Carl Goldman and his wife Jeri couldn’t have written a more perfect script for the first 15 days of their Southeast Asia cruise.
But the last day marked the beginning of an unpredictable story.
“We were fortunate because we had a mini-suite so we had a balcony and could look at the craziness out there, which was like a scene out of the movie the Andromeda Strain, with 60, 70, 80 ambulances at each time, media was all around,” said Carl.
They were among thousands of passengers quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. One passenger tested positive for coronavirus and hundreds more followed.
Passengers were initially told the delay would be one day but that became two weeks.
“We made the best of it, over the 12 days, and decided to go public with it at the time, and had a tremendous response.”
The Southern California radio station owners blogged about their quarantine.
Neither had symptoms at the time.
While the majority of readers were supportive, the couple also experienced severe backlash.
“People were beginning to freak and the worst of social media came out, a lot of vile comments and a lot of threats,” said Carl.
Eventually, a military plane evacuated passengers back to the United States. Unfortunately, on the flight Carl woke up with a high fever.
He was sent to a Nebraska hospital bio-containment unit, testing positive with the virus.
“No one entered my room without wearing a full hazmat suit. It was like Neil Armstrong landing on the moon, with air filters behind them, duct tape so nothing could leak out, three layers of gloves,” remembers Goldman.
He was eventually moved to a lower-level of care area and remains on a regimen of ibuprofen and Gatorade.
“I’ve been through every flavor of Gatorade multiple times, this one, the light blue, is the bomb, stay away from the grape!” Goldman laughed.
He’s part of a clinical study at the hospital and health professionals swab his room to learn more about the virus.
With his symptoms nearly gone, Goldman now waits.
“This is how they hand me my results, on a post-it note. That was my test, you can see NP meaning Nasal Passage, those are positive. Good news is my throat is negative,” said Goldman.
Goldman says he’s relying on humor and support from the outside world as he waits to receive his final post-it note.