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Old 06-22-2013
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Re: Getting to enjoy the benefits of the South African healthcare system

Latest update. I am back to typing with one hand since I had my third (and last) operation on Friday. This one had two parts. The surgeon re-arranged some skin (a nip and a tuck really) so there is more range of motion between my thumb and index finger. He also went into my hand at the base of the pinky to remove scar tissue that was restricting movement of the little finger inward. Turns out the pinky is more important than I thought, for grasping smaller objects.

I will have a cast on for two weeks and then back to therapy for 6 to 12 weeks. Before this operation I could have sailed without being 'single-handed' in a literal sense, so this operation's result should be quite handy (sorry) for me. We still plan to be back in SA in November to get Ainia ready for then long trip up the Atlantic. I think it is something like 5000 miles from Cape Town to Grenada.

In related news, the SA Customs people are starting to clamp down been more on foreign boats that are in the country for more than one year. Last year they were doing this in Richards Bay and Durban. This year it has spread westward. The marina where the boat is located at False Bay near Cape Town asked us to send reports from the South African doctor and Canadian doctor on case the officials ask. They feel that if we can prove that it is an emergency Customs will be fine. If I show them the hand they will know it is real. There is a lot of permanent scarring. Saw on the news that the ambulance that was taking Nelson Mandela to the hospital broke down. Not the same one I had since it is at the opposite side of the country, but I was taken first to the provincial (public) hospital and the to a private hospital. When I was taken out to the ambulance for the second trip, the engine would not start. Just a bad battery and we were on a hill so not a problem, but a small reminder that it is still Africa, even though there is a lot of wealth in the country.
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Back to Grenada in early December. Not sure I will remember how to sail. Will spend the winter and early spring in the Caribbean and then head to Bermuda and the northeast US. Still trying to decide if we will bring the boat to Canada, either in 2015 or 2016.
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