I’m not a big Don Henley fan, but I’ve always liked a few of his songs: Boys of Summer, Dirty Laundry, Sunset Grill, New York Minute. “In a New York Minute, everything can change. In a New York Minute, things can get a little strange.”
Prior to 11:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, our plan was to cut the dock lines on August 4th. I was waiting to put it on the blog until it was more widely known at my job, but I had let my boss know and we were entering the home stretch. We had seven months and eleven days to go. Now we’re going to need to wait a bit longer.
Jeff had been feeling poorly for about a month but we chalked it up to digestive issues. Then he felt really lousy and we went to the ER on Christmas Eve night. He was in active atrial fibrillation (he was diagnosed with afib approximately 7 years ago but it didn’t really bother him), so the ER gave him a drug to try to restore his heart back to its normal rhythm. Then his blood pressure crashed to below 50/45 and things got a little crazy. After 13 days in the hospital (including spending Christmas and New Year’s in the Cardiac ICU), he was released at fifty-eight years old as one of the 800,000+ people diagnosed each year with congestive heart failure. The doctors aren’t sure why this happened – Did an unrecognized long-running afib cause the damage, or did something else cause the damage which triggered the latest bout of afib? – but for now it doesn’t really matter.
So now what? Well, priority number one is for him to get as well as he possibly can. He’s still in afib despite two cardioversions to bring him out of it, but he has a fantastic team of doctors who are working with him. By happenstance we ended up at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford which, unbeknownst to us, was the first hospital in New England to offer a dedicated Heart Failure Inpatient/Outpatient Coordinated Care unit, and everyone has been excellent. We’re also incredibly fortunate that we have great health insurance – something that everyone should have the right to have, but that’s a rant for another day.
I told Jeff that his timing was good because this happened in December instead of at the beginning of our sailing season (not to mention we would have told the landlord we were leaving, work would have been interviewing replacements for my job, etc.). Now he can spend the next several months getting stronger and we should be able to splash just like we normally would and enjoy a nice season on the water. We have always traded jobs on the boat so that’s good. If we need to he can assume the role of the full-time helmsman and I’ll deal with the lines and pushing off the dock pilings. Regardless, we’ll be on the water which is our happy place.
As far as this blog goes, we discussed it and the posts will most definitely continue with occasionally a slightly different slant. Maybe it will help someone facing similar circumstances. Honestly, there’s not much to post about right now because it’s been butt-cold here in Connecticut so we haven’t been down to the boat. Hopefully this weather will break soon, though, and we’ll be able to make some visits to Pegu Club.
In the meantime I’ve been doing some canvas work with the Sailrite and I’ll have a few posts coming up on that. Jeff is also going to start researching the best way to install an electric windlass on a Bristol 29.9 which will make for an interesting post. I’m strong, but I don’t know that I can hand-over-hand our anchor and chain (and for now he’s not allowed to), so a windlass is looking like a good idea.
We are still planning to head out full-time in the future, but he’ll never be going more than three months without a cardiology appointment so our planned cruising destinations will need to be modified a bit. As long as we’re someplace warm in the winter and there’s an airport so that we can fly back to Connecticut every three months, it’s all good. In the meantime, I guess we won’t be giving away our winter clothes at the end of this winter just yet!
More adventures to come.