Ok the game changer is warfarin. It’s a tricky business. Skipper is back in hospital getting more Doctors in on the problem. Dilemma is taking him off warfarin which they have done this last 24 hours, to promote clotting, and taking the risk of clotting from his mechanical valve which can cause a stroke. All I want is my Skipper back!! Patience has never been my virtue, so that’s Sideways challenge.
Thanks to G-Dockers for lots of luv and support.
We were sitting in the cockpit with our good friend Vic, who watches over G-Dock like a Mama Bear. Every inch of OMOO had been sorted and cleaned, the Skipper and Sideways Sally were ready to go chase some wind. I was only joking when I said, “Now if the boat gets messy again, call 911!!
We were ready to do this…
A week later, after steadying a very wobbly Skipper up the ramp, Vic called 911 for real. A few days earlier Hershey had something “coming out” the wrong color – black! When he told Sideways that had been going on for about three days she asked him what he was planning to do about it. The Skipper nonchalantly suggested he would wait a few days to see if it got better. Sideways was screaming inside “that doesn’t fu****g get better!” Then she calmly made him promise he would go “see Dr. Gisela today.” From previous experience Sideways understands when things aren’t making sense, the skipper isn’t getting enough blood to the brain to think straight.
It’s nothing new that his Doctor has Hershey on speed dial, but this time it was an invitation for an visit sooner than later. “Call an ambulance to get a ride to ER” was the direction given after blood work results showed his hemoglobin level was in the toilet. The paramedics arrived promptly and after hearing his medical history of surviving two aortic dissections related to Marfans, they had him laying down and hooked up to a saline IV in no time. After checking into ER the nurses whisked him up to a room for a blood transfusion along with an infusion of IV Pantoprazole to heal acid damage to the stomach and esophagus,. After topping him up with two bags of blood his color started to come back.
Now we’re doing this…
The skipper’s sense of humor never fails us. He’s cracking jokes about dracula being at happy hour and that no one believed him about that. Next he had to drink “clear lite” to clear the plumbing. “It tastes like milkshake.” He’s thinks he’s freezing to death lying beside the air conditioner, but the warm hospital blankets and smiles of his young nurses give him the will to live. The gentleman in the other bed is also a sailor so of course it doesn’t take long for the stories to fly back and forth.
Once he’s pooping clear fluid he’s off to have a scope at both ends which show a small tear in his upper intestine. Some medication is applied to this to assist in healing and his warfarin is stopped briefly to promote clotting.
After the Doctors were satisfied that he could be monitored at home with regular bloodwork being done and a follow up with his family Doc, he was cleared to be discharged but not before seeing the Social Worker.
The skipper was flagged for the Social Worker who approached in a bright tie-dyed shirt with a hospital vest over it. After a brief conversation about the shirt he asked what living on a boat was like and how comfortable was Hershey in returning to the boat. The SW explained that medical people have cared for a marginalized population, some living on derelict boats, which is quite common here on the West Coast. We just don’t think of this lifestyle as anything but normal, which it is for us. The skipper quickly explained that for him the boat feels very safe as there are many hand holds to grab and that the space is comfortable and mostly on one level below with a raised deck salon that is higher than most boats, which allows for greater visibility to the outdoors. We both explained that the live aboard community is a very tight-knit group so there’s always help close by. It also helped that his Psych Nurse is available for the next three weeks (hehehe). She was telling her inside voice to stay inside and not talk about the condition of the boat when it’s in project mode. After the SW left Hershey turned to Sideways and asked, “what if they didn’t want me to go back to the boat?” to which the reply was, “I would never let that happen.” We’re a team and that’s that!
The first mate is thankful OMOO is at home berth, due to a number of factors that played out this spring. On the other hand, we could have got a ride on the Coast Guard Hovercraft we’ve been admiring going across the strait in 20 minutes!! Oh well, next time.
The Skipper’s son James wrote this note: “Hey Dad, while they were running the scopes, did they happen to notice where you keep the horseshoe? You seem to have pretty remarkable luck when it comes to being in the medically right place at the medically right time!”
This week is a very good reminder that medical attention can be needed at any time. I’m very lucky that my Skipper has always taught me everything about OMOO. I’ve practiced bringing her in to dock, would be able to anchor safely, and can operate and call out appropriately on the VHF to get help. Whether it’s the Skipper or 1st mate or crew, everyone on board needs to know how to handle a boat when emergencies arise. So ladies and gentlemen, if your skipper hasn’t taught you everything about taking the helm, or caring for your vessel, start today.
We are both very impressed with the prompt and professional care received at Cowichan District Hospital. The skipper is home and resting comfortably. He’s pooped but not pooping black, and is very grateful to be back on his boat, it’s right where he wants to be.
We also want to sincerely thank Vic (from 3 boats down) for always being a friend and lending a hand.
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