Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Celebrity Equinox–What Might Have Been

At the moment I am sitting in cabin 3589. Across the hall Nick the lounge guitar player sits in his cabin strumming his acoustic. He’s not strumming his acoustic in a lounge because he is on day seven of laryngitis. Outside the ship’s hull is the ocean, passing by at an estimated speed of eighteen knots as we cruise back to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I say estimated because the ship’s channel doesn’t tell me how fast we’re going. And as for me? I’m sitting by the phone waiting to see if the medical center is going to allow me to sign me off tomorrow.

If it wasn’t for that last sentence I would begin telling you all about the Celebrity Equinox, how it is a massive cruise ship built in 2009 that has a passenger capacity of 3,200 and a crew of 1,200. I would go on to explain how the 1,200 seat, 10 million dollar theatre has more bells and whistles than a one man band busking the weekend shift on Santa Monica Pier. And I would finish by bragging about starting my itinerary in the Eastern and Western Caribbean before crossing the Atlantic and doing ten and eleven day cruises out of Italy to Greece and Turkey.

But there’s still the matter of that last sentence… and five minutes later I am still waiting for that phone call.

To make a long story short, it turns out that sweating over a hot microphone isn’t doing my already ailing left ear any favors. Those of you who know me, or have kept up with my blogs, know that I have been fighting my bum ear for years. Two stapedectomies and two fat graphs later, I thought I had it licked… or at least thought we had come to an agreement. Simply put, I still have a hole in my ear drum that the fat grafts didn't take care of… bummer. After singing a double of our Cirque style show “Equinox,” however, my ear was ringing louder than that one man busker on Santa Monica Pier. So after seeing an ear doctor in Florida, and verifying his concerns with another ENT in Cartagena, Colombia (Celebrity’s idea, not mine), the papers have been signed stating that I am no longer “fit for duty.” That was three days ago, and after another eight minutes I still have no idea if I’m disembarking tomorrow.

In any case, there are the usual stories to tell about the ship, her crew areas, and my time spent (however brief) both on and off the vessel… but I think all that is best saved for another time.


I wrote all of that somewhere in late February, only to rediscover it in early May. I intended to write a blog about my newest release, ALL NIGHT LONG SHOT. Instead, I think I’ll go ahead and finish the story.

So I did finally make it off the ship on March 3rd, flying out of St. Maarten to Ft. Lauderdale, then experiencing the finest immigration process known to man before flying back to Texas. Since then I’ve seen an ear doctor locally, then an ear specialist at UT Medical in Dallas. After that I scheduled a surgery, and went under the knife just a couple of weeks ago. Basically he peeled the ear drum back, lazered away the infections and scar tissue, then took a skin graft from my ear and laid the cartilage on the inside of the ear drum to encourage the hole to seal. He then packed the inside of the eardrum with some dissolving chemical, closed the hood, and layered more packing in the outside. It’s sort of like an eardrum PB&J.

Just yesterday I saw the ear doc for my first check in, and he says things are healing properly. In another six weeks my ear drum will hopefully have totally sealed and stop letting water into my middle ear, which is the major cause for my hearing loss and tinnitus (both awesome things to have as a singer).  So I’m doing everything I can to promote ear health: taking baths instead of showers, not washing my hair, chanting while stabbing a voodoo doll and juggling snakes… you know, all the stuff the doctor prescribes.

Unfortunately, I will most likely not be back on the Equinox any time soon. It’s not anything bad; just that when a cruise ship employee of my position has to leave, the replacement that comes on will finish the contract. And that’s cool too. There’ll be other opportunities. Sure, I’ll miss seeing Greece, and hanging out with some great people, but health has to come first, and I am extremely thankful that RCCL has helped me along the way.

And that’s about it! Hopefully I’ll be writing about some more exciting things in the near future. But as for right now, it’s my ear and the Pythagorean theorem.

A squared + B squared = C squared.

Keep on Livin’ The Dream,


Michael Lamendola (hanging out with the Celebrity Equinox in Roatan, Honduras)