to vacate the hotel room, after requesting a late checkout, we knew we’d better come up with a plan. An abscessed tooth could become serious while on a two-week cruise. We didn’t have enough time left in Sydney to make an appointment to see a dentist and follow up with any treatment or prescriptions.

The previous day, we’d visited a local chemist for toiletries and a variety of preventive over-the-counter meds, meeting Peter, the most friendly chemist on the planet. 

Yesterday, after Tom finally told me about the abscess returning we decided to go back to see him, a short walk in yet more rain, a few blocks from the hotel. Our plan…ask him to refill the same antibiotic prescriptions Tom had taken in Fiji which seemed to work within a few days.

The tiny chemist shop had more products than one could imagine would fit in the tiny space.

Our plan to get him to agree to refill the prescriptions without a new prescription from a local dentist was simpler than we anticipated. Once we arrived at the store, we’d ask him to bring up our website in November 10, 2015, where we’d posted a photo of the pills he’d received at the Savusavu dentist. Click here to read that particular post if you missed it. 

Below is the photo we showed Peter which he accepted as a valid prescription worthy of being refilled. We couldn’t have been more relieved. Immediately, Tom said it was “safari luck” that we had the photo on the post to refer to in order to show the chemist we had a valid prescription. 

Luckily, Peter was able to read the labels on these two antibiotics enabling Tom to take another emergency round to last until we arrive in New Zealand in a few weeks.

This photo would never have been accepted in the US as valid proof for a refill. But, in Australia which is still relatively strict with prescription laws, this case precipitated a solution with kindly Peter accommodated since we’d already built a connection with him on the previous day’s visit. He knew we weren’t buying the medications to resell them.
Practically jumping for joy with relief we quickly made our way back to the hotel, prescriptions in hand, to load up our gear and head out the door to the ship.  Oddly, we could see the pier across the street from the chemist but, it was too difficult a walk with all of our bags in the rain and attempting to maneuver down a steep flight of stairs.

The doorman hailed a taxi and for a fare of USD $14.33, AU $20, the driver dropped us off at the Port of Sydney with our two large bags, one medium bag, one duffel, one Costco bag, rolling cart, and computer bag. (We’re able to maneuver the load a short distance on our own with careful stacking and use of the rolling cart). 

Busy Sydney Harbour.

Somehow, in these past months, we’ve lost our bungees making securing the rolling cart difficult. Once at the pier, we had a relatively long line in which to handle the bags were normally at most ports, the moment we step out of the taxi, our bags are tagged with our cabin number and whisked away by port personnel too much later be delivered to our cabin.

In less than an hour waiting in various lines for check-in, customs, immigration, and security, we were on the familiar ship, the Celebrity Solstice, excited for the 14-day journey itself to New Zealand, and for the upcoming three months we’ll spend living on an alpaca farm.

By 2:00 pm, we’d dropped off our carry-on bags in our cabin, our hands were free and we roamed about the same ship we sailed on September 23, 2014, when we cruised from Vancouver, British Columbia to Oahu, Hawaii.  That seems so long ago in one way and like yesterday in another.

The ship was being fueled, maintained, and dumping sewage.

The day and evening were even more enjoyable than expected.  We met many other passengers, mostly from the US and the UK. There seem to be considerably fewer Aussies than anticipated. As a result, there are no “Shed” meetings for Tom to attend, but he’s rather content with all the people we’ve met so far, engaging in lively conversations. And, as always, we’re having lots of fun together.

The abscess is already improving from a few doses of the antibiotics. We’re not thrilled he has to suffer any potential ill effects of taking antibiotics twice in such a short time span. But, we had no alternatives other than to cancel the cruise or risk a more serious infection, building over the upcoming few weeks. 

Last night’s dinner was OK. Since it was my first meal in the Epernay Dining Room they had few options available for me other than a tiny plain shrimp cocktail (no sauce), a Caesar salad without dressing, a steak, and a few steamed veggies. I ordered sides of New Zealand seasoned butter and full-fat sour cream, dipped everything on my plate for added flavor. 

All other entrees had been prepared in advance using vegetable oil, sugar, soy sauce, starches, flour, and other items I can’t have. Last night, I ordered my meal for tonight and this morning’s breakfast of two hard-boiled eggs, smoked salmon with capers, and crispy streaky American bacon. It was fine.

Last night we experienced rough seas during dinner subsiding later in the evening. As always, it had no effect on either of us, although it certainly was noticeable.

When we returned to our cabin for the night we noticed Tom’s suitcase hadn’t arrived yet. We’d received all the other bags in the late afternoon. 

We spotted a message on our phone. Within minutes, we headed to Level 2 to security to respond to their request to show up if we wanted his bag which had been confiscated due to a power strip. They tagged it, made him sign for it, stating we could have it back at the end of the cruise. This wasn’t the first time this has happened. We’ll manage just fine in the interim.

Tom’s busy “trying new things” which we’ll share in our photos to come.  With the slow WiFi on the ship, we’ll only be able to post four to six photos per day. He always surprises me when he suddenly decides to be adventurous with food and beverages. After all, his inclination toward adventure is certainly pleasing to me regardless of what he decides to eat!

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 6, 2015:

One year ago, daughter-in-law Camille and granddaughter Madighan had a chance to pet one of the chickens at a local resort where they stayed for one night when Madighan had an allergic reaction to something in the house we were renting. The next day, they left for Kona to get ready for their upcoming flight to the mainland. For more details, please click here.

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