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Watch out for the bus!

Anyone who has ever traveled internationally, especially on a cruise, knows all about buses. You take a bus from the airport to your hotel or the port. In London, you take the iconic red double-decker bus to see the city. On a cruise, it’s the ubiquitous excursion bus (often without a working toilet). You spend a lot of time on buses.

And sometimes, you get hit by a bus, metaphorically. I got hit in November after returning from outstanding back-to-back Princess cruises for 25 days around the Mediterranean and transatlantic. That’s why we have been conspicuously absent from posting here in recent months.

Some may know that in 2015 I was diagnosed with necrotizing pancreatitis. If you watch TV, you regularly see commercials for medications and often one side effect is pancreatitis, which they describe as a “serious condition that could cause hospitalization or death.” In my case, it caused a three-month hospitalization during which time I nearly died twice.

Fortunately, thanks to tremendous care at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, here in Central Pennsylvania, I did survive. I retired in 2016 and have used the time since with Ellen to further our travels and to share those experiences with you.

That was, until last mid-November. Several days after we returned home I got the standard cold. Hacking, coughing, etc. My family doc said it was probably a sinus infection and gave me an antibiotic. It didn't work. When I returned for a follow-up, I also mentioned I was having some odd pains in my back and right hip. My illness had precluded my normal exercise routine so I was sure exercise wasn’t the cause.

On my next follow-up, I was still having problems with my lungs and the pain had worsened. He said I need a CT scan and ordered blood work. The blood work came back and showed that I had a raging infection. Normal White Blood Count (WBC) is 4K to 11K. Mine was pushing 16K!

From mid-November until mid-January, I was exhausted. I missed our annual Thanksgiving dinner with family. Christmas was a blur. And there was no way I could post any pictures or updates here.

On Jan. 10, I had a fever, was vomiting and the pain had gotten to the point where I could barely walk, all possible signs of a reoccurrence of pancreatitis. Off we went to Hershey Med. Several hours later a CT scan gave the results: abdominal abscess. It had grown so large that it was pushing on a sheaf of nerves causing me the pain. An emergency surgical procedure later, and the pain was gone and I was on my way to recovery…which I have reached.

We are planning our 2019 travels that, so far, include a visit to Kitty Hawk, a road trip to see some presidential libraries, a return trip to London and our first visit to Paris, and the seven-day inaugural cruise of the Sky Princess in October with a just-added seven-day back-to-back on the Sky.

Please check back as we once again offer tips and advice, post some photos from recent trips and take you with us on more roads to adventure. Your questions and comments are welcome.

(We’re also starting two new sites that we think you may be interested in. We’ll let you know when they’re ready!)

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