Rather than hijack a thread where I made some comments that were responded-to by Marin
, I decided to start a new thread. So here goes:
Originally Posted by Marin
I'm sorry you are faced with some health challenges but you certainly have the right attitude toward it all.
While I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here, the one thing I would offer is not to get so wrapped up in learning about boats and what's available today and reading Chapmans and examining all the options that you forget to actually do something.
It is not so much learning about boats that caused me to revisit my long-term love affair with Chapman (and other sailing/cruising books), but rather the feeling I get when I refresh my knowledge about knots, weather, anchoring tackle and techniques, and so on. I haven’t forgotten that the point of all this is to do something. I’ll address this in a moment.
Originally Posted by Marin
Time is a finite commodity for all of us. The only variable is the amount. I (and fortunately my wife as well) are big believers in the "just do it" philosophy. Putting things off may make tons of sense, and one doesn't want to be recklessly foolish, but we believe that if there is any way to make something work, do that "something" rather than wait for a "better" time.
You seem to have a pretty basic game plan worked out already. Get a boat, do some coastal cruising for a few years, and then perhaps move up to a boat more capable of longer, open-ocean cruises. Makes sense but the longer you debate and study what sort of coastal cruiser would work for you, the more time goes by that you aren't out cruising coastal waters. As has been said here before by others, "being out on the water in a crappy boat is better than not being out on the water at all."
Your posts are difficult to shorten, my friend. You make a lot of sense and have some modicum of writing talent. (Tongue-in-cheek…smiles)
Yeah, I have a game plan, some realistic objectives, and I am working toward gaining knowledge about these “trawler boats” while here and in other reading. I still don’t know enough to make a good decision. Of course, I could make a decision now and then wonder about it forever but I am strictly against having “buyer’s remorse” on such an important decision. So I may seem to dawdle. There are reasons for my seeming delay that I’ll get into next.
Originally Posted by Marin
So I would suggest that you determine what sort or sort of boat appeals to you for meeting your initial objective, start looking at them, and buy one. Be careful of getting all bogged down in the analysis. There is much to be said for determining the right boat based simply on what you like the look of. Do you like Nordic Tugs? If so, find out if they'll do what you want to do, and if they will, buy one. Do you like the look of Grand Banks or Hatteras or Krogen or Eagle or Willard or.......? Same answer.
Remember, it's only money. They'll print more.
As you noted earlier, and I have alluded-to earlier as well, I have some “health challenges”. I’m going to tell you (and everyone here) about some of my incapacities so that you’ll understand my present issues. (While you may not believe it after reading what I’ve written, I have cut-out many, many things that presently affect me and my ability to “do things”. A full report would require a small volume.)
A couple of years ago, while receiving a transfusion of immunoglobulins, I broke into a coughing fit and broke four ribs in the middle of my back. (I have monthly transfusions because about 17 years ago, I lost my immune system through a bacterial infection in my lungs. These monthly transfusions give me a new immune system every 28 days.) A week after learning that not only were there four broken ribs, but two completely shattered ribs, I finished Thanksgiving Dinner at my daughter’s new house. I began to swell-up. I thought it was an allergic reaction to some food, so I used my emergency epinephrine (EpiPen). No luck. I kept swelling and soon, my head/face were so swollen that you could not see my ears. My shirt burst its buttons and I had to unfasten my pants and remove my shoes. An ambulance arrived and their reaction was “this isn’t any allergic reaction…this is air under your skin…” The medical term for this is “subcutaneous emphysema” but it does not normally cover the entire body, as mine did. As a humorous aside, everyone (seemingly) in the hospital came to visit me to touch my skin which felt like Rice Krispies cereal under the skin. This sensation of air under the skin is known as “subcutaneous crepitation.” Touching the air bubbles causes them to move and sometimes make a crackling noise, hence the Rice Krispies name. Evidently, the symptoms are discussed in medical school and nursing school, but most professionals have never seen it first-hand. It is very odd to touch and at the time, I was not able to refuse their requests. Most of the trauma people called in “Sub-Q Air”.
When I got to the ER, I was extremely lucky to have as the on-call trauma surgeon, a fellow who just left the Army as head of thoracic trauma surgery for the entire Army, with four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and literally thousands of surgeries. He now headed-up the trauma (thoracic surgery) section of the hospital. He actually rode on top of me on the gurney on its way to the operating room, cutting-off my clothes, and doing an emergency tracheotomy (which did not help) while a nurse or someone ran beside the cart, pumping air with a giant bulb. The scariest part of this ride to the OR was his insertion of various and numerous needles into my chest, trying to vent the trapped air. When he wasn’t making any progress, he began cutting into me with a scalpel as we rolled down the hallway. I tried to scream but because I had no air, I couldn’t even utter a sound. It was a nightmare like Dante’s Inferno. I was actually awake for the first 30 minutes of surgery.
In the end, he discovered that my left lung had gotten caught on the shards of my ribs and was completely shredded. He removed the lung. My recovery was slow and I spent a combined total of 2 ½ months in the hospital and nursing home. Soon after I got home, I noticed what I thought was blood in my urine. It wasn’t blood – it was feces. Now I had a hole (known as a fistula) that connected my colon and my bladder. Everything was terribly infected. The hospital bombarded me with IV antibiotics for about 5 weeks, during which time I could eat or drink NOTHING by mouth. I was fed intravenously. Then a surgeon performed a colostomy, closing off my intestines and installing a bag at my waist to collect feces.
After about 3 months of living with the colostomy, they decided I was “well enough” to perform a 12-hour surgery to repair the hole in my bladder and the hole in my intestines. I kept the colostomy and waited for everything to heal before they could reverse the colostomy, which they did after another several months. But the surgeon made a surgical mistake when she reversed the colostomy. Actually, the error was made during the surgery to repair the hole in my intestines. She used wrong-sized staples on the intestine and ended-up closing my intestines between the surgical site and my anus. So when the colostomy was finally reversed, the feces had nowhere to go except exploding into my abdominal cavity.
I didn’t know this at first, but after five days at home following the reversal of the colostomy, I kept telling my nurse that I could smell feces coming from the surgical site and I was not having any bowel movements even though I was eating like a pig. (I hadn’t had real food for a year.) My primary care physician admitted me to the hospital again, but neither she nor my surgeon believed me when I complained of smelling feces from my incision site. They joked by saying, “If you had feces in your abdomen as you suggest, you’d be dead in 24 hours… All that is wrong with you is that you have a blockage and we’re going to clear the blockage.” They were very, very wrong.
I lasted three weeks. I had no food or water during this time. I was in isolation because of my compromised immune system. Those three weeks were filled with drinking two bowel purges each morning (the terrible things you drink before a colonoscopy), two separate insertions of suppositories each afternoon, and two middle-of-the-night enemas, all given by nurses who objected to the treatment, calling it “torture” and “pointless” in their daily notes. One nurse, toward the end, refused to administer the enemas, writing that I should be allowed to die with some dignity. Also during that time, my primary care physician decided that I was probably “bound-up” by the pain medication I was taking, so she stopped all pain meds. I was in agony 24 hours a day – not only had my broken ribs not healed, but they moved about constantly, causing sharp stabbing pains. I also had a mind-blowing pain in my abdomen. This was caused by all of the feces that were accumulating there. My belly was distended by almost 12 inches.
My doctor also decided to stop my normal heart medications and replaced them with others. We still don’t know why she made this decision, but several hours later, when my cardiologist arrived, he went into a frenzied state of anger, which was directed at my doctor, for neglecting to consult with him before making any medication changes. He told me then that I would have been dead within 12 hours if he didn’t catch my doctor’s meddling.
I was entering a state of delirium when I began vomiting feces. Yes, you read it correctly – I started vomiting feces. Yummy… As soon as I finished vomiting a gallon of feces, I began again. This lasted about four hours before they transferred me to intensive care.
I thank God that the intensive care nurse assigned to me was not a hospital employee. She was a “traveling nurse” who worked for a nursing company who had a contract with the hospital. She did not fear for her job. As soon as she admitted me, reviewed my charts, and took the time to smell the incision site where I smelled feces, she called my brother, who arrived within 30 minutes, and told him that I would not survive the night unless I had emergency surgery, and she was asking for his approval. When this nurse confronted my primary care physician, she stated that she preferred “to wait it out over the upcoming weekend to see how things went…” This nurse actually had to take the matter of my life or death up the chain-of-command to the people who run the hospital – the administrators. Quite literally, no one wanted to perform the risky surgery. They even tried to find another hospital to take me.
When my primary care physician told my brother that she wanted to wait until Monday to operate, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He fired her on the spot. Then he wrote instructions for the nursing supervisor to physically prevent my doctor from coming into my room or reviewing my charts. He couldn’t really fire the surgeon because she had to perform the emergency surgery. No other surgeon in the hospital would take-over because of liability concerns. They were all convinced that I would die, as did all of my other doctors. Finally, about 8 hours after I began vomiting feces, the surgery was performed and I was given a new colostomy. The surgeon refused to discuss the procedure or findings with anyone from my family. We learned later from several operating room nurses that my abdomen literally exploded with feces all over the operating room and it required 2 hours to clean everything out of my abdominal cavity.
But I had a terrible infection. Actually, as the head of infectious diseases told us later, I had 12 different bacterial infections and they never expected me to survive. This guy visited me at least 6 times each day, modifying his drug concoctions to respond to newly cultured bacteria on the fly. Later, when I saw him for follow-up after I was released, he told me that he never expected me to live past the first 24 hours. I later learned, from surgical reports, that I died twice – once during surgery and once after surgery when my breathing tube was removed. My surgeon wanted to let me die, but my brother insisted that they resuscitate me. Although my brother has a demanding job, he didn’t leave my side for 11 days. He slept in the chair in my room and ate his meals when they were delivered from food services. I only remember seeing him once. They brought me out of my coma in order to remove the breathing tube. As I regained consciousness, I could feel my hand in his, so I squeezed it. The, I noticed some posters on the wall that had the hospital’s logo (in green) on them. For some reason, my mind convinced me that I was in a hospital in Ireland. I marshaled all of my strength to caution my brother about his status there – I know he didn’t have a passport and I didn’t want him to be arrested. He was laughing when I told him to “let me go..” I told him that I was too tired to fight any more and that everyone would be better if I were allowed to die. I am glad to say that he didn’t take my advice. After scaring him like that, I was again placed into a coma.
I was kept in that drug-induced coma for four weeks. I actually set a record for the hospital. I managed to score the highest recorded temperature for anyone who survived – 106.7*. The jury is still out as to whether or not I sustained brain damage. (smile)
I finally returned home after yet another month in the hospital, but as of today, I still have a colostomy bag dangling from my abdomen. I have engaged a colon/rectal surgeon – a very specialized field – to perform a reversal of the colostomy. But because of the surgical error made when the original surgeon used the wrong staples, the new surgeon must re-perform that major surgery – the 12 hour endurance test – then let that heal – then perform the reversal.
What does this have to do with anything? Quite simply, I cannot do anything NOW. I spend upwards of 20 hours each day in bed. My colostomy was poorly done and now, the portion of my intestine that is exposed has prolapsed – it falls-out of my belly and droops about 16 inches, filling the colostomy bag when I am upright. So I remain locked to my bed and my house, trying to keep my intestines inside of me.
I figured that I’d spend my time wisely and re-learn everything about boats.
I think you can tell that I know about the fleeting nature of life. I am living on borrowed time as it is, and may very well die during one of my upcoming surgeries.
But if I survive, I want to enjoy the remainder (albeit shortened length) of my life. During my odyssey, which began in 1996 with a bacterial infection, I have had some wonderful times to go along with some very, very dark hours. Somewhere, about 8 years ago, I got back into racing my beloved Corvettes. But now, the appeal of the race track, and unfortunately, my Corvette ZR-1, has faded. I’ve taken a reality check and can face the fact that I’ll never be well enough to race. Besides, a simple crash would probably break all of my bones (they are brittle with Osteoporosis because I have taken prednisone (steroids) since 1996). Also, with diminished lung capacity, I haven’t got much endurance and can hardly tolerate an elevated pulse or respiration rate. But I hope to be well enough to live quietly on a boat, cruising when and where I want to.
But for now, I simply can’t just “buy a boat and begin cruising” as suggested. I can’t “do” anything for now except to increase my knowledge about the live aboard lifestyle, get current in my knowledge of marine electronics, and to choose a proper boat to fulfill my dreams. I also must be honest in my evaluation of the amount of work or repairs/upgrades I can realistically tackle. I know that I will be able to do some things, but there may well be some things I just can’t do anymore.
As an aside, I am working on a couple of legal actions against my previous doctors, whose terrible decisions could have killed me several times. If I am successful in my actions (and there is a better than 95% chance that I will be successful – they screwed up royally and it is well documented), I will be able to commission a new boat, probably into the 7-figures. When first I came here, I hadn’t considered this possibility. While I am going to continue to look around (because it is fun and entertains me through boring days), if I can commission a new boat, it will probably be a Kadey-Krogen.
Already, though, I have learned that it will be on the smaller end of yachting scale. I want something I can handle alone, find dockage anywhere, and is economical to operate. I might be able to afford a much bigger boat, but my reading here has taught me to “buy the smallest boat you can afford”. I think that is some of the smartest advice I’ve ever received.
Once I get through my upcoming surgeries, I will have some time to hire a charter in Florida, the Chesapeake, and/or the Bahamas to test various boats with various features. During that time, I really want to get back on the water, so I’ll probably buy something for fun – a 25-29 foot walk-around with twin outboards that is set for fishing and enough gas to get me from Stuart, FL to Bimini. I am co-owner of a house in Stuart, FL and would use the boat there as well as my native Chesapeake, sometimes “camping out” in it. It really depends upon the progress of my legal actions, though. If the two doctors’ insurance companies want to settle earlier, I’d probably skip the smaller boat.
Now you know why I can’t really “do” anything except read and surf the Internet while pursuing my dream. Hopefully, it all makes sense to you now.
Oh – by the way, I know I am very lucky to be here, able to participate in such a wonderful forum. But because of my current situation, there will be times when I cannot get on-line to participate. I’ll log-on when I can, but my appearances may be interrupted by many days or even weeks of silence. I’ll always be here in spirit.
Thanks to everyone who already has helped me in my journey. I appreciate your input, your knowledge, experience, and friendship. You can and you have made a difference in my life. I am in your debt.
Now you know the rest of the story...