Thursday, January 26, 2012

Breathless in St. John

I'm overdue for an update here. Thanks to all of you who have been checking in to see how things are. In an effort to keep this from becoming a medical blog (zzzzzz....) I can summarize the past few weeks by saying that the cure for the original breathing problem (the cause of which is still unknown) seems to have been worse than the problem itself. I ended up in a vicious cycle of side effect induced asthma and asthma induced side effects.

After a few more frightening, frustrating and inconclusive trips to the emergency rooms both in St. John and St. Thomas I landed in the office of a fantastic asthma specialist in St Thomas who seems to have uncovered the problem and I'm optimistic that I'm on the road to recovery. I'm not ready to run a marathon, or even walk up too many steps, but I'm better than I have been.

This hasn't been an easy few weeks and I want to thank the kind and generous people who have helped us along the way. Thanks to Dan and Jackie who were there for the worst of it (and still want to be our friends!); to Greg and Barbara who shared their connections in the USVI and who continue to go above and beyond to help us; to the mysterious and wonderful Carol, a fellow asthmatic, who helped us at Maho Bay; to Nancy who offered us a ride if we needed it; to Paulette and Tom, sailing pharmacists who shared their knowledge of meds and side effects and who continue to check on me; to Dr. Tiffany (and by association, Josh and Jacques) who answered our questions about Epi pens; to my friend (the almost Dr.) Kimmie for calling on her long time friend Gershwain in St. Thomas, who called on his cousin who in turn called on the amazing Dr. Audria Thomas who scolded me for not calling her at home on the weekend so she could help me sooner. Along with her office phone number, Dr. Thomas has her home number and cell phone number on her business card. How about that.

Thanks to family and friends who have continued to call, skype and email.... especially to my sister Leslie who gave me this spectacularly useful advice: "Keep breathing." Now why didn't I think of that? Thanks Les!

So. Here we sit, still in St. John waiting for me to get better. There are worse places to be. I have no pretty photos from the past few weeks so I pulled a few at random from my archives.

Palm tree in St. Croix shot on b/w film with Diana camera 
My goldfish named Fish. I didn't expect him to live more than a month or two.... he lived for fourteen years.
Backyard furniture in the snow - a photo I took on January 28th 2009, almost three years ago today.
I did say I pulled them at random didn't I? Hopefully I'll have some new and relevant photos for the next blog!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stop Having Fun

I've been hearing some complaints lately that it's frankly becoming a little annoying to see us happy, healthy, relaxed and having fun all the time. Well, we put a stop to all that silliness with a trip to the emergency room on Monday here in St. John.

The trip was prompted by my increasing inability to breath over the course of the weekend. I thought it was asthma related, but when my rescue inhaler failed to help I realized I needed some medical attention quickly. It reinforced how much longer it takes to get somewhere when you're going there by boat.

Apparently Mondays at the clinic here are the busiest days (plus it was a full moon which brings out the crazy in everyone and increases traffic at the clinic) but you can't plan for these things so we spent much of the day there. Diagnosis: some random inflammation of the lungs from some unknown irritant. We left with prescriptions that require abstaining from alcohol and staying out of the sun and instructions to come back if I still can't breathe in a week.

Happy now?!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Good Start

Is it really 2012 already? Time seems especially elastic lately – sometimes it seems like we’ve been in the Caribbean for ages and other times it seems like we just arrived. Either way we're glad to be here. We spent the holidays both working and playing in a few of our favorite spots...

Skip cleans and greases the winches

I go up the mast to reattach our refined lazy jacks.
Nice view from the top - looking out toward Tortola and the USVI
Nice view looking behind us too - the shoreline at Little Harbor.
Squid in Little Harbor.
A few more of the squid squad....
I know I've already posted a squid photo but these guys just amuse me to no end. (That's fair warning that there are likely to be more squid photos in the future.) We snorkel over to check on them each time we're in Little Harbor and sadly, each time there are a few less. They're smart creatures but I guess that's just part of being on the food chain.

We've come to appreciate the rain for more than just practical purposes. It's washed our decks and filled our tanks time and again. Each time it passes by it leaves behind a little something less practical that we appreciate just as much.

Christmas morning 2011
It's a toss up whether it's more beautiful underwater or above water here. 

Beautiful conch off Norman Island

Just before the new year began my friend Susan came for a visit. She did great on the boat, despite the normal concerns about getting seasick, and she got to see and do some things for the first time!

Welcome to the islands girl!
Susan gets the hang of noodling...
... and takes a glass blowing class at Maho Bay Camps.
Between the high winds early in her visit and the big north swell later in her visit we still managed to get out and do some sailing. The Stad Amsterdam sailed by us one day with 16 sails up. Pretty impressive both coming and going.

We also did a little rafting and snafting.  Yep... snafting... snorkeling from a raft. I'm sure I didn't invent it, it may be something they teach in snorkeling 101 (see 'When It Rains It Pours' - May 2011) but I probably should have copyrighted the word before I put it out here for all to read.  It's so incredibly dorky that there are no photos of it because Skip is either laughing too hard to take any or is trying to pretend he doesn't know me. It's sort of a poor man's glass bottom kayak. Well... sort of. Here I am with my favorite new toy before going out for a snaft.

Toss me my snorkel - I'm going to visit the squid!
Skip is standing firm; he's not snafting. Perhaps it's the lack of dignity involved. Perhaps he has a point.