Daily Archives: September 4, 2015

Flies in the ointment

Our replacement sheave box that Mack Sails sent pronto has been held up in Papeete by Customs, despite that it is a no-charge warranty replacement. It has taken so long that the three people who offered to climb the mast and install it had to take advantage of a weather window and are gone now, on their way westward to Tonga, Suwarrow or Samoa. 

The big bite is that after a few days of my sciatica improving I was awakened last Friday in intense pain. I was ministered to by the various cruiser nurse, doctor and pharmacist, but in the end Jack had to go chase down a doctor ashore and bring him aboard because I was completely immobile. The doctor (who was the last choice on the recommended list but the only one available to come to the boat — now I know why) lacked any bedside manner at all, answered none of my questions, but after a quick examination pronounced that I have injured a lumbar disk. He told us we’d have to go back to Tahiti for an MRI, which is of course impossible, not just because it’s to windward but because I’m in no shape to sail and it takes two to handle the boat and stand watches. I asked if the treatment would be different depending on what was wrong with the disk and I’m pretty sure he said no, so we won’t worry about that for the moment. The doc charged an arm and a leg for the visit, shot me up with a steroid and a painkiller and sent Jack to the pharmacy for some very expensive name brand drugs that scare the shit out of me. 

Alex the pharmacist came aboard and talked me down from my fear perch and explained all the options for the drugs — I rarely take so much as an aspirin, so swallowing a pile of various painkillers, anti-inflammatories and other concoctions that include narcotics is terrifying to me — and patiently wrote down step by step instructions and reassured me of a good outcome. It’s so easy to sink into that depressed feeling that the way you feel now is the way you will always feel, so I’m working on getting my positive attitude back. 

What this means in the long run is that as the time ticks by we may not have enough time to get to New Zealand by cyclone season, so we need to find what other options we have where we and the boat are safe come November. 

Alex and Diana, who along with Jack have been my lifesavers, caregivers and dear friends need to sail on the next weather window. Our good friend Tim has gone. The anchorage is thinning out. Jack is still hammering away at Tahiti Customs to get our part sent as soon as possible without massive fees, then we need to find a rigger to install it. 

Life is not good right now, but it’s a reminder that even when you sail off into the sunset you don’t leave trouble behind. The trick, I guess, is to face trouble with hope and good cheer and I’m working on that. 


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