Waiting here on the boat for another weather window isn’t the worst thing in the world. The current weather is delightful. We have been enjoying going for walks along the inlet down to Jetty Park. There is a small, very nice grocery store across the street as well a good diner and a laundromat. My uncle and his partner invited us to return and stay with them but we are all settled in here so will stay on the boat. They urged us to keep one of their cars so we would have transportation. We drove back to their house today for lunch and a few games of a Mexican Train and will go out for dinner with them tomorrow night. Our next weather window appears to be Easter Sunday. We have planned three possible routes, depending on the length of the weather window. The shortest will take us to Brunswick, GA. The next will take us to Cape Fear, NC and the longest will take us to Cape Lookout, NC. The winds are predicted to be light and we will have to do a fair amount of motoring. We plan to purchase two more jerry cans and fill them with diesel just in case.
Thursday, March 29, 2018
On Tuesday we packed up our things, washed the sheets and towels at my uncle’s house, remade the bed, loaded the car, drove to the marina, loaded everything on the boat, bought groceries and loaded those on the boat. Our plan was to leave at slack tide either Wednesday morning or afternoon. Although the wind conditions were good, the ocean swell was too high for our comfort. If we had been able to hear Chris Parker’s weather forecast on Tuesday morning we might have known that, but we were unable to download his forecast. We might have chanced going in those conditions if it hadn’t been so long since we have sailed and George wasn’t recovering from surgery. We didn’t want to start out knowing it was going to be rough, especially with George not being 100%.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
We met with the surgeon last week for a post-surgery follow-up. The surgeon answered our questions and said that everything looked good. He told us that George should be careful not to lift anything heavier than 25 lb for six weeks. Even though the incision through which he excised the bowel is just a few inches long, George could still develop a hernia if he lifts anything heavy before he is fully healed. He had anlready lifted some jerry cans full of diesel before we learned that. For the next three weeks I will either do the lifting myself or help George.
We have electric winches so raising the sails won’t be an issue. We both believe that we will be able to sail again whenever the weather allows. We may have a small weather window in a few days. We plan to sail as far as we can before the next cold front arrives.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
We left Ocala three days ago and drove back to Vero Beach. George and I were surprised and disappointed that he was exhausted after loading a few bags into the car and helping to make the bed after the sheets were washed and dried. After a brief rest, though, he felt much better and wanted to drive for most of the distance to Vero. Since then he has learned that he can do more if he paces himself. Two days ago we visited Breeze On to work on some chores. George was able to move the 5 gallon jerry cans of diesel and refill the tank. He also stripped the sheets from the and v-berth, put clean sheets on the bed and cleaned out the refrigerator It was my birthday and I was busy talking to friends who had called to wish me a happy birthday. I didn’t intend to let George do all of the work! As long as he rested in between the chores, though, he felt fine. We returned to Breeze On yesterday to sop up the water from the defrosted freezer and add 10 more gallons of fuel to the tank. George has really enjoyed spending time on the boat and I have enjoyed spending time on her as long as he is there, too.
Tomorrow we drive back down to Ft. Lauderdale to visit the surgeon. After that we will wait for a weather window that will enable us to start heading north.
Friday, March 16, 2018
It was three weeks ago today when George was suddenly struck with severe abdominal pain. Two days later we sailed from Bimini to Ft. Lauderdale where George was admitted into the hospital and diagnosed with a small bowel obstruction. After the obstruction failed to resolve with conservative treatment, George had surgery. Throughout this process he went two weeks without food. He is now recovering at my mother’s house in Ocala and has made progress every day.
As is the case with many stressful situations the three weeks seem like both an eternity and a short period of time. A lot of it now seems like a blur to both of us. We are both very grateful for the support of family and friends. We are grateful that the ordeal is behind us and he is finally feeling better.
George accomplished a few milestones today. He drove for the first time since we left the Bahamas. In fact, when he started out he joked about whether he was driving on the correct side of the road. He also fixed his own lunch while I was out getting a haircut and helped me clean out a few of my mother’s kitchen cupboards. His appetite is getting better each day and he is almost up to his usual pace of walking.
We will stay here another day, then leave to spend some time at my uncle’s place in Vero Beach. While we are there we will do a few things on the boat and drive down to Ft. Lauderdale late next week for a follow-up appointment with the surgeon. George says he is optimistic that he will feel well enough to sail Breeze On home shortly after that.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
George was discharged yesterday afternoon. We left Ft. Lauderdale and drove a few hours north to Vero Beach where we learned that my uncle’s partner was sick. We didn’t want George to be exposed to the illness so my uncle made other arrangements for us for the night. Before leaving the Ft. Pierce/Vero Beach area we stopped to see Breeze On and get a few things off of the boat. Breeze On looked just fine. I was very concerned that George was overdoing it by getting on and off the boat but he assured me he wasn’t. After visiting Breeze On we drove another three hours north to my mother’s house. Since then I have been busy doing laundry, shopping for food, cooking dinner and unpacking. It has been a tiring few days.
George continues to improve each day. His GI tract is settling down, his appetite is good and he is feeling good, but he is easily fatigued. We expect that each day he will get a little better.
Saturday, March 10, 2018
We got word yesterday that George is cleared for discharge today! His diet was advanced to soft foods and he enjoyed his first solid food in two weeks. He is not able to eat much at one time but that is improving with every meal. The dietitian stopped by and talked about foods he can and shouldn’t eat while he is recovering. I worked as a dietitian many years ago but I appreciated her suggestions and asked her to return with more information about a discharge diet. She recommends low fat/low fiber for a few weeks to allow the GI tract to heal. As he improves he can add foods back as tolerated. He has lost 8 pounds and may lose more on this restricted diet. Those of you who know him know he didn’t carry around any extra weight. The weight will return, though, once he is able to eat the foods he likes.
Right now George is eating a very nice breakfast of French toast. We are waiting for various medical devices to be disconnected and for the discharge process to be completed. Then we can be on our way and put this part of the ordeal behind us.
We are lucky enough to have family in Florida. We plan to stay with them while George recuperates. Then, once he regains some strength and feels well enough we will sail the boat home. At least, that is the plan for now.
Friday, March 9, 2018
George continues to make some progress. He is able to eat larger portions of food, he even finished his cream of wheat this morning. We just got word that his diet will advance to soft for lunch. Woo hoo! This needed to happen before they will consider discharging him. After the fiasco of waiting 18 hours for the surgeon to follow through writing the order to discontinue George’s NG tube, the nurse and nurse manager have been on the case. As usual, the surgeon was in the OR. The nurse manager finally texted him in the OR to ask if he would order the diet to be advanced and he agreed.
Thursday, March 8, 2018
George continues to make some progress. He finally had a good night’s sleep without the NG tube. He has been tolerating the clear liquids well and has slowly increased his intake. He will be graduating from clear liquids to full liquids and is looking forward to ice cream in his future. He is taking slow walks but feels very weak. Who wouldn’t be after 2 weeks without food? He will be here another two days at least. I am trying not to focus on when he will be discharged, I don’t want to get my hopes up.
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
After a rough first post-op day George is feeling a little bit better. He has been able to get out of bed, sit in a chair and take a short walk. The NG tube was finally removed this morning and he has started back on his clear liquid diet. He is eating small portions and taking it slowly. I have no idea when he might be discharged but he will have to improve significantly before he is ready to go.
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
George underwent an exploratory laparoscopy early last evening. Fortunately, the surgeon was able to find the source of the blockage and repair it using four small incisions. Apparently a part of his large bowel, the mesentery, had draped over and trapped a part of his small bowel. We don’t know why this happened. The surgeon was able to separate the mesentery from the small bowel and remove the damaged portion of the small bowel. Because he was able to do this laparoscopically George will have a faster recovery (two weeks vs. six) and shouldn’t have to worry about developing adhesions in the future. The concern about adhesions leading to future bowel obstructions was the main reason we wanted to avoid surgery. The surgeon said he wished he had done this procedure when George was admitted, but there was no way to know that then.
I spent the night in an easy chair in George’s room and I am very glad that I did. He has been in pain since the surgery and was supposed to get pain medication every two hours. I had to call for it each time and even then it was always quite late. The surgeon said George will be in the hospital another 72 hours. At least there is now an end in sight.
Monday, March 5, 2018
George’s x-rays have been showing that the bowel obstruction is improving. However, George feels worse and isn't able to eat or drink. The surgeon has decided to do a minimally invasive procedure (laparoscopy) this afternoon to see what is going on. If he finds something minor he will correct it at that time.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Friday, March 2, 2018
The drainage tube was removed yesterday afternoon and George was finally able to begin eating clear liquids last evening. The lemon Italian ice was just about the best thing he had ever eaten. He is tolerating the food well and we are hoping they will progress his diet and discharge him soon.
Ray and Scott arrived in Ft Pierce around 6 pm, before the sun set. We are so grateful and relieved to have Breeze On settled there.
First food in a week.
This morning’s breakfast. He devoured it all.
Thursday, March 1, 2018
They are off! Ray and Scott left the slip just before 6 am to catch the 6 am opening of the 17th bridge. They are now on their way to Ft Pierce. We have a slip reservation for a month and family nearby. George can take his time to recover before we leave Ft Pierce to make our way home.
I am so grateful for the help and support of our friends and family. In addition to Ray and Scott’s help in delivering Breeze On, a friend from Cambridge contacted a friend of hers near here to offer me a place to stay. Now that Breeze On is gone I will be staying with her. The texts, emails and words of support from everyone mean so much.
If you are interested in following Breeze On’s progress you can find her by clicking on this link.
Also, there is a button at the top of this page called “Where is Breeze On?” You can click on that any time, follow the prompts and see where Breeze On is located if she is out and about.
I just heard from George. He has tolerated having the tube clamped very well. A surgeon just told him that they are going to pull the tube and allow him to have liquids. Hooray!
Breeze On going through the 17th St bridge.