Worst. Trip. Ever.

by wjw on May 19, 2023

After 24 hours in planes and airports I’ve returned from the Med, jetlagged, miserable, in considerable pain, and without Kathy. This trip sucked.

Bad luck struck on my first day in Valetta, when I tripped on a marble stair and seriously damaged my right knee. The heavy frames on my sunglasses blocked my view of my own feet, and I didn’t realize the stairway had an extra step right under my feet. I landed heavily on my right foot, and the shock went to my knee. The rest of the day I was hobbling around in pain, though fortunately the knee was better the next day. Some days the knee was nearly okay, some days it was agony. Today is closer to the “agony” end of the scale.

My distress over the knee was as nothing compared to what happened a couple days later, when Kathy started coughing heavily, then tested positive for COVID. (I had brought testing kits with me.) I tested negative myself. This was within an hour of the time we were supposed to embark on our boat, and that hour was full of frantic activity. The boat refused to take a new COVID case on board, so it looked as if Kathy was going to be confined in our hotel room for 10 days, as per Maltese law.

The big question was what to do with me. I offered to stay with Kathy, but the thought of remaining masked for over a week was intimidating, as was the fact I’d be exposing myself to COVID for all that time. Kathy eventually decided that being locked up with me for all that time was a terrible idea. So I went off on the trip by myself.

In retrospect this was the best alternative, but that was unclear at the time. I spent the time in a state of anxiety over Kathy, and over whether I was going to come down with COVID a second time, and whether the virus would attack my heart and brain again. I tried to stay masked in public for the first three or four days, just in case I’d become contagious.

I met the ship’s doc, who informed me that a doctor and nurse would be accompanying me on all shore visits. I felt flattered by this, but then found out the doctor and nurse were for everybody, not just for me.

Somehow I felt less special.

I had hoped to view the sights of Sicily in the hard clear light of the Mediterranean, but the weather wouldn’t cooperate. It was always cloudy, and sometimes misty or sleeting or raining. Only the last day did we have good weather, and by that point it was too late to cheer me up.

Kathy and I had more discussion over whether I should get a hotel room so that we could return together, but decided against it. Frankly there was nothing I could do to help or speed things along, so there was no point in my hovering around.

So now I’m home, and Kathy— who tested positive again this morning— is currently schedule to return the middle of next week.

That we are fully insured against COVID and its consequences is small consolation, but at least there isn’t financial anxiety to add to everything else.

Diane Green May 20, 2023 at 8:10 am

Hope you have kept up with all the many boosters.If so that should at least be comfort to you
I’m so sorry the trip didn’t go well for either of you and that Kathy is on the mend

Paul Cooper May 20, 2023 at 10:07 am

Sorry to hear about your knee, Walter. No fun at all. And Kathy testing positive for COVID is outrageous. Imagine being on Malta for two weeks and not being able to get out of the hotel room.

I sympathize with you but she’s the one I really feel sorry for.

-Paul Cooper

M. F. McAuliffe May 20, 2023 at 10:52 pm

So sorry to hear about the shock to your knee (RV had 2 falls in January, so I can imagine the pain). Glad you didn’t have another bout of COVID, horrified to hear how serious the first one was.
And finally so sympathetic towards Kathy. During several scares here I isolated for a few days each time, and found it utterly miserable. I cannot imagine weeks of that.
Hoping you both recover into pain-free company swiftly & soon –


James Strickland May 21, 2023 at 7:26 pm

Ugh. Not a good way to end a trip. Hope you both have a speedy recovery.


Sarah Stegall May 24, 2023 at 8:03 am

Wow. I had to stay indoors for two solid weeks last year when I had COVID, and it was awful. But at least I was in my own home. Kathy has all my sympathy. I hope she’s better soon, and comes home. And my knee is aching in sympathy with yours. May your future be free of pain and misery.


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