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Eye bruise before Caribbean cruise brings on blues

By John Toth

The Bulletin

It was a week before Cruise Day. Sharon came into my office, pressing a bag of ice against her face.

“What happened,” I inquired.

She started to explain. Simba, the cat, attempted to run into the garage when she opened the door, where a stray cat was eating, or sleeping, or just hanging out.

Sharon tried to grab Simba, and as she bent down to pick him up, the corner of her right face hit the side of the kitchen countertop.

It was a bad bruise and swelled up right away. She held the ice bag on it. It could have been worse. She could have hit the corner of the countertop, and her eye could also have been damaged.

But she was fine, except for a black eye - a week before we planned a cruise.

That was not good timing.

“It's not that bad. It should go away by the time we sail,” she said.

I don’t know about that, I was thinking. These bruises last a while before the skin tissues heal. I’m no doctor, but it’s probably going to be weeks, not a few days.

I relayed this information to her, but she remained optimistic.

So be it. A few days went by, and the eye and the area around the eye was still discolored and puffy. Each morning, she stood in front of the bathroom light and convinced herself that the bruise was almost gone. Then I turned on the light.

This presented several problems, although we were convinced that physically, she was O.K. The accident would not have longer lasting consequences than some lingering skin discoloration.

The problem was - the skin discoloration. She basically had a black eye. We were supposed to get on a ship in a few days.

I was also concerned that people would see the eye and jump to conclusions. Then they would talk, and all of the sudden false rumors would get started about what had happened.

Then I became concerned how her black eye would affect our cruising plans.

If you have cruised, you know that there are dozens of occasions on the ship and onshore when photographers are ready to snap your picture.

How would we handle that? Those guys get a cut from every photo that sells. They are persistent.

Luckily, we watched a lot of cruising YouTube videos before our trip, and learned that it’s O.K. to just say no - politely with a smile. “I’m good. Thank you, though,” as one experienced cruiser put it.

You can’t please everyone. On the ship and at tourist spots, the cruisers are the money bags that support a lot of businesses - and who also get scammed on a regular basis. Economies where the ships sail depend on them.

“Just say no to photographs,” I said, “Like they do in the videos.”

We agreed.

On the morning of the cruise, we were video calling with our daughter, who saw the bruise for the first time.

“Dad, everyone is going to think that you did it,” she said - right off the bat. Thank you, daughter, for confirming my fears. She has never been one to mince her words.

“Mom, you need a concealer. Run down to the store and get one before you go to the port today,” she suggested.

That’s what we did. We had an hour to spare because I learned a long time ago that traveling with Sharon requires time cushions to be built into our departure, and those cushions even need cushions.

We ran over to Walgreens, where a super nice clerk helped Sharon pick out a concealer.

We were still within our time cushion’s cushion. Sharon applied it at home. What a difference.

Black eye gone. It was as if she Photoshopped it away. Problem solved.

Bring on the ship and port photographers.

We’re ready. Although we’ll probably follow the advice dispensed by the professional cruisers on YouTube and just say no - maybe.


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