Doctor Doobuggerall

April 22, 2009 -

John Heald

I have been invited to a stag party. It’s a weekend in the beautiful town of Prague but because Prague is a hundred times more deviant than even Amsterdam ………I am not going………….and Heidi is unanimous in that.

Actually I am not really that bothered and for two good reasons. A) While the groom and ex Carnival employee Mark is a good friend of mine I would not know any of the other chaps. B) The Thingy will only be a few weeks old and I hardly think its fare buggering off to Prague leaving Heidi knee deep in poo.

Actually there is a third reason. While I like Mark a lot, the sort of stag party he intends to throw will certainly not involve drinking a Diet Coke and cooing over photos of the Thingy.

Anyway, stag parties that are thrown today are a little different. In the old days, the groom would be tied naked to a lamppost and nothing more would be said. Or he’d just go down the pub with his Dad for a pint or two of beer……. but it’s not like that any more.

The modern stag weekend is no longer a warm-hearted rite of passage. It is an extended humiliation, often in a foreign country, usually soaked in slippery nipples. If the groom to be doesn’t wake up the morning after with a root vegetable in his bottom, no body hair and a vague sense that something unspeakable happened the night before with a girl called Miss Whiplash, it is considered a failure.

Mine was in Amsterdam. Whiplash wasn’t hired and no root vegetables were lost in the making of my weekend but I was still forced to go to a place called The Banana Bar accompanied by Ugly Alan, Ken Byrne, Roger Blum, Stefan Christoffersson (ex HD and now senior director in the office in Miami)………. and Wee Jimmy. I don’t think you need me to tell you what the bananas were used for but I will tell you I have never been able to eat one since.

The high point of the night was a quite happy Alan, sponsored by Heineken, staggering into a shop that sold adult fantasy videos (rumpy pumpy movies) and asked the man behind the counter “Scuse meee………do ya have Finding Nemo?”

The night ended, quite sadly some would say, with the stag party meeting up with Heidi and her Hen party and all of us having fun together…..not involving bananas or fruit of any kind.

I got off lightly. I was on a ship and missed my mate Alan’s stag night. He told me how he was forced to drink 10 pints before 10 am, most of them in the departure lounge at Gatwick Airport, before embarking on a 48-hour bender around the delightful and historic city of Edinburgh of which he can remember nothing. There are rumors that he was locked for an hour in a room with a lady boy and, like a Vietnam war veteran, Alan can’t bring himself to talk about what he saw or did.

Nope, my stag party days are over and as I look back I can’t help thinking that the chains of marriage so tight these days that we have to concentrate all our bad behavior into one last woohoo ………anyway, time to pause and have my mid morning snack ………………….. suddenly……….. I quite fancy a banana.

Joko Joan Asked:
Dear John: (Please Reply):
This past January we were to have taken our dream cruise, the 49-day trip to South America, to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.

I often get us travel insurance for “just in case” moments and we did have to cancel our trip due to a cardiac surgical procedure.
What I would like to know is – does Carnival use more than one insurance company? Why I ask is that we were denied a $9,000 refund. The company folded several days before the ship left Florida. This puts a definite crimp in our future cruising. I guess we’re caught between a rock and a hard place, as in these poor economical times we can now never be assured who will be the next company to fold.
We have been fortunate to have sailed on 35 cruises (on various lines) in the past and had been drawn to Carnival in the recent past after sailing with you and Heidi. We have been sailing from the time the “Love Boat” was popular on TV.
We decided back then to give up smoking and pool that money into a “Cruise Fund.” John, imagine that when we stopped smoking the price of a pack of cancer weeds was just going to $.50. Can you just imagine at the going prices nowadays just how much we, or anyone else, can save? Now I feel that our money has definitely gone up “in smoke” anyway . . .
We are very disheartened and quite frankly afraid to cruise, whether it be with or without insurance. This has been a sad and painful experience . . . our “Cruise Fund” has literally “gone up in smoke.”
Thank you for allowing me to vent. I’m waiting on the birth of little “Thingy.”

John Says:
Hello Joko Joan
I was so sorry to hear about your insurance problems. I know how you feel having lost some of our savings as well during the recent credit crunch attack. I am sure you must be feeling very down heartened by what has happened especially as you gave up smoking and put all the money you would have spent on cigarettes into your cruise fund. I guess you are asking who Carnival uses for its travel insurance policies and I will of course find out.
Meanwhile your dream cruise on the Carnival Splendor to South America has gone and I am sure no words I have will take that pain away. The only thing I can hope for is that the medical surgery you or a family member required was successful and that that person is now leading a happy and healthy life.
I will return later this week and let you know more about our insurance plans and I hope some way, some how, you can find a way to continue to enjoy your love of cruising
Thinking of you
John

Katiel53 Asked:

John, (Please Reply)
I hope Heidi and your new baby is born on May 8. My son was born then, but at the time, it was Mother’s Day in the US. What more could I have asked for?
I cracked up at your story about the balcony man. Sometimes, what people say is beyond comprehension, lol.
Do you know who will be the CD on the Glory Oct 17 sailing? I loved Butch when we were on the end of Feb/beginning of March. I really hoped he’d be the CD on Dream when we go Jan 2.
Anyway, soon Baby Heald will be born and your life will change—albeit for the better.
Oh, by the way, my niece and family live in Swindon. I don’t know how far that is from you, but it’s lovely there. I have never heard my niece or her husband say bugger, nor have I heard the children say so. I might have to ask them about it.

John Says:
Hello Katie
Mother’s Day would be a wonderful day for baby Thingy to be born. I am glad you enjoyed having Butch as your cruise director on the Carnival Glory however he will soon be joining the Carnival Liberty. Although not 100% certain, it appears we may have Ryan Fitzgerald as the ship’s CD during your next cruise. Ryan is a brilliant and funny young man and I know you will enjoy all his work. I will have an updated CD schedule for all to see once we get Chris Prideaux back in the office which we all hope is very soon.
Swindon is about two hours from me and I also have cousins (Vie and Keith Booth) who live there ……….it’s a small world……….oh know………I now have that song playing in my mind…………..help!
Thanks for writing and for your words of kindness and I send my best to you and the family
John

linda hartwick Asked:
Hello John and Heidi, I loved your Video, My name is Linda. I wrote in last week but I have no clue some how the e mail was not e mailed to you and it came back. Sooooo here I am writing a second time to tell you how much I enjoy cruising on the Carnival fun ship. On April 23rd I will be on the Carnival Elation going to Ensenada. On May 3rd I will be going back on board on the Carnival SPLENDOR yippee I am counting down the days. I was on the Splendor on March 31st 2009 for only 5 days I went on this cruise solo but had a blast. I make new friends its great that Carnival Cruise Lines makes it so affordable for the average family or for the people that are on a low budget. I am so exited, on the Splendor I will be celebrating my 10th trip that means I get my VIP card. I have been talking for months trying to get to this point and here I am I get to try it out I feel like climbing up a mountain and telling everybody about how thrilled I am to have this status. And I will be celebrating my 50th birthday on the ship. (I am more exited about my VIP card) ha ha. This trip I am travelling with my friend Diane we have our own separate cabins and we are on the 2nd floor. I was going to ask you would you send her a little something for her on Mothers Day. We will be getting off the ship but her two daughters will be with there dad and step mom I just do not want her to feel sad. Her room # is either — or — her last name is Benson. I will be very sad getting off the ship; I always want to stay on and never get off. I am scheduled in the fall to go on the Miracle, glory, and the Liberty. I am from Edinburgh, Scotland My grandma use to tell us stories from when she sailed the Queen Mary and other wonderful ships now I can relate to what she told us except today with carnival we are all treated equal. I have a wonderful cruise consultant her name is Kristen Thomas I am always bugging her asking questions about new ships she is fantastic. I wanted to thank Carnival for creating magical moments allowing guests to try out for the Carnival Legends. On the Valor I auditioned for Madonna (I really can not sing but I can dance) ha ha but it was so exiting to be a part of the show. When I was a child I was extremely shy and I use to stutter my face would turn a bright red when someone would talk to me and here I am singing and dancing to the song Like A Virgin on stage and all my fellow guests and staff loved my performance. I would like to give a quick shout out to cruise director Chris Jefferson and Cruise director Goose on the Carnival Splendor out of the 9 cruise ships they have both impressed me. Thanks guys for doing a wonderful job. John I plan on going on the Carnival Dream next Nov 2010 and maybe I can cruise to Hawaii in April 2010. The staffs works so hard I just wished I could turn the clocks back 30 years I would want to audition for Carnival I would want to be a carnival dancer. Instead as a guest I still get a chance to get up there and have Fun now I know why carnival is known to be the Fun Ship that is so true. On the Carnival Splendor Capt Claudio Cupisti was so kind and sweet sending me the pink carnival Splendor book, A extra bonus I was on the same elevator with him he allowed for me to snap a picture of us together, thank you Captain Cupisti. The Carnival Splendor dancer and singers are awesome they have so much energy and excitement I loved the shows they were so magical, the lights the colours the music the dancing, costumes, stage, audio I can go on and on. I do call the Splendor the pink ship she is splashed all in pink. The food was great on the Splendor I got to take home 4l bs on my body I felt heavier ha ha. I loved the red carpet disco and Shannon was our DJ he gets a thumbs up from me. He caters to everybody with out a hassle or an explanation why he can not play your request. John I am all set I have my Carnival pants and Carnival white shirt logo I will be the team leader if nobody else wants to be I am ready I promise to wear my Carnival Splendor hat. I have told my friend Diane she is also on the white team and not to forget to pack a white outfit as we will score more points for our team ha ha. It is wonderful on Carnival Cruise lines you can bounce from place to place checking out live entertainment with the shows, comedy shows, Ron the piano player Red carpet disco, hanging out with Michelle at Karaoke hanging out in the Morocco lounge etc etc. I love the carpet at the casino on the Splendor. When I grow old I hope I have enough money to cruise in my golden days. I think it would beat a nursing home any day. I want to tell you that I am stuck on Carnival I will only sail with Carnival because it is the Fun Ship. I can go on and on I did not get a chance to tell you first when I was on the Splendor I was thrilled with the young kids and teens they were well behaved and very polite when spoken to. (They were having a lot of fun too)! I am very impressed how hard the staff works, especially if my house keeping guy or girl responds to me by my first or last name they always get a extra tip from me. I had Paul he was on the first floor he did a fantastic job, getting off the ship sitting at the airport I wish I was taking my guy Paul the chef and my waiters home with me, instead I paid for a very expensive sandwich at the airport, taste like cardboard and moan that I have to stand in line for it, that is okay when I get off the ship Diane and I can reflect about our great time and ready to plan our next cruise. I hope I did not put you to sleep John ha ha. Oh by the way here in America when my two sons were babies I used Balmex. It’s a diaper cream, would you like for me to send you a jar? Not long to go I hope you do another video soon; I will be chatting with you soon. Thanks to Carnival for doing a great job and building more new ships for us especially in our bad economic time. Sincerely Linda

John Says:
Hello Linda
I think we should frame your comments…………they made me smile from ear to ear and I am sure that can be said by everyone who read them. I will for sure be sending this to everyone you mentioned above and you can bet there will be smiles on their faces as well. Of course I will arrange a little something for your friend Diane Benson, it will be my pleasure.
The best part of your posting was where you told us all about how as a child your stutter left you feeling embarrassed yet here you are on a Fun Ship singing Like a Virgin ……… you are our very own Susan Boyle and we are all very proud of you.
I hope your love of all things Carnival never diminishes and I also hope to meet you in person one day and listen to what I am sure is a brilliant Madonna impression.
Have a fantastic cruise and thank you again for sharing your joy of life with all of us
Best Wishes
John

Tucson Larry Asked:
Please reply,
Speaking of upgrades we sailed with you on the freedom in 2007. It was the last med. sailing and we sailed on the transition trip to Miami. We had an inside cabin on Rivera stern on the med. trip. I cannot tell you how surprised we where when we wound up in a balcony room on deck 8 forward. P.S. You were missed on the transatlantic. We are sailing on Elation on May 7th and are planning too make our second bloggers cruise with you on the Dream on Dec.7. That will be our 9th Carnival Trip and our 50th wedding aniversary. Best to you and Heidi we tried for 9 years and know the stress it caused you. You might be interested to know after the first one my wife could not stop and wound up with 2 boys, 2 girls and 6 grand children.
Susan and Larry

John Says:
Hello Susan and Larry
I have a feeling one Thingy may just be enough for us! I am so glad you got one of those elusive upgrades and I wish everyone who takes the time to read the blog will be so lucky. I am sorry I couldn’t be with you on the Carnival Freedom trans-Atlantic cruise and hope you have a wonderful time together on the Carnival Elation….maybe number 5?
Best wishes to you and all the family
John

Johnny weaver Asked:
Hello John, Heidi and baby!
My name is Johnny Weaver; I have been pointed in your direction by Kenny Byrne as I am extremely interested in working as a cruise ship singer.
I have been singing for many years and have been working as a professional singer for approx. 12 months.
Please feel free to have a look at my MySpace and hopefully I will hear from you soon.
My contact number is ——
Thank you for your time, congratulations and best wishes for you and your new family.
Johnny

John Says:

Hello Johnny.
I just looked at your MySpace thingy page and listened to your wonderful voice. It will be my pleasure to send your information to our Miami office and I am sure they will be very excited to listen to you as well. You have been blessed with a fantastic voice and the style of music you love is one that will last forever.
While you wait for the office to contact you may I suggest you have a look at www.carnivalentertainment.com which has lots of great information about what are acts are required to do and about life onboard.
I wish you much success mate and keep on singing
Cheers
John

Juan & Maria Santana Asked:
John, please reply:
We have been watching the CNN TV News coverage of the USA/Latin American Conference in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, for 3-4 days now & apparently the main bldg. where they are holding this conference is next to the port…. Guess what! There has been a Carnival Ship shown on the background all this time! Free publicity for Carnival! The CNN Reporters are right up front doing their thing & right smack on the background we have been watching the Carnival ship with is distinctive Red/White/Blue logo on the chimney! Which cruise ship is the one visiting Port-of-Spain? We have looked high & low on Carnival.com for that info & was unable to get the name. Please advise.
The Santanas of Miami Beach

John Says:
Hello Juan and Maria
Thanks for the update. I did some checking on this and it’s the Carnival Victory which has been chartered for Summit of the Americas conference being held in Trinidad.
Thanks for the information and we love free advertising
Cheers
John

hug71 Asked:
John, please reply
First of all, Heidi you look wonderful. Thank you for letting us all be a part of this wonderful event in yours and John’s life.
John, I wanted to let you know although I am sure you already do know what a wonderful group of vacation specialists Carnival has put together. I recently booked myself on the Dream, the initial one from Port Canaveral. I had been thinking about doing this for some time and finally did. By the way, my family thinks I am crazy wanting to cruise by myself but I love cruising and I love Carnival and I know that I will meet people aboard the ship so I don’t worry about it. The vacation specialist I had been working with became very rude when I booked the cruise. I called and told a supervisor who was very apologetic and told me that they would get me reassigned to another specialist. I really had just wanted them to know as I wasn’t really worried about it. Several hours later I received a call from another specialist named Cindy Fallon, who couldn’t have been any sweeter. She apologized for the way I had been spoken to by my previous specialist and immediately went to make sure my booking was just the way I had wanted it. She has totally bent over backwards to make sure I am happy. Because of this, I will continue to cruise on Carnival and look forward to many good cruises to come (this will be my fourth Carnival cruise and the third different Carnival ship I have been on). I wanted to know if there was any way to let Cindy’s supervisor know via an email maybe how wonderful she has been?
Thanks.
Jen

John Says:
Hello Jen (love the Hug thing by the way):
If there is one thing I dislike the most is rudeness………OK………….it’s the French ………. but seriously I am so sorry that you thought one of our Vacation Planners was rude to you and I thank you for taking the time to let someone know. I have taken the time to forward your comments to Cindy’s’ supervisor whom I am sure will be thrilled to read that you appreciated her kindness.
Please don’t worry about cruising alone. Many, many people do this and they all find new friends and companions to enjoy the voyage with. You will love the Carnival Dream and we are all excited to show her off.
I remain here should you need anything else
Best Wishes
John

linda hartwick Asked:
John, One question I forgot to ask, sometimes I wake up in the night well to be honest I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. When I wake up I like to know what time it is, I do not wear a watch especially when I am in a hot climate my skin gets sticky and sweaty, I like to turn off my cell phone I don’t want to talk to anybody or I might miss all the fun. Where is the Digital clock or a clock in the cabin? Most people tell me they turn on the light find there glasses and look at there watch. I would rather look at the clock tell myself it’s too early, roll over and go back to sleep. People tell me you are on vacation, time is not an issue, but it is there might be a class I might want to and not want to miss it. Then the time is on the television but I have to wait and catch a glimpse on what time it is. So instead this week I am going to Wal-Mart and picking up a digital alarm clock and I will bring it with me on every cruise. That is the only small issue that I have. Maybe some day Carnival will put a clock in the future. John have you heard any other comments from your carnival guests? Well that is all that I forgot to mention it’s the count down getting back on the Carnival card and I pick up my VIP card as I mentioned in my last letter I am soooo exited getting this. I will be getting on the Elation for 3 days that will be interesting I have not been on that ship. Did I tell you I am from Edinburgh, Scotland, I came over in 1979 when I was 19 years old. I was in London, Edinburgh and Ireland for one month visiting mostly family and friends. So tell me what is the latest scoop on prince William is he getting married this summer or some time soon? Well take care I will here from you soon. Please reply and tell me what you have to say about the clock. Thank you Linda

John Says:
Linda
I also have to get up and take a pee a lot during the night so I know how you feel. Now, I would like to say that many people ask me about why we don’t have clocks in the cabin. Well, actually we do. When you turn your TV on the homepage has the time listed there so I suggest you keep the remote control next to your bed and when you have to get up to do …….well………..what you have to do, turn the TV on which will illuminate the cabin and tell you if it’s time for breakfast yet.
Hope this helps
Cheers
John

Dave Myerly Asked:
John Please Reply…..
Carnival On Board Credit Policy
I raised this question to you many months ago after I found we were restricted by Carnival Corporate Policy on the use of ON BOARD CREDITS. I said at that time I believe the policy is an “Unfair and Sharp Business Practice”.
You told me this item was under discussion at the Corporate level and I should wait to see if their was to be any change in the policy. I have waited and still see nothing but wonder if the “Cash Back” booking is part of this issue.
My problem last fall was that I desired to use our on board credits for a major jewellery purchase at the Splendor gift shop while on back to back cruises on the Splendor during cruises in Europe most of September 2008. However trying
to find a way to get Carnival to allow me to use OUR credit was difficult and should not have been.
I learned the Policy is…..
1. You MUST use ALL on board credit by the end of each cruise or you lose it.
Hence the “USE IT OR LOSE IT” terminology, or as I call it “WE HAVE IT, WERE NOT GIVING IT BACK, AND YOU CAN’T GET IT,”
2. Carnival WILL NOT allow ANY On Board credit to be redeemed for cash or credited back to your credit card account.
I want to know what decision, if any, was made about my question about this Carnival Business Practice for use of On Board Credit. This seems to
only exasperate many loyal Carnival customers.
While on the Splendor again in Feb/Mar 2009 I checked and was told no change has been made in Corporate Policy about the use of on board credit?
You can’t roll them over from one cruise to the next even if on back to back cruises and you still are locked to the Corporate Policy saying “If you don’t use on that cruise you lose it.”
The following note is posted on a Carnival ad that an on board credit up to $240 will be given and if you did not use it you can take it home. However, the method chosen to return it by delivering a check to your stateroom the morning of
debarkation seems foolish and unnecessary. Why not refund the credit amount onto your sail and sign account except for those not using a credit card.
Does this mean there has been a change to Corporate Policy about the use of on board credit? Can I roll it over on back to back cruises? Can I choose to collect any remainder in cash if I choose to do so? After all it is MY On board Credit. I should be able to manage it the way I CHOOSE.
Here is the Carnival Note in the ad:
Cash back issued as refundable onboard credit of: (i) $50 per person up to $100 per stateroom on select 3 – 4 day sailings (ii) $75 per person up to $150 per stateroom on select 5 day sailings; or (iii) $120 per person up to $240 per stateroom on select 6, 7 or 8 day sailings. At the end of the cruise, any remaining unused portion of the cash back refundable onboard credit will be delivered in check form to your stateroom on the morning of debarkation. See carnival.com/cashback for details.

Dave Myerly

John Says:
I know how passionate you feel about this and I have been trying to get you an answer but it seems so far I have been unsuccessful. I know that there are no bigger supporters of Carnival than you and Jo so please know that I will continue to investigate this matter on your behalf. I did send your comments to one of our VP’s and I am waiting for an answer from then. I will now go back to her and see if there is any news. Please continue to use this blog to vent and frustrations you have and I will do all I can to help.
Best Wishes
John

Christy Richardson Asked:
First of all John, let me say that your life is not over. It is just taking a new turn, and you are growing up. Yes, you are finally leaving your adolescence behind and moving on into adulthood where you will be responsible for a family. Dreams of Aston martins will become dreams of the newest SUVs or perhaps even (dare I say it) a minivan. But, I will say enjoy everyday you have with what I hope is your beautifully healthy baby. They years go by very quickly and you will soon find that their cute faces have grown into teens and they are towering over you. But, then, there will be a day when they will grow up and move out on their own and you can regress back to adolescence and enjoy Heidi all by yourself again. Of course, then you will have e grandkids, and that will be even more fun.
Please Reply—
We just got off of our first family cruise on the Conquest. Almost everything went smoothly, except for one very big incident at Camp Carnival that happened the very first day, but I will not belabour that description. Everything was apologized for and policies were changed and other things put into place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
We received the best care while on the ship. We almost felt like VIPs we had so many people asking how we were doing and if we were receiving everything we needed.
My daughter, who is autistic, was even more calm while on the ship that when at home. I think the gentle rocking of the ship seemed to help her. And she loved to watch the water out the windows
I must say we were very impressed with everything. The crew of the conquest provided everything we were promised and more. My daughter, Kaylin had a fabulous hostess, Aysu, who made sure all of her food was prepared to our specifications (Gluten and Casein Free), and she became a great friend of our family. We would like to cruise the Conquest again before she leaves the ship.
Also, Camp Carnival was great. They took great care of our kids. Jennifer the Youth Director was very easy to get along with and made sure all of our fears were eased before we left our daughter, then after the incident, she took great pains in contacting everyone possible and getting her way to fix the problems. She worked with Dany, the Hotel Director to make sure everything was fixed very promptly and assured us that it would not happen again. She and her team were great with both of my daughters and my son enjoyed Circle C (as a matter of fact, the only times we saw him while on the ship, was dinner times. Other than that he was at Cirle C or The Arcade).
The Purser’s Desk Crew was great, and they did everything they could to help us avoid crowded areas during debarkation and embarkation at ports.
Chris, the CD was phenomenal and we saw him several times overseeing activities to ensure that everything was running properly. Other CDs I have been with have always made intro or announcements then left. I have never seen a CD stick around to watch the shows and activities. He even did a great job keeping everyone informed of what was going on during our debarkation day when we were late getting to port because the port was closed due to weather the night before.
Anyways, there are so many, many more people I could name that made our family feel very welcome and I will be writing reviews on both Cruise Critic and Carnival Connections, but is there a place where I can write Carnival via snail mail? I would like to name many people, and it would take more that the 1000 characters allowed on the contact us page of the carnival site.
P.s. thank you for helping to make sure everything was taken care of for our family.

John Says:
Hello Christy
Thanks firstly for the kind words of advice and I truly hope I can be a great Dad and have 50-inch plasma.
What a fantastic report and once again I was smiling big time after reading it. I am so happy for you because you got to experience a true family vacation especially because was calm and relaxed, I am sure that meant the world to you.
I will forward this to the ship and I know they will be very proud to read your review. Please send me a detailed list of names who you wish to praise here and I will send it to the very top. If you wish to discuss the concern you had as well please feel free to do so and I will address with those concerned.
I thank you again for your words of kindness and your terrific posting.
Best wishes to you and the family
John

That’s all for today.

Thanks to everyone for writing in and please keep the comments coming. You may have noticed that I answer 10 questions each day so I will get to yours as soon as I can.
I have passed the beautiful comments you have written for Malcolm onto his mother. I hope to have some good news about him soon.

Now, lets talk about fun……….actually lets talk about Fun Force who are our interactive performers. They are currently on the Carnival Glory, Carnival Valor and soon will be on other ships as well. They are a brilliant group of acrobatic dancers……..rather like myself …………..and perform all over the ship including in the atrium lobbies. I thought you might like to see some photos of them IN ACTION.

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In the past, a trip to the doctor would have been enough to reassure most people. Nowadays we have access to much of the information previously available only to doctors and, a little learning can be a dangerous thing. We are all a mere Google away from any number of chronic conditions.

For example, when I logged on to one self-diagnosis website and typed my symptoms such as fatigue, stomach ache and runny number two’s, I was informed that I had possibly have ovarian cysts, or kidney failure and to call 911 immediately which considering that here in the UK that’s the phone number for the speaking clock it wasn’t going to be of much use.

For the last three days I have had stomach ache and nausea and felt as tired as sloth who has just taken a paw full of sleeping pills. Now, I know that when I don’t feel well my sugar level goes up as I have experienced before. Usually it is between 6 and 7 which I have no idea how that translates into the American system. Anyway, when I have been a bit naughty and eaten lots of carbs it has risen to as high as 9. However, these last few days it has gone as high as 11 and that really freaked me out.

So, like an idiot I asked Dr. Google for help and that’s when I discovered I had problems with my ovaries and that my kidneys were buggered. It also told me that as diabetic I could have protein in my urine which could lead to a coma ……and death. But Dr. Google wasn’t finished there because he also told me that I could have a whole number of other diabetic side effects that meant I should bother getting into the new series of 24 because I would be dead by the time Jack Bauer realizes that he has been double crossed and that he hasn’t had a poo since series 3. I have an ache in my right hand side lower abdomen and Dr. Google told me that I have appendicitis, gall stones, kidney stones and the rolling stones.

I also new that without warning my diabetic medicine had changed. Yes it was still Metmorphin but it was a different brand all of a sudden. So, I asked Dr. Google about this and learned that the brand I was using now was not made in the sparkling lavatories of the UK but in fact it came from that very well known producer of pharmaceuticals ……… ummmm…..Belgium…….which is famous for …… ummmm …… chocolate and ummmmm ……….Jean Claude Van Damme.

I had noticed that I had more problems controlling my blood sugar levels since I started taking this new brand and yet I had been lazy and done bugger all about it. I had the excuse of being away from home out of the ships etc but when you think about it ………… that’s no excuse at all.

And so I went to bed last night wondering if I would hear Peter the Pigeon sing to me the next morning or if I would be in a coma………or worse. Seriously, I didn’t sleep much as I Dr. Google had told me to check my sugar level every two hours or I would die. I said nothing to Heidi………….there was no way I was going to stress her out……..not in her condition. Being diabetic I know that I have to be careful but I can manage this disease ……………..but thanks to Dr. Google I was bloody scared.

I didn’t sleep much…….just dropped on and off between sugar level checks. It was one of those awful nights……..ones where you dream and remember everything. I dreamed about my own funeral and boy was it weird……….do you remember the dreams Tony Soprano used to have……….well…..it was a bit like that…although some of it was quite memorable.

The point I like the best is right at the end where the person delivering my eulogy says: “People often ask me, ‘Just who was the man we knew as John Heald?’ He was the man who should have played James Bond? The first man to successfully fuse hip-hop and classical music? The first to point out Paris smells and is of no interest to anyone? No. To me he was simply . . . a hero.”

A hero……what a load of bollocks. You see, I’m always wishing I was a hero, but these days no one else seems to think that’s anything to aspire to. Most teenagers’ idea of doing something heroic is to get on MTV reality show and commit some sort of rumpy pumpy act, live in front of millions.

Personally I blame television. It’s always been an influencer of young minds. In my youth all the best shows had a philanthropic nature to them. The A-Team, armed only with machineguns made from BA’s jewellery and some cabbages, helped impoverished farmers get their land back.

These are the people that taught me the true meaning of heroism when I was growing up. Yes, that’s right: George Peppard, Face, Murdock and Mr T shaped my life.

But nowadays everybody on the TV has to be mean and ironic to get ratings. The excellent House stars Hugh Laurie as a doctor curing people, but his “thing” is that he’s also a nasty and rude drug addict. Even the show promisingly titled Heroes is a bit of a disappointment.

It’s about a group of ordinary people coming to terms with having superpowers, but they completely misuse them. Christopher Eccleston plays a tramp who has the amazing superpower of invisibility — great, but why doesn’t he use it to explore the Playboy Mansion or use his invisibility to dodge those annoying women who try and spray you with the latest Chanel perfume when you walk in a department store or to just to see the reaction of the people who book that 100-square-foot cabin on NCL.

I’ve always thought that the real heroes of this era are World War II veterans. Defeating Nazism was one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century yet their generation are often cruelly overlooked today.

We need to get back to basics and teach people what it means to be a hero again. That’s right, a Hero College. I want to see Gene Hackman circa The Poseidon Adventure in a classroom demonstrating how to shout “Get them to safety” while sacrificing himself in a wall of boiling steam.

I want teachers showing pupils the correct way to throw themselves on a grenade to shield their friends from the blast. I want Winston Churchill teaching President Obama and Gordon Brown how to deliver a speech after drinking two whole bottles of brandy. I want to see Nelson Mandela demonstrating how to be quietly dignified even when all you have to wear is a horrible lime green embroidered shirt.

But most of all I want Arnold Schwarzenegger installed as the head teacher.

Self-sacrifice is the most important part of heroism, so each day at assembly he would address the school while lowering himself into a pool of molten metal just like he does at the end of Terminator 2.

Personally I think this is the course of action we need to take if we want heroism to be cool again. And if that silver-headed patron saint of good deeds George Peppard were alive today he’d certainly agree with me………. I think.

I just realized that I have digressed………what a shocker.

So after my crazy dream, morning came and Peter the Pigeon sang outside my window and crapped on it as usual as well. Over breakfast I casually told Heidi about my Dr. Google misadventure and after a huge Carnival Dream sized bollocking she made me go and see a real doctor……….not Dr. Google but our family physician………….Dr. Ramitin.

I told him about my problem with the medicine I was taking and about my stomach cramps and fatigue. He reassured me that my elevated sugar levels were probably due to my gastro-illness and not the other way round. He did change my medicine back to the original one that I have been taking since I was diagnosed plus he added me onto something called Actos, as well.

I also gave him a urine sample …….hold on that doesn’t sound right……….that sounds like I just pissed over his desk and said here you are…………I mean I gave him a urine sample in one of those impossible to hit little cup thingies. He will now test this to make sure my kidneys are OK.

Well, I just tested my sugar level and it’s back to normal…….5.7………and I am very, very happy. Now, I should also tell you that I am on a very, very strict diet and have been for a week now. I am not eating any red meat or fried foods (goodbye bacon, fries and fried bread) anything cooked in heavy sauces plus reducing my carb intake as suggested by my dietician. This means I shall be living on chicken, fish, salads, vegetables and whole wheat bread.

It is my intention to lose 60 pounds by December 31. I know I have prodded around this issue before and ended up doing bugger all about it but this time………I am as serious as can be………it’s not just for me of course it’s for the ones I love…..and because I want to wear more spandex.

I know now I will never use the Internet to research my aches and pains…….. Dr. Google my arse

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and the Thingy

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.