Sunday, June 22, 2014

When the student is ready at some level, the lesson appears...

I didn't sleep well last night, in part because i fell asleep late afternoon/early evening on the sofa, and awoke with a start about 2 hours later. So, when it was time for bed, i wasn't all that sleepy, and i ended up with an abcessed tooth, so that plagued me much of the night.

Rang the dental office this morning, the prerecorded message gave the usual business hours and then each dentist's cell phone number if it were an emergency. Well, i still had a pulse, so was it really an emergency? Still, involuntarily moaning and groaning because of pain and crying was not normal for me. Even Phoebe started purring and walked on me at one point, trying to make it all better.

I dialled the phone number for dentist i usually see, and she answered quickly. I told her what i could, she guessed i had an abcess and would call in a prescription for me, any drug allergies? Well, truth be told, i've had very few prescriptions in my life, one 10-day course of antibiotics in 2003 where i felt as if the life force had been sucked out of me, and the last time i had an Rx was in 2005 when i broke my leg: Tylenol 3 (acetaminaphen/paracetamol and codeine). The doc had wanted to give me Percoset but that was too strong. I took one dose and hadn't been that stoned since the 1970's.

The dentist suggested an Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen or paracetamol, depending on which side of the Pond you reside) on their own separate schedules but overlapping so one could help the other. She's prescribe good ol' penicillin and would try to get to talk the pharmacist directly rather than leave the message on the machine, which they'd check every hour.

She assured me that the pain would gradually lessen if i followed that protocol, although it does always seem worse at night, perhaps because we don't have anything else to think about. She was out of the office Monday, but the other dentist could help, or she'd see me Tuesday.

Oh, and yes, i DID do the right thing in calling her.

I told her i felt better just talking to her, and i did.

Now, the weather here has been absolutely STELLAR, and after the long, long winter we had, i didn't want to spend such a beautiful day feeling like crap. I searched for my HSA card, which i never use, and could only find the one that expired in March. Oh, wait, they were supposed to send another, did they? and i honestly couldn't remember. Searched high and low. At least some pesky filing is now sorted as a result. I also had a few paper checks for the HSA, so i could take one of those. And my insurance card, although i couldn't remember if this was the current one. WHY don't they put a date on them?

I'm not usually this scatterbrained, but insurance stuff makes my eyes glaze over. I can wade through oodles of tax forms, banking legalese, and muncipal code, but the buck stops there. Himself is the one who's got the insurance thing down, but of course, he's not here at the moment, so there you have it.

I go with my insurance card, a paper check, and i hope the Rx is ready.

I arrive, and it is. The pharmacist looks very young, he has to get all my info since i'm a new customer. I ask questions about the Rx, with food or without? How often? And here he looks at me with a funny look. I apologize and tell him the last Rx i had was in 2005, and no offense, but i don't keep people like him very busy. He smiled and relaxed his gaze. "Not to worry, there are more than enough people taking your place," and here his smile widened a bit more.

I thanked him, he answered my questions, and then i left. There were now four people waiting, and two looked at me in disbelief. How could i not know the drill? Well, i'm medically boring, and i want to make sure i understand everything. I get to the car, look at the notes that come with Rx. It tells me among other things that penicillin is absorbed fastest in the bloodstream when i take it either an hour before or two hours after a meal. Hmm, the pharmacist said it didn't matter, some people take it with food else they get an upset stomach.

So, i got home, popped a penicillin, and started to work out my dosing schedule. Gadzooks, not the mental arithmetic i wanted to do. And i laughed at myself. Three different meds, and the Rx is for 7 days. I can suck it up for a week. I thought of some folks i know who do this every day, and not just with three meds. This one with food. That one without. This one has to be taken three hours before so as not to react with that one. I had my schedule, i did eat something about 40 minutes after the penicillin because i was hungry, and i had wanted to go sailing.

Three aspirin can put me to sleep, so i wanted to see what i felt like after taking my Advil (11:00 a.m.), penicillin (1:15 p.m.) and Tylenol (1:35 p.m.) before i took off for the boat. Other than a little relaxed, i felt all right, so i loaded up the oars, pfd (personal flotation device or life jacket), my backpack with water bottle and extra bottle of water, sunscreen, another layer if temps got cooler, cell phone in stay-dry thingie, and my portable marine radio.

As i rowed out to Retrouvé, I saw my friend who's captain of one of the schooners near my boat. She'd invited me for a lobster on her lobster cruise that evening, if i was game. I wanted to, but remembered i hadn't brought my meds, so declined her polite offer. It didn't take long to bend the jib, raise the main, and get underway; i was glad to have time for a short sail. I decided to sail through the "parking lot" part of the harbor, where i'd spent much of my first sailing season, just trying to figure things out. Winds were light and variable, and that protected cove would mean they'd be lighter still, but probably enough for me to take a spin through before working my way down the harbor. The harbor is a big one, at least to me, about two miles (3 km) long, and it's a working harbor, so that might be a nice ride for an hour or so.

I got caught in a spot where the wind died, and was waiting to catch any zephyr. I was getting closer to one of two big barges parked there, and i decided i'd start up the outboard, and motor past. I never leave the mooring without starting the outboard, and today was no exception. The wind was out of the west, and i had raised the main before casting off the mooring line. It took only several moments for me to be sailing and about a minute after to realise that although i had the engine running, it was in neutral. So, i switched it off and enjoyed sailing up the channel.

So, imagine my surprise when i pull the outboard string, and nothing happens. I was finally able to get it going, just enough to get out of the barge's way, when the engine cut out again. I recalled the steps i went through at the mooring. I had done everything i always do. So, what was different? Well, i had topped off the gas tank as it was low, and the gas can i brought was the one that's dedicated to the boat's mix of 1:100. Oh, but was it old gas in that can? Maybe. I add stabiliser in all gas i get for the mowers and boat since they all are two-stroke engines, and don't see as much use as the car or truck. ##@(*$#( ethanol in gas. But, that's a rant for another day.

I try the engine again, and it still doesn't want to turn over. Then it does, but won't stay motoring, just cuts out. I want to try again but figure i've probably flooded the engine at this point, and feel it's in my best interest to get back to the mooring. The wind has picked up a little, and i can make it back to my mooring fairly easily, if the wind keeps up. So, i make my way back, taking note of how the boats are pointing, what's the best course for me to get to my mooring, and what happens if i can't the engine to start but MUST rely on my sailing skill and caprices of the wind?

I decide i'm not going to try to start the engine again until i'm closer to the mooring. If it's going to give just a little oomph then nothing, i might need that little jolt closer to the mooring.

I think of yesterday when i sailed with a sailing friend who's a great knitter. We had a lot of fun, and motored most of the way back once inside the harbor because the wind was blowing east, or dead on our nose when we were in the channel before we turned off to the mooring. The outboard was fine, reliable, and we putted along, laughing and having a lovely time motor sailing as they say.

At least today, the wind was blowing from the northwest, so it would be fairly easy to stay in the channel, and i'd have to pick my way past a couple of boats, to port hard, head into the wind, pick up the mooring line, done.

Oh, but that second channel marker was about where i'd need to veer off and pick my way through. Looked as though the wind changed direction just a little and just past there, so go around the marker or cut before? Cutting before gave me more margin to wiggle to the mooring, so cutting before it was. And when i got there, it was at the wind shift point, and turning Retrouvé just a bit port to avoid the channel marker and make my way into the anchorage, saw me in irons. Oh, dear, and channel markers don't move for anyone. I started the motor or tried, and it spurted just a moment, enough so i could lurch forward, before it conked out. The lurch got me past the danger zone, and provided just enough oomph to catch the next zephyr. I glanced at my friend's schooner. It was full of people going on the lobster cruise that evening. I was glad for her, and from the way they stood still, i knew she was giving the safety talk she's required to give before any sail.

I turned my attention back to my mooring. Twig, my dinghy was in plain view, and Retrouvé sidled up to her. I turned port, and was a bit farther from Twig, and more importantly Twig's painter (like a lead line) that was attached to the mooring line than i thought i would be. But, close enough to reach with the boat hook. I grabbed the painter from the boat hook and walked forward to the big cleat. I wanted to see if i could figure out what was what with the motor.

I walked aft after striking the main, put my hands on my hips, and stared at the outboard. She looked as she always had. Pressed the priming bulb a few times, felt a bit more air than i usually do, and pulled the string. She started right up, purring merrily along. Tra-la-la. I shut her down after a few minutes. Maybe sediment in the line? I stowed the jib back in its bag, furled the main, tied the sail stops, covered it with the mainsail cover. Went about my usual routine of getting the boat ready to be back on her mooring.

I smiled involuntarily. I remember telling SFB that at the helm i felt i should be thinking deep, nautical thoughts, but i couldn't think of a damn thing other than that i should be thinking deep, nautical thoughts. Today, my brain took in things, like wind direction, boats that were nearby, places i'd most likely be able to sail without too much trouble (somewhat successful as i hadn't hit anyone or hurt anything), and how to sail to my mooring, safely, and without incident. I was glad and relieved to have done all that. Not the weak-in-the-knees relief i'd felt that first season, when the motor cut out was i was picking my way through the boats to my mooring, and she wouldn't start up until the last moment. And this time, the feelings of gladness were stronger than the feelings of relief. I had paid attention when those with more sailing experience had talked, and i happened to listen when they used words i could understand, and i was ready to hear the message. I had enough point of reference so what they said made sense to me. I was grateful for the teaching.

That other day, when the motor cut out inopportunely as it had, it did for seemingly no rhyme or reason. Next time out, it started up and chugged along as if nothing had ever happened.

I'll look over the manual again, to make sure i did all that i was supposed to do. I'm nearly ready for my next round of pain med #2, and about 1.5 hours from now, before i go to bed, i'll take more penicillin and pain med #1. Not quite every 6 hours, but close enough. Upon waking, which ideally will be a tad over 6 hours, i can start the pill regimen again.

The lesson appeared, and the student was capable, even if she didn't feel entirely ready. She's glad it went as well as it did.


  1. Sounds like the fuel lines could do with being flushed out. Possibly a tiny blockage somewhere. Sorry to hear about your TOOTH troubles; hope your feeling better already. Nothing worse than TOOTH trouble.

    1. I discussed that with Himself, Cro, and am wondering if i need to take off the outboard in order to flush the lines. Not the end of the world, mind, just not ultra convenient if true.

      Oh, yes the tooth trouble :0( Thankfully, my dentist could see me today, confirmed which tooth it was (i had figured correctly, but wasn't 100% sure). A root canal looks to be in my very near future. My options are that or pull the tooth altogether. I've always been in the latter camp, although my dentist thinks a root canal a better path to take. Mulling that over...

    2. I was scared to death to have a rootcanal, but it really wasn't bad at all. Good luck!

  2. And you did it all with a painful tooth. I'm impressed.

    1. Maria, summer is a short season here, and this was a quintessential summer's day. I wanted to get some enjoyment out of it, and once i felt certain i wasn't too wifty to sail alone, i wanted to make the most of it. The pain ebbs and flows, which sadly, you know all too well. I didn't want to add the pain of not sailing for even just a short sail when i was able, so sallied forth.