Posts Tagged ‘Surgery’

Baby Steps

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Yeah, we still have to take small steps, to crawl to make progress. Sometimes we go sideways and other times we back up first. I spend so much time on my hands and knees I don’t always feel like baby steps is a metaphor.  I’m calling the plate change out in the Freezer complete and actually she system seems to be better. The hold down is much, much longer!  We increased our holding plate size by about 50% going from approx 980 square inches to 1512 square inches. Of course there is some room in the plates taken up for the two independent sets of Copper tubing; how much I don’t really know.

What a fun job (sic). On a boat one gets to be a jack of all trades and rarely master of any.  I evacuated the DC side 3 times. That meant running our smallish vacuum pump for 20 plus hours each time. The first time I evacuated only the hoses to the gauges!  Then when I was ready to add refrigerant I discovered I hadn’t turned the knobs to open up the lines into the refrigeration unit.  I thought everything was going great.  The second time I at least had the valves opened up and now we’re vacuuming the unit; then as I add some refrigerant I discover a leak in one of the new lines. damn!  Ok, so I go and tighten the nuts on the Swagelok fittings. I tighten them so much that I’m afraid of breaking a tube open so I stop. Still leaking. DAMN! Only one option; pull it apart and make a new connection. When I pull it apart I discover that I didn’t put the ferrules in the fittings. They never would have been leak proof. Mike on Abake (another Westsail 42) tells me that in the trades they call that a test fitting!

After pulling the two fittings and copper tubing  apart, then  redoing the tubing, reconnecting the fittings with the ferrules this time,  I again evacuate the system and again recharge. The same place I find a very slow leak with our electronic leak checker. I tighten the fitting up and check. Still very slow. I make up a soap solution to check. I paint it on the fitting and find no bubbles. Either the leak is so low that I don’t even get any bubbles or I’m reading leftover oil or residue on the fitting. The checker is able to read a leak down to  1/2  oz / year of refrigerant and if I’m anywhere close to that I’ll be happy. We live with it.

That done we now needed to evacuate the generator side. I set it up in the engine room and thankfully with the sound deadening material I’m able to sleep while the vacuum pump is removing all the air and moisture from the system.

The following day I added the refrigerant and checked for leaks. Finally!  No leaks that I can detect on this side. We replace the insulation around the parts that need to be insulated in the engine room and start up the DC5000. Three hours later both sides are down to temperature and we’ve begun to put drinks in the refrigerator and ice in the freezer.

All this while I’m doing what I need to, to recover from my surgery. When I first got back to the boat I was to ice every hour for the first 3 days  and then every 3 hours there after. Day one wasn’t bad but by day two every hour was a PITA and on day 3 I was looking for a break. I washed up the eyelids lightly as from all the salve they were feeling greasy but when we went to the Dr. on the 3rd day he said not to do that anymore. Guess I lucked out. One week later my left eye was showing very little signs of trauma but my right eye showed that I had been in a good fight, most assumed it was with W/ and she won. 🙂

After surgery, eyes shut

After surgery, eyes shut

One week after the surgery I got my stitches out. Thank you!  Things were going along well enough that the stitches were starting to be a little irritating. And the Doc said to switch over to heating every 3 hours and massage with a prescribed cream to. I didn’t like it but II was to continue with the lubricating drops (thick) till they ran out. Finally almost another week later they were gone.

I again have eye color!

I again have eye color!

So as things progress we’re getting antsy. We’re looking at leaving this urban life and moving on to the San Blas. Our Visas are up the first week in March and we’re not sure if we’ll need to renew them or we can get a travel Zarpe to take care of us as we march across the N coast of this country.

There are a couple of necessary things to do yet on our list. Most important is a small sail repair. There are 5 load distributing straps built into the clew and 3  tore out the threads on our wild ride to Cartagena.  We’ll stitch them up this weekend. I want to make a new sail for the windvane (believe it or not the Home Store has the material), I have some shackles to add to the windvane ( the Al is bubbling the paint and the surfaces aren’t smooth anymore and chafing the control lines).  I couldn’t find a bead blaster here so the project of repainting the wind vane will have to wait. I want to strip the Al down and re-coat the castings with Awlgrip (an aircraft paint that we used when we painted the decks). Other than that there are small projects that always work their way onto the list and off. Not much different than a home except that we get to do the projects always with a new view out the hatch.  In the last few days I’ve replaced a florescent bulb  in two Alpenglow fixtures (they’re said to last forever – yeah right), I’ve tightened the bolts on the Lavac head base (still has a smallish leak so I get to do that again), I’ve tightened up a PVC fitting on the cooling system for the generator. Didn’t leak before but in the last month the parts chose to provide a small path for the water to exit the system.

Alas, it’s not all work, a great deal of time is spent meeting others and sharing life stories.  But cruising isn’t a vacation and what happens in life on land happens to us on the water, the only difference is; if we neglect some issues, we sink.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

I’m Ready!

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

GQ (Gentlemans Quarterly) can contact me anytime. I’m ready. I’ve had my moment in cosmetic surgery and all went well.  I can’t yet show any pics, W/ won’t let me. Don’t know who she’s protecting. 🙂

The surgery (Upper Blepharoplasty)  was Monday.  I arrived at 8 am and had 4 attendants taking care of  me. Laying on the table with only a local anesthetic wasn’t a problem. I didn’t really feel anything. Well maybe when the Dr. peeled some of the extra skin away I felt a sting. But I don’t know if it was from the Dr.  peeling a sliver of skin from my upper eyelid  or from a local anesthetic being injected. Roughly an hour later I was up, off the table, and moving. First thing was ice. I sat in recovery for some time; how long I don’t know, and then ended up in a wheel chair on the street. W/ hailed a Taxi and home we came. I was home by about 11:30 am.

Total cost for the job  $2.3 million pesos or roughly #1,285.00 US. This fee covered the cost of the Dr., the Anesthesiologist, Nurses, any medications, a fancy pair of sunglasses (which I opted out of) and the Surgery Center. I had to get some blood work which cost roughly $55.00.  Five trips by taxi (both of us) cost $22 US.  I know a similar job in the US a few years ago cost close to 4k!  I’ll submit the cost to my insurance carrier in the US but I doubt I’ll recoup anything. Funny!  I might have been able to get something back from the insurance in the US but the cost would have been more and I’m figuring my out of pocket would have too.  And when you look at world health care rankings; the US is 37th and Colombia is 22nd (the lower the score the better the ranking) it makes for an interesting puzzle –  the cost for poorer health care (US) is greater then the cost for better health care (Colombia) !  Choosing where to take care of ourselves is I guess one of the benefits of cruising!

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

I’m so Vain, I’ll Bet You Think This Blog is About Me!

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Yeah! Remember the Carly  Simon song… You’re so vain…. I do. While I don’t think of myself as vain I know there are those that would argue. W/ said I’m the first one of us to get cosmetic surgery. She’s close, I think capped teeth are as cosmetic as getting my eyelids tucked. I know that’s not the technical term; but that’s almost the result. I’ve been told one lid  is hanging a bit; but I can’t really see it (But the picture shows it!) . The Doc said both have some extra skin. I always like a little skin but I’ve never thought of me as having the little skin!

Before

Before

So I’ve been to the consult, had my blood work done, been with the Anesthesiologist and am scheduled for Monday.  Taking a relaxing pill Sunday evening, then Monday am, then taxi to the medical complex and then under the knife. And the hardest part is not having to wash my eyes 3 times with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, but I can’t enjoy sundowners with the other cruisers Sunday evening. Damn! The operation is all done with local injections and the Anesthesiologist said he’d be there the entire operation. Dr. is going to take a thin slice from my upper eyelid on each eye and then stitch them back up He indicated he’ll not really take any muscle but did day there is some muscle that gets sliced off with the skin. I”m guessing I’ll end up with black and blue eyes. Maybe I’ll look tough, like being in a fight. I don’t know. We’ll see.  Back home (yeah the boat is home) we go  and then I’m told no heavy lifting for a week – that’s easy as I don’t want to do any grunt work anyway, then stitches out a week later,  after 3 more weeks I’m to be  fully recover for any activity.

We’ve still not really played tennis yet. Two major boat projects are getting the Xantrex Prosine 2.0 fixed and changing out a plate in the freezer. The Xantrax Prosine is at a great electronics repair shop, the guy (owner) can actually do component repair ( a lost art in the US).  As a side note NEVER BUY ANY XANTReX PRODUCTS!  They call them marine. Yeah  right!  IMHO they’re not worth the fecal material that would fit in the same size unit. I’ve  actually considered sending them some (fecal material) in one of their boxes as a comment on the quality of product they sold me and thousands of other cruisers!  My biggest problem being that the cost to send the feces  would be more then their product is worth. If you think I’ve had it up to my eyeballs  with Xantrex then you would be right.  If only I could have seen clearly when I bought their product then maybe I wouldn’t be in this pickle.

Hopefully with my new look (not so sad )  I’ll have that mischievous sparkle back  in my eyes.  With my new sparkle and clearer vision I hope to be able to make smarter choices for the future; where we go and what to do. Maybe. I’m sure I won’t be alone in my thinking as W/ will have something to say  too, she always does.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long