What if you get sick on a Disney Cruise? We go on a vacation never thinking that we will get sick. But I did get sick – in the middle of the night – in the middle of the ocean – in the middle of the cruise. Here is what happened the night I got sick.
I had accompanied my daughter on the 7 day Disney Mom’s Social Media conference. Between her conference obligations, we had already spent 4 fun filled days at Disney World prior to boarding the Disney Wonder for a 3 day trip to Castaway Cay. It was a first cruise for both of us. And we instantly fell in love with the Wonder and in love with the sea. That first night at sea was mesmerizing.
By the second night, I was exhausted from all of the activities and fell into bed about 10 p.m. I had a slight sore throat, so I took an over the counter cold medicine before turning the lights out. About 1 a.m., I woke up gasping for air. I sat up and tried to breathe, but it didn’t help. As I sat there it got worse, so I eventually woke up my daughter. She called guest services. I was given the option of going to the medical clinic or waiting until morning when the visit would be cheaper. At first, I decided to wait until morning. But as the minutes – yes minutes – ticked on, I became further distressed and I knew I couldn’t wait until morning. Because of my quickly declining condition, a steward was sent with a wheel chair to escort me to medical.
The medical facility is in the front of the ship on the first deck. It was a very long wheelchair ride from our stateroom. At 2:00 a.m in the morning, the steward wheeled me into a very brightly lit office where a nurse and doctor were waiting. They didn’t seem to notice that it was the middle of the night. And they didn’t care that I was in my pajamas.
The exam room was just like any other medical exam room I have ever been in. The nurse efficiently took my history and my vital signs – just as expected. The doctor did an examination – just as expected. Through the course of the exam, eventually the doctor did a full lab work up, a chest x-ray, and an EKG. The diagnosis was an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection and possible Heart Failure. WAIT!! Did she say Heart Failure!
Rest? I couldn’t rest! The next day, feeling only slightly better, I pulled myself up out of bed and trudged out to the beach to enjoy a day of sand and sun resting on the beautiful beach on Castaway Cay.
So what was the cost of that midnight run to the emergency clinic in the middle of the night? The entire bill was $795, which included $297 for the emergency visit, $64 for the EKG, $73 for the chest x-ray, $350 for several different lab tests, and $11 for medication. This was actually much cheaper than I expected. Since they don’t take insurance, the entire bill was charged to my stateroom, and ultimately to my charge card. Because it was an emergency, my health insurance covered their 80% of the expense (after I finished paying my deductible), and sent me a reimbursement check for $577.
So – Are you wondering about that diagnosis of possible Heart Failure? Well, after all the tests were done back home, I was given a clean bill of heart health by my cardiologist.
All things considered, I would rather not get sick on my next cruise. But if I do, it is comforting to know that quality care and modern equipment is available – even in the middle of the night – in the middle of the ocean – in the middle of a cruise.