On the mend

First let me thank everyone who sent good wishes to Jack. It means so much to us, believe me.

Jack has improved a lot in the past two days. After our initial Night of Hell the antibiotics started to work their magic and we think the fever is gone for good. Along with that Jack is back to his old talkative self but is understandably still weak and below par in energy. A couple of good nights’ sleep has helped but we think it will take a bit longer before he’s back to 100%. His knee is still swollen so obviously the infection isn’t quite kicked and we’ll be keeping an eye on that.

We can’t believe our good fortune that this emergency happened after we arrived in a town. For the previous week we’d been slowly making our way along the north coast of Flores Island, mostly alone and mostly stopping at quiet anchorages with no village nearby. On top of that, our phone and internet hotspot ran out of credit and we had no way to top them up until we got to a town. That meant our communications were limited to VHF radio and our Iridium devices, certainly enough to summon help if we needed it, but definitely limiting our options for immediate nearby assistance. Being in a crowded anchorage with tons of nearby help within hailing distance made all the difference.

Here’s how you know you’re not in Kansas anymore: At the hospital, the nurse gave me the rundown on the meds Jack would be getting and told us they would be sent up from the pharmacy shortly. I went to the front desk to pay our bill while we waited but the clerk told me I had to wait until the meds were actually delivered before she could take payment. I asked if I could use a credit card and she said yes.

When the meds arrived I went back to the desk to pay and found a man with an IV in his arm and an IV trolley beside him sitting behind the counter at the sole computer. I handed the clerk my credit card and she passed it to the man at the computer, who proceeded to generate our final bill and process my payment. He explained the procedure to the clerk at each step, and when he was finished he stood up, wheeled his IV trolley back across the hall to the examining room next to Jack’s and lay down on the exam table. I watched this mouth agape, then turned to the clerk.

“Is he a patient?” I asked. She looked up sheepishly.

“Yes,” she said, and that was all she was going to say about that. She handed me the final printout and receipt and we were free to go.

Most of the boats have left Labuanbajo for Komodo National Park, about 20 miles away. We aren’t going anywhere for a few days, and anyway I don’t think Jack is well enough yet to take the two hour walking tour we had planned at Komodo. We’ve applied for our visa extension and need to go into town tomorrow to complete the process and we hope we can start to plan our departure soon after that. We’d also like to get some diesel fuel because the unreliable wind in these parts means more motoring than normal and we don’t want to be caught out with no backup fuel. Our next scheduled rally destination is 200 miles west.

Today I have Jack parked in the cockpit with his leg up. I’m doing laundry and trying to get the boat cleaned up and back to normal. We hope to catch up with some posts about our great experience at Pasarwajo on Buton Island and share some wonderful photos now that we’re topped up and back online in the normal way.

Thanks again for hanging in with us and for all the good healing thoughts. They worked!


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4 Responses to On the mend

  1. Lynn Lander

    I haven’t read your blog for a few weeks. Sorry to hear about Jack’s and your ordeals. You guys were unbelievably lucky to be where you were when things went pear shaped – a decent hospital, people who could speak English, a stock of the needed meds … Glad to hear things are looking up and the crisis has passed. Stay safe!

  2. Peter Fynn

    So glad to see that Jack is OK. It’s difficult when living aboard if you get sick or damaged in some way. You need to take care too. Injuries in the tropics can get away from you so fast!
    I’m still trying to find someone to make a recording of your grandfather’s composition. Take care, Peter.

  3. Glad to hear Jack is doing better. If you have not joined DAN Boater (or DAN Diver) https://danboater.org/membership.html , you should do so as soon as you can. It’s $100 a year total for both of you. You get 24/7 Medical Hotline, Emergency Evacuation (they do the arrangements and cover the cost up to $150,000!) and much more. We’ve had DAN Diver insurance and their supplemental medical for probably 20 years. Looking forward to hearing your continued adventures.

  4. nancy smith

    very happy to hear that Jack is getting better! Love, nancyb

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