What health issues have you experienced? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-19-2009 Thread Starter
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What health issues have you experienced?

I would like to start a thread where sailor's can recount stories of health issues they have had to address while at sea, or in ports other than at home.

I just begun recounting my own malaria, which I don't know where I contracted it, but which the symptoms showed up in Eritrea. The story is coming in six parts, at Sailing Faith: The Long Way Home beginning today, but here's a condensed version.

Sailing into Massawa, Eritrea, from Aden, Yemen, I was overcome with fever. Over 40 degrees in most parts, but over 104 degrees in our superior American system of weights and measures.

After two days, I was looked at by a doctor aboard a cruise ship that docked there, who suggested I get to a hospital. The first test results came back negative, but when I did make it the the UN Hospital in Asmarra, Eritrea's capital, their tests showed positive. The UN doctors were good, the hospital was run by the Jordanian Military. Eritrea didn't have a very good drug inventory, so after three days, they told my wife I should evacuate to Cairo, where life-support equipment was available, if I needed it.

It was in Cairo that I was treated with good drugs, and after three days they let me out of the hospital, weakened substantially, to work on getting a visa to reenter Eritrea. It took a week for the visa, but I was able to join my family again for our journey up the Red Sea.

By the way, the UN charged US$125 per day, including everything, x rays, drugs, food, etc. The hospital in Cairo was for profit, and since I wasn't Egyptian, I had to pay full price. The bill for three days, x-rays, drugs, blood work, ultrasound, and everything else came to US$475, and they made money on me.
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-19-2009
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This looks to be an interesting topic, if we can keep it on topic

PLEASE Can we NOT let this one turn into a political discussion?

As someone planning on sailing away in a few years to parts unknown; I'd like to hear some things about what the OP asked about.

I got an Old Fat Boat
She's Slow But Handsome
Hard In The Chine, but Soft In The Transom
I Love Her Well, And She Must Love Me
But I think It's Only For My Money
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..... Gordon Bok
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-19-2009 Thread Starter
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I'd like to hear some things about what the OP asked about.

I'm a little slow, what does OP mean?
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-19-2009
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LOL, Original Poster that would be you. ;-)

I got an Old Fat Boat
She's Slow But Handsome
Hard In The Chine, but Soft In The Transom
I Love Her Well, And She Must Love Me
But I think It's Only For My Money
.
..... Gordon Bok
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-19-2009
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Awesome BLOG, by the way

I got an Old Fat Boat
She's Slow But Handsome
Hard In The Chine, but Soft In The Transom
I Love Her Well, And She Must Love Me
But I think It's Only For My Money
.
..... Gordon Bok
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-19-2009
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While fishing in the Bering Sea, with the crew, I've had to deal with broken arms, a bad concussion, Diabites, rusty metal sliver imbeded in the eye, and a bleeding kidney for a start. Plus a few cuts deep & shallow. A Doctor I do not want to be, but am a fair med tech.
Myself? A heart episode or two or was it three? Now have two stents, and been roto rootered about three times. The first one was when We were in Fourchon LA. during stormy weather. Had to go by Ambulance, It was too windy for life flight. And I swear that those Ambuance drivers hit every single pot hole and bump in the road during the forty-five mile trip to the Hospital...then transferred to another hospital in New Orleans and it was a seventy mile trip and must have been the same driver.

1600 Ton Master, 2nd Mate Unlimited Tonnage

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Last edited by Boasun; 02-19-2009 at 11:50 AM.
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-19-2009 Thread Starter
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Boasun, ouch on the potholes.
I had opportunity to ride a ferry two hours through 2 meter seas to get to a clinic with my four (or more) broken ribs, and one broken shoulder blade. I was getting from Langkawi Malaysia to Kedah Medical Center on the Malaysia mainland. It was one of those all too common fits of stupidity, in which I crashed the scooter I was riding.
I'll blog that one sometime in the future.
Gregg
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-19-2009
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Wife fell off a horse in Barbados.
Hospital check-out, xrays, medication and everything came to about 40$. And they wouldn't let me pay on the spot - they sent me a bill! I couldn't decide whether it was for 40 US or 40 Barbados, so I just made the check out for 40$. Someone figured it out, I guess.

The medication they gave her was so good that we carried her into the hospital and were dancing on our hotel room balcony that night........whatta memory!
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-20-2009
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Got a 1/2 inch drill bit a little too close to my finger while trying to tinker with the mount for my GPS antenna. Needless to say, it chewed it up pretty good. Took myself to the hospital in St Thomas which is an experience in of itself. The doctor who was stitching me up had to leave once to tend to a gunshot wound that had just been drug by my room by a family member. When the doctor finally came back she sent the nurse after a drug to numb my hand. The nurse soon returned with "We're out of that doctor, what's your next choice?" All of this was after sitting in the waiting room of the ER for an hour and a half with my hand bleeding considerably. Oh well..I survived and still have all my fingers.

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St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-20-2009
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Malaria eh? I had that, but I know where I got it: SE Asia in '68.

Back on topic - We believe in preventive practices when it comes to health so we both exercise and eat as healthy as possible. We practice good personal hygiene to avoid contracting or spreading disease and drink immune boosting herbal teas. So far it has paid off. At 58 my doctor said that "For a thirty year old you are in excellent health".

Accident avoidance is the second component of preventive health practices. We always use appropriate safety gear, eye protection, hearing protection, helmets, harnesses, tethers etc. We plan and take our time and have inviolable safety rules at sea. For example:
  • no one goes to the foredeck without a tether
  • no one leaves the cockpit unless two are on deck
  • always tethered at night except in the cabin.
  • PFD worn always when leaving or arriving at a dock or when anchoring

One thing I missed was sun avoidance. (Well, I did live in Hawaii for thirty years) I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma last year. Luckily, two surgical procedures later, I am fine but I will have to keep an eye on the old hide. If left untreated it is a killer and is unresponsive to chemo and radiation. If not removed surgically before it metastasizes into the lymphatic system you're toast.

I admit to being a "Health nut" because if you don't have your health, you have nothing.


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