Stitches

It’s a beautiful evening. It’s 6:00 PM or so and we are headed to dinner at Coco Beach. Walking up the dock I stumble on a step and fall flat on my face. Now bleeding, and no longer interested in dinner, we walk back to the boat and climb aboard. I mean literally climb aboard as it’s low tide and the entry door on the starboard side is way too low to step through. So, we climb over the starboard rail onto the Portuguese bridge. This isn’t for the untrained or faint-hearted. Safely aboard, I lie on the settee and bleed while Deanna begins to assess the damage. I have a 1 inch gash over my right eye and she thinks it’s deep enough to require stitches….lovely, and I was looking forward to a Pina Colada!

Where does one get stitches 6:30 PM on a Wednesday evening at Treasure Cay? With no local phone and spotty internet connectivity. No ground transportation. Marina office is closed. We look up the emergency phone numbers on our Explorer charts and guides aboard and use the satphone to call them; apparently they are long obsolete and non-functional. Not wanting to activate our EPIRBs and declare an emergency, Deanna climbs off the boat and heads to the only sign of civilization at the marina; the Tipsy Seagull Bar. There she is immediately referred to an office down the road and the person there calls a local doctor whose clinic is, amazingly, on site within view of our boat.

Soon Deanna returns with the news that a doctor is on the way and is coming to the boat! I thought house calls were obsolete but boat calls? Shortly, a nurse arrives and, with some detailed instructions, deftly climbs aboard to assess the situation. She agrees, I need stitches. Besides, I’m losing DNA and not happy about it. Given I’m able to walk we decide I should hike the short distance to the clinic and get into a proper environment for the needlework. So, we climb off the boat and soon find ourselves in a modern clinic with all the bells and whistles.

The doc arrives and over the next hour or two puts in 7-8 stitches, provides a regimen of antibiotics, gives me a strong Ibuprofen and sends me on my way. A very capable, competent, and kind soul. Everyone involved was most concerned and considerate. The final fee was also very reasonable under the circumstances.

Today, I have a bandaged eyebrow, about a third is missing and may not grow back. I’m wondering how weird that will look. But, hey, could have been much worse.

If you are a boater reading this there are some good lessons learned. 1) Don’t be clumsy. 2) Get on the VHF and ask for advice (we simply didn’t think about it but the VHF is used like a phone system in the islands), 3) Most importantly, when you arrive at a strange destination and check into a marina be sure to ask for local emergency numbers. Some marinas will provide this for you automatically, most will not.

Never did get that Pina Colada.

3 thoughts on “Stitches”

  1. Vickie Cochran

    Oh my. Just read last 4 entries. Sounded like you were in paradise up until your fall back to earth. So glad all turned out well with close, adequate medical care. It’s all a little scary to me. Too many unknowns and variables. But you guys are bold and brave and having a wonderful adventure.

  2. Gone for Good attributes that stumble to the grape. Be well my friend and learn how to use a eyebrow pencil as you will need it!

  3. Nancy McKinstry

    Hope you had that Pina Colada the next night! We made the crossing yesterday. Back in FL. Enjoy the Bahamas! Keep safe.

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