Saturday, December 22, 2012

Marking Time in Miami

 It’s been 9 days so far for Lynn’s stay at Mercy Hospital.  The care for the most part has been top notch and the Pulmonologist really seems to know his stuff.  There are at least 3 doctors that are involved in her treatment and at times it does cause some confusion about the plan of attack.  There is also an Infectious Disease doc and an Internist.  Each seems to have a slightly different idea for treatment, but the Pulmonologist seems to be the main man in charge.  Lynn’s only complaint is the food service.  Not necessarily the taste but never knowing what time the meals will be served and the lack of variety.  Most every meal is some kind of chicken with some kind of rice with some kind of vegetable.  Boring to say the least and since we are in Miami the taste is Latin American inspired.

The beautiful view of Key Biscayne Bay from Lynn's room

     Five days ago I moved the boat from Crandon Park Marina to the mooring facility at Dinner Key in Coconut Grove.  Moving it by myself was very easy as the water was calm and I had help at both ends of the trip.  At the marina a staff member helped with my lines as I left.  At the mooring field the shuttle boat and some passengers helped attach my mooring lines to the ball.  I am at a mooring ball close to shore and that makes it a short trip to the dinghy dock to catch a bus to the hospital.  While on the subject of buses, Miami has a great public transit system.  I can get to anywhere with minimal confusion about the routes.  The bus fares run from free to $2.00 depending on where you are going.  I’m going to try and get to one of the stations to buy a pass.  That way the cost will be cheaper than paying for each trip.  I’ve found where the two closest grocery stores are located and also many little restaurants along the routes that we can try once Lynn is released.

One of the many bus stops I've come to know and love

     Our hopes of having her discharged by Christmas were pretty much dashed this afternoon.  One of her lab test has shown a very hard to treat bacteria.  The name would take up two lines of type !!!!  The treatment is several days infusion of additional IV antibiotics along with all the other IV’s she has been receiving.  The news was not what we wanted to hear but it’s better to kill the bastardly bugs now than to go home too soon and have them resurface in a few weeks or a month. She is resigned to the fact now that it will be several more days before leaving.  The good thing is that together we will get to enjoy a good Christmas dinner with hospital food.  Maybe they will serve “Turquía y relleno con salsa gravy y puré de patatas” ?
     To all of you, have a Merry Christmas and please send us a note to let us know how you’re doing.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My My It's Miami

     We were able to find a very nice spot to drop our anchor in an area called Belle Island.  It is at the end of Collins Canal, a main waterway for dinghy’s traveling the city of Miami Beach.  From this anchorage you can see several large cruise ships leave daily for the Caribbean.   They leave every afternoon at around 1600.  At night you can see the Miami skyline lit up with different colors of lights on the tall buildings.  Very beautiful !!!!
     I forgot to mention that while in Fort Lauderdale we ordered more medications as we had some due to renew before we switch to Medicare.  They didn’t arrive before we left but did the following day.  Bill and Terri on Second Option brought them to us as they had rented a car to drive home.  We met them at a place called Burgers and Beer, just a short walk from a dinghy dock by the Marine Police station.  The following day we and Sweet Chariot took off for a long, over 7 miles and  2 ½ hours, dinghy ride thru the canal system of Miami Beach.  Later that day I went to Publix for our final grocery shopping before we left for the Bahamas.  That evening we met with Laura and Graeme to decide when to leave the following morning and head to a place called No Name harbor for the night.  During the night Lynn started to develop a rather high fever and was having shortness of breath.  We carry an oxygen generator on the boat and promptly started it up along with doses of Tylenol.  We listened to a local Weather Guru called Chris Parker in the morning as this guy seems to be the one people rely on for accurate forecasts.  If there is such a thing as an accurate forecast !!!!  He said that the window to cross to the Bahamas was closing and to do it now or wait at least a week.  We radioed Sweet Chariot and told them that Lynn wasn’t feeling up to leaving and they made the decision to leave by themselves.

Wildlife on the canals on Miami Beach

    After 4 days of feeling lousy and using all the meds we had on the boat that were supposed to treat Lynn’s condition, we decided to pull into a marina.  This way we could plug the oxygen generator into shore power instead of running it off our batteries and also be able to turn on the air conditioning.  Two days in the marina and Lynn’s still not feeling well.  Time to seek professional medical advice had arrived.  We took a taxi from the marina in Key Biscayne and went to Mercy Hospital in Miami.  After 4 hours in the emergency room she was admitted.  If this flare up runs it’s course she will be in for 5-7 days.
     We have decided to cancel our trip to the Bahamas and at this time aren’t sure what we will do after she is discharged.  Options are to stay in Florida where medical assistance is readily available, should it be needed again, or to find a place to leave the boat for the winter and drive home.  We, or I an another able body, would come down in the Spring and take it back north.
     I’ll be posting more as soon as we have figured out what we’ll finally do.  If I don’t send another post before, we would like to now wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.

Nov. 15 - Dec. 7, 2012

     It’s been too long since I’ve updated this Blog and I apologize to those who are following our adventure.  Much has happened and I’ll try to catch you up to date.
     On our second day in St. Augustine we were able to go ashore and have a great lunch with some of our friends from the Hunter Sailing Association we belonged to in the Annapolis area.  Jim and Steph Weeks live in Florida and Dale and Kim Seastrom just happened to be visiting the area.  We spent a few hours eating and talking about what has been going on in each other’s lives.  We even had a couple of beers from the list of over 70 drafts that are available at JP Henley's.  The following day the winds where strong again, 25K and we elected to stay aboard and not get soaked trying to go into the dock in our dinghy.  This was not one of our better stays at our favorite city on the ICW.

 The HSA group at JP Henley's
Lynn reading historical marker in St. Augustine

     The next day we departed for Daytona Beach and had to drop the anchor at the first high rise bridge because the tide was too high and we couldn’t fit our 63 foot mast under the span.  We stayed the night and had a very bumpy experience with waves and winds.  Are you starting to see a pattern here?  In the morning the tide was low and we headed for Titusville mooring field.  We had hoped to see our friends Dorothy and Glenn but again the winds and waves kept us pinned on the boat.  We were able to get fuel and water before grabbing the mooring ball.  Our night was somewhat calmer and restful.
     We then let for Melbourne for one night at anchor and then to Vero Beach where we got another mooring ball.  Sweet Chariot tied up with us and the following day we were joined by Second Option.  Lynn promptly went to shore and did 5 loads of laundry while I took the bus to West Marine for new cockpit speakers and did some shopping at the Publix for groceries.  On Thanksgiving Day Dorothy and Glenn arrived and we went to a lovely potluck Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by the Marina.  They provided the turkey and ham and the boaters brought the rest.  The food was good and plentiful.  Dorothy and Glenn spent the night aboard and left in the morning.  We, along with Sweet Chariot and Second Option, rented a car for 3 days and spent them going to the Wine Store, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and numerous other places to stock up on supplies for the Bahamian trip.  During this time I was having trouble with my outboard engine and found a mechanic that made “house calls”.  He quickly fixed the problem and now we have full power again on the dinghy.  We had ordered backup medications and they took longer than expected to be delivered to us at the marina.  During the wait we made lots of phone calls to schedule a Medicare call with our insurance provider and to find out about updating our Local Boater Option cards with our new passport numbers.

The crews of Sweet Chariot, Second Option and twomorrows

     Sweet Chariot and Second Option took off south and we made arrangements to meet them in Lake Worth as soon as the meds arrived.  I checked later that day and they had been delivered so in the morning we took off to meet up with our friends.   We met them the next day after a 10 hour day on the water.  The following morning I went to the Customs and Border Patrol Office and in less than 5 minutes got all our paperwork updated.  Again the wind and waves prevented us from going back in to shore for and sightseeing or lunch at the local TiKi Hut.  We left the following morning and dropped the hook in Boca Raton.  Guess what?  Right, high winds and waves keep us on the boat again.  We did try a dinghy ride the next morning but after a short distance decided we didn’t need salt water “showers” and went back to the boat.
     Our next destination was Fort Lauderdale, Cooleys Marina on the New River.  We all pulled in to this really nice and very inexpensive marina for 4 nights.  We were able this time to actually take the dinghy down the canal for a great dinner and social at an Irish Pub.  We were able to do some more minor shopping and clean almost 2 months of dirt from the outsides and inside the boat.  Did laundry again and spent a nice evening on Second Option watching a movie and eating popcorn.  On Friday, Dec. 7, we left Cooley’s and headed to Miami with Sweet Chariot and a boat called Truancea.  Second Option stayed for a few days in order to get a car and drive back to Virginia to see their brand new grand daughter, Emma.  We left the protection of the harbor and headed out into the ocean at about 10:00.  At around 10:30 the waves were so bad that we considered turning back but thought we would try moving farther off shore and give that a try.  We moved out a bit too far and ended up in the Gulf Stream and a 3-4 knot current against us.  By this time we were too far south to turn back but did work back towards shore, maybe 3 miles off.  The waves calmed a bit and we had a better ride into Miami.