Loveland Reporter-Herald

Cruising through the years, a little off balance

- Mike Foley

If you have read my ramblings in the Reporter-herald for a while, the thought that I may be a bit “off balance” may have occurred to you. Let me reassure you, that the same thought has crossed my mind as well, and sometimes, has became very real.

I think it really “came home to roost” some 25 years ago, after my favorite wife and I had returned from an East Coast “Fall Foliage Cruise.”

We left Houston in midseptemb­er for Boston, where we met our cruise mates, my old boss, Gene Yoss and his wife, Louise. We had a day to see the sights in Boston, then boarded our ship for a seven-day cruise, visiting Bar Harbor, Maine (where the only fall foliage, was an imitation tree in front of a gift shop.)

A hurricane had just passed through the New England area the day before we arrived, and the seas were still a bit bumpy. I had no issues with sea sickness, and we proceeded on to the St. Lawrence River, with a stop in Nova Scotia, and another in Newfoundla­nd. We spent a day in Quebec city, and were to head to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where we would spend a day, with one stop at the cemetery where most of the victims of the sinking of the Titanic were interred.

It seems that Mother Nature had other plans for us, for another Atlantic hurricane had taken aim on Halifax, so instead of touring we spent 36 hours idling in the St. Lawrence River.

After the storm passed, we passed up Halifax and made our way back to Boston. The seas were very rough, Sharon spent a day in bed, and as for myself, I had a brief seasick few moments — I didn’t think that would come back to haunt me.

Some two weeks later, back in Houston, we had settled back into our usual routine.

One morning I stepped out of our front door to retrieve the newspaper and when I bent over to pick it up, I fell flat on my face. Whoa!

I had a difficult time attempting to stand up, and when I did the thought entered my mind that I had had a stroke.

I struggled back indoors to get to the sofa, where I sat for a few minutes to regain my composure.

Sharon entered the room, took one look at me, and said: “What’s the matter?”

I explained what happened and she quickly said: “We need to get you to the doctor!”

She phoned our daughter Michele, who lived just a couple of blocks away, and she was in our driveway in minutes. She assisted me outside to her car and said: “I’m taking you to the hospital.”

I sat down in the seat, and immediatel­y felt nauseous, didn’t want to mess up her car and opened the door to get out, then ended up falling on the driveway and I couldn’t get up.

She called 911 and very soon an ambulance showed up. The EMS crew checked me over, asked what happened and if I had passed out. Having never passed out before, I said I had, when in reality it was just the extreme dizziness that was the issue. They proceeded to treat me as if I had had a heart attack.

To shorten the narrative, the hospitals in near area were on driveby — they were at capacity, so a hospital 20 miles away found room for me — in a hallway. I had a shot to end my nausea that in minutes had me feeling that I could just get up and walk out of the place.

But, not so fast. That “heart attack” thing was hovering around me. I had scans, check-ups, physicals, blood tests, etc, etc, that went on for two days, and finally one doctor came in and told me that it wasn’t my heart. “You merely have an inner-ear issue, probably as a result of your cruise.”

I asked how long the after-effects would last, and he replied: “Might take two days, two weeks, two months or two years.”

Well friends, I have still had those pesky spells for over 20 years!

But, good news! The efficient crew at Mckee Medical Center’s building number 7, and Barb Staples, my therapist, have really helped me. I think it won’t be long until those who know me, may even think I have regained my balance.

Well, maybe not.

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