And I mean that literally. Sometime last Saturday, and I cannot remember how or when or where, I somehow, in someway, managed to injure myself. I bruised/pulled/strained/sprained my hip, right where the thigh bone connects to the hip bone. I don’t recall slipping, falling, or otherwise doing anything that would cause such an injury. Maybe I fell, cracked my head, was unconscious and am suffering from short term memory loss too. No matter, I simply don’t recall doing anything to hurt myself like that.
As for the injury itself, from Sunday morning until Tuesday evening I was in excruciating pain. Any attempt to move brought nice stabbing spasms of pain running up and down my leg. Numbness, soreness, and aching kept me awake at night. It’s ok now. There is just a mild throbbing and I can pretty much walk around without wincing too much, but damn, did that hurt.
Normally, I wouldn’t bore you all with details of my owies and boo-boo’s. It’s part of life and nobody wants to hear about another’s insignificant injuries. But this little incident brings up a facet of boat living that nobody thinks about. Health issues while living on board.
The boat I live on is pretty small compared to most other live aboards. The cabin with the hatch closed has less than 5′ of headroom. To get in and out of the cabin is a hatchway or companion way, which one must step up a couple of steps to get to the rear cockpit area and then off the boat onto the slip. It’s not a big deal unless you are of a plus size, are not very agile, or in this case, hampered by severe pain and limited movement due to a mysterious injury. To further compound things, the hatch currently does not open because the mast is still sitting on it. There is no other place to move the mast for now so until I get it raised up, it stays put. And even further, the ac unit sits in the bottom half of the hatchway, meaning I need to step over it through the remaining space, about 2 1/2 feet square to get in and out of the boat. Even at full strength, it can be a bit of chore to get in and out. Couple all that with a gamey leg that doesn’t want to bend at odd angles,( well, it will bend, but it lets me know how unhappy it is about said bending), has made getting in and out of the boat over the past few days a real test of my threshold of pain, which I am finding out is not very high.
And oh yeah, did I mention it has been raining solid since Sunday? We have been getting soaked by some tropical outflows from a few depressions/waves/storms which makes the deck somewhat slippery. Needless to say, the last few days have not been a lot of fun for the Captain. Given the pain in the ass, the rain, and slow down in business all across the island, my mood has not been very light.
The upside is that the pain has subsided and whatever it was I did seems to have passed. The rain appears to be done for now and if business would just pick up a little bit, everything would be happy fun time again.
But, this incident reminds me of one of the pitfalls of boat living. A minor injury like this is magnified due to the close quarters and physical movement required to live on a boat. Had I still been living in my old house in Orlando, I would have simply laid down on the couch, flipped on the tv, and not moved until I felt more better. Here, despite the pain and the rain, I had to get out, go into town and buy food, (took the bus), and still function. Not an easy thing to do. Now imagine if the same thing had happened while out on the water under sail. What then? You are all alone, on the cold, heartless, and unforgiving sea, and you injure yourself, or get sick, and you are unable to move about, or handle the sails, or do any of the other many things that if not done could result in a visit to the bottom. It’s a scary thing to think about. Even scarier when you are actually suffering from said injury or illness and even though you are safely tied up to shore, you wonder about what would happen if you were out of sight of land. Just a slight injury, like I had, could be enough to prevent you from keeping your vessel afloat and out of danger. Trust me, there were a coupled times on Monday when the pain spasms were running through me, that if somebody had walked by with a box of money, they would have had themselves a boat.
But, it’s all good now. Bumps and bruises happen and it’s not the fault of the boat either. It doesn’t help that I am pushing 60 and not quite as spry as I used to be. And the chances of me ever sailing out of sight of land on this or any other boat are pretty slim. I’ve gotten up with a pinched nerve in my neck and had to get on a 1200lb motorcycle, ride to work, and stand on a sales floor all day. That was a lot of fun. Trying to run a stand up paddle board business with a torn meniscus in one knee and a sprained ankle on the other leg was no picnic either. It doesn’t matter what you are doing nor where you are living, injuries and illness will happen and you can only make the best of it. It’s a part of life. But some lifestyles, like living aboard, can take a minor injury and magnify the severity many times over. It comes with the territory and is something to consider if you are considering such a lifestyle.
And the first scalawag who suggests I need a woman on board to help take care of me during times like this will get keelhauled.