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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Royal Bahamian Pain in the Arse

We I have been stretching out the pain in the arse (we'll use that term since the Bahamas were so English for so long) story for some time.  I'll try to keep is short.  Feel free to laugh.  Oh and I promise no photos oh my naked arse.

Try conveying the Message "Your son is safe, I am on IV pain killers and antibiotics in a clinic"  by using Facebook to the mother of an 11 year old that has not seen him in over 3 months!  If you are lucky there will be a phone nearby.

Below is a chronicle of the events

Day one  3-26:  Allens Cay:  I think a horse fly bit my Arse as Tin has multitudes of bite marks on his upper body.  He learned, I think, about shirts and afternoons in Morgan's Bluff.  We left Morgan's a couple days ago so maybe it is just showing up.  I did do some sail work in one of the outdoor buildings in the Regatta Park.

Day two   3-27:  It is still “bugging” me

Day three   3-28:  Okay this is unusual.  Did I get spider bit?  I start applying “black tar” to help remove the poison if there is any.  Damn this black tar smells!

Day four  3-29:  Normans Cay:  “Man this hurts!” cried my brain as I sat into the dinghy to row to shore. 

Day five   3-30:  “Hmmm, No wind to sail I am just going to lie here and suffer” 

Day Six   3-31: Sail to Exumas land and sea Park:  Sitting sideways in the cockpit chair. 

Day Seven   4-1:  Suffer though it and go to Boo Boo Hill to do the drift wood.  Ask about internet to check on spider bite information.  You have to have a mooring so it is $35 a day for internet.  I'm too cheap so more suffering.  The information wouldn't beam a doctor here even if I knew Scotty.  Try to decide if I should take either of the antibiotics I have on board.  Both of the on-board manuals say crap about spider bites.  I finally find my copy of “where there is no doctor” and it has crap about spider bites!  I am now trying to remember what I researched over a year ago just in case I made it to Central America. Which is why I have the black tar in the first place.  I pass on starting antibiotics.  Fever of 101.

Day Eight   4-2:  No wind!  Cry “UNCLE” and radio EL&SP and ask if a Medic was on staff.  NO!  Nearest is at Staniel Cay.   Tin says “I hate this place!”  I am offered a Dinghy Ride to Staniel tomorrow by another cruiser but I have no way back.  And fearing the pain involved in a 13 mile dinghy ride I have to pass!   Fever of 102 tonight.  Thinking about antibiotics again but put it off since we will be in Staniel tomorrow.  I hope!   For reference there is no nurse or doctor between Nassau and Staniel Cay.  If it is you lucky day there may be one on a cruising boat that may volunteer to help.  It wasn't my lucky day

Day Nine   4-3:  Wake up nauseated and dizzy!  Dry heaving overboard!  We motor to Staniel Cay and find the Clinic Closed!  When the operators of the Pink Grocer ask why I was walking so, I explained I may have been spider bit.  They asked if I went to the Clinic.  After I told them it was closed they called for me and said to go back by she would be there soon.  THANKS!  By now this was an actual volcano shaped swelling on my arse.  It had a base diameter of a golf ball and half as high.  There was drainage from the top and my whole check was rock hard.  Stressing as what this would do to our cruising budget made things even worse.  There was a minimum fee of $30 just for the visit.  As the nurse finished her initial exam and placed an IV needle in my arm the cash register just kept going Ca-ching, Ca-ching.  First there was the IV antibiotics, then the IV pain killers, then the week of oral antibiotics, the week of  anti-inflammatory meds, the dressings, the pads and everything else from the visit, then the discussion of lancing the infection and flying back to the USA!   OMFG!  The Ca-ching was quickly in the thousands and my boat would be unattended in the Bahamas!  Then the medical costs in the USA.  Then getting back to the boat! OF!  I think I need to add blood pressure and ulcer meds to the list now.  And we didn't even get to snorkel in Thunderball Grotto! 

About the time she started the IV pain killers the local doctor couple came in to check on my condition.  (The nurse had called and set up possibly lancing the infection tomorrow with them).  So it was down with the shorts again and the couple being so polite asked if I would mind them examining the infection. I was thinking “Do you know how bad this is hurting now?  I would walk naked through town and draw stuff in chicken blood to make it better!” After all the full moon is close!  They agreed with the initial exam as not a spider bite just an infected follicle or pore.  They said (after much prodding and poking which translates to DAMN F*&%^NG PAINFUL) that after seeing several points of drainage lancing wouldn't be needed.  Awesome, no lancing means no flying home!  We are back to just what it costs today and for follow ups!  Better but not good.  

While I waited for the last IV to finish I asked to use the Clinic internet to contact home.  It was great to get a response right away instead of having to leave a message and check later for a response.  I was trying to convey “I think” it is going to be okay by Facebook messenger and finally gave up and sent the phone number for the Clinic.  Now by phone is was simpler to fill in all the blank spaces.  So what was the total for all the above IV's and the visit?  Sixty-six dollars!  That would have easily been $660 in the USA and if you would have had insurance they may have admitted you for the night making it closer to $6600. 

I find out that on day three if I would have taken the broad spectrum antibiotics and the black tar together I may have avoided the escalation of the infection.  At that time I saw no reason, next time Oh yes to antibiotics for anything close to this.

Day Ten  4-4:  With all the IV's, pills and a hot soak last night the drainage has increased immensely.  During today's recheck  a combination tweezers/clipper apparatus has turned the volcano shape into a Florida sink hole.  My arse looks like it has a gun shot wound!  But the rock hard muscle is now relaxed and the local swelling is going down.  It is still uncomfortable to sit though.  The removal of dead muscle tissue, packing the wound, new bandages, and the visit today was $10

Day Eleven  4-5:  A day to relax and rest.  Swelling is down and pain is less

Day Twelve 4-6: A second day to rest.  Reevaluate float plan while bored!  This is now looking like this is our turn around spot and George Town will have to wait until next time!  We will just take time going back up the Exumas and do some of the things I didn't feel like doing on the way down.

Day Thirteen  4-7:  I am bleeding more today and oozing less!  I am also very dizzy today.  I had to look straight up at the boom once to stop the world from spinning.  Or was it my head turning around?  At least I wasn't tossing cookies.   Recheck day, more prodding and poking, snips with the meat hook, repacking and re-bandaging!  Also a weeks worth of high dose Vitamin C tabs!  Today's visit was NO CHARGE!  Prognosis is I am healing.  Arse still to tender to sit at a bar stool or wooden bench and I am still using a life jacket as a cushion in the dinghy (the neck hole works great!)

Day Fourteen 4-8:  Easter Sunday Facebooked with home and got a burger at the Purple restaurant. 

Day Fifteen  4-9:  We went to Thunderball today as I have a check up tomorrow at the clinic.  This way I get checked out after the first swim since she cut chunks out of my flesh.  .

Day Sixteen  4-10:  Todays visit was short and to the point, of the clippers that is.  Removing more tissue and re-bandaging me.  I have to come back tomorrow to get another round of antibiotics as there were none in the clinic. Other than that all seems to be healing well.  It should be closed over in a week or so.

It was suggested that we check at Nassau when we pass in 4 days, but since that isn't our sail plan we will spend a little more healing time here.  I hope to be able to get into the water soon without stress of infection.  That way we can take some time and do some make up snorkeling on the way back.  We should be back in Florida by June.

If anything significant happens or I have a relapse I will update this time line but, for now, this story is done.  A tleast I think it should be.

Yes during all this I still have to handle the boat, row us to shore, cook for us both and do what is needed.   Tin has been great and makes tuna sandwiches for lunch when I ask him to.   He has also started doing the dishes once again to help out.  After a full week he no longer asks what he did wrong every time I gasp for air or make a sound when I move.  He has been a great doctor when I need him to do a specific chore to help out.  Now instead of “I hate this place” I keep hearing “When we win the Lotto and get an Island Packet, a jet ski, a fridge, a microwave......”  progress is progress.

Update: While getting my board shorts ready for another dive I noticed a cut in exactly the same location as the infection.  I never felt a thing until it was too late.

Whatever did this sure was a pain


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