wine by the color

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The night before we left for the cruise, my parents received a notice from their travel agent that there had been some trouble with the Norwalk virus on two of our ship's previous sailings. The letter stated that although our trip would proceed as planned, they would be taking some extra precautions to avoid another outbreak on our sailing.

My mother asked me to run to Wal-Mart to get some Lysol hand wipes, so we could keep things as bacteria-free as possible. That turned out to be completely unnecessary, as the ship's crew was cleaning 24 hours a day. You couldn't go anywhere without seeing (and smelling) someone wiping down the railings, counters and walls with bleach-soaked rags.

There were other noticeable precautions. The crew didn't shake hands with anyone (except for the Turkish waiter, and I'll try to get to that later today). Every time we went to a show, we were reminded that "the best way to avoid sickness is to simply wash your hands after bathroom breaks and before eating anything." In the dining areas, no one was allowed to serve themselves at the breakfast and lunch buffets (which, while a bit of a pain in the ass, might have helped me avoid gaining any weight since I didn't over-serve myself. It's a lot easier to grab three desserts when you're quietly taking them, rather than looking at someone and saying, "Yes, I'll have a cream puff, a slice of lemon meringue pie and three cookies, please.") At dinner, there was no salt, pepper or butter on the table. You always had to ask for it.

And then, there was this...

Might I introduce you to the Germcontrol Touchless Sanitation System. These things were everywhere. In the dining areas, gym and casino. Outside the ship's theater. Whenever we reached a port, these were the first things the crew carried off. Before you got back onto the ship, you had to take a hit of Germcontrol.

My biggest regret is not immediately starting a running count of how many times I used this thing to clean my hands. At least 20 times a day. Sometimes, twice in five minutes. If you walked in one side of a buffet and then through to the other entrance, they'd make you use it again. Fortunately, because my family has a wacky sense of humor, we had some good laughs over the constant hand washing. Even though it's left my hands so dry you could lose pocket change in the cracks.

But fortunately, none of us got the virus, or the "veeerus," as our French friends called it. There were rumors of a minor outbreak and some people confined to their rooms, but we certainly didn't have anything like this. What a nightmare.


  • At 11/22/2006 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My responsibilities at work lately have focused on controlling micro-organisms in Health and Beauty Aids. For manufacturing equipment, it doesn't count as sanitized unless you have 30 minutes of contact time with alcohol. Sounds like you totalled more than 30 minutes, so you should be good.

    Check out:

  • At 11/23/2006 11:44 PM, Blogger todd a said…

    Interesting that all of these actions can help with a virus.

    If only these precautions were in effect for Maginc Johnson in the 80s, then he'd still be alive today.

    What do you mean he's still alive? WTF???

  • At 11/24/2006 12:48 AM, Blogger SJPSandman said…

    They should have these contraptions around the South Side


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