For my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary, our entire family decided to voyage on a Holland America Scandinavian Cruise. My family, my uncle’s family, and my other uncle all joined my grandparents on this exciting European adventure. Going in, it seemed like it was going to be the perfect get-a-way, but we soon realized this was a mistake, as I was soon being rushed to the hospital.
We embarked in Copenhagen, Denmark, and had already made Norwegian stops at Oslo and Alesund. While we were eating dinner on the grand ship that had stopped in Alesund early in the day, I noticed a pain in my stomach. I asked to be excused so I could get to bed early, which usually helps my stomach aches, but indeed this was no ordinary stomach ache.
The next morning I woke up in excruciating pain. It felt like someone had lit a fire in the middle of my stomach. My parents thought it was just some acid reflex, so I sucked it up and went on our excursion in Flam, Norway. The pain never went away though, and I felt horrible the whole day. I just wanted the pain to go away.
The next day I decided I could go on no more. I decided to skip the excursion in Stavanger, Norway, and stay on the ship where the doctor could examine me. My grandfather sacrificed his day to stay with me in my agony. The ship’s doctor told to my parents (after they came back) that I needed to go to the Stavanger hospital, because something was not right.
My dad took me to the hospital right away with the port agent and they got me into an x-ray right away. The news was bad: they had to remove my appendix right away. So my dad called my mom and she started packing all our bags, because we had no idea how long we would be gone.
Before I was sent to surgery, I got to talk to my parents for a while. I was scared and in a foreign country. “I have to be brave” I told myself. So I went into the operating room, where the doctor asked me how much I weighed for anesthesia purposes: “How many kilograms do you weigh?” I had no response.
As soon as I knew it, it was over. I was in and out of consciousness for a long time. My parents told me that I needed to wake up fast so we could get out and get back to the ship. Thanks Mom and Dad. Well I was on my way to the Stavanger airport before I knew it and then we were on a tiny propeller plane across the North Sea to catch the ship in Newcastle. So in less than 24 hours, I was on a ship, in surgery, and back on the ship. Now that was a crazy day.
When we got back on the ship, my parents and I were reunited with the rest of our family. We each got to tell our own sides of the story over dinner, which was fun to listen to. I was just glad that everything was over, and I was on the ship again.
I heard stories afterwards of how everyone was crying on the ship and how it was total chaos. Looking back, I am grateful to my parents, the port agent, the hospital nurses and doctors, and everyone else who made sure I got the best vacation I could, even with my appendix being taken out and being left in Norway.
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