Sailors Run’s Medical Emergency – 5-1-2014

Debbie and I had been just enjoying the heck out of all the wonderful attributes of Santiago bay as the days just seemed to be slipping away. Santiago is not just a great anchorage but has one of the best beaches in all of Mexico. Shopping for provisions is easy as there are great stores like Mega, Commercial and WalMart just a short bus ride away, and if you purchase a lot you can get a taxi right to your dinghy.

We had one very scary night here when at about midnight I thought I was having the “Big One”. Debbie was pretty animated as she tried to get help on the radio. All I knew is that I had a huge pain in my chest and could hardly breathe. After chewing some aspirin we climb into the dinghy and went to a friend’s boat who was a vet. She, armed with her stethoscope decided that she could not hear my heart or feel a pulse??? Her husband said he didn’t think it was a heart attack as I was doing too well.

Debbie and I piled back in the Dinghy and headed for shore going to find a cab to get us to the hospital. Dragging the dingy ashore was no easy task in my condition even with Debbie being all fired up. Debbie runs down the beach and starts yelling at this house that has lights on and there are about 6-people in plain sight, four guys and two girls. They stare out there wall of windows at us like several “aliens” had just arrived at there fenced in yard. Immediately they sprang into action as all four guys grabbed cell phones and disappeared out of site leaving the two girls sitting at the table alone. Soon the four guys came back and tried to hear what we were saying through the glass. Finally they understood we needed a cab and called one, and then they even tried to come out but could not unlock the door. Eventually a fifth guy shows up with a key and opens the door. We had been standing out there for about 15-minutes at that point.

Finally they lead us through the house as they say the cab has arrived, but not really, they actually lead us to the security guard that they had called. Debbie explained that I was having a heart attack and wanted to go to the hospital; at that point our hosts offered up water and said the cab would be there soon.

Once in the cab we got the hospital ride you might expect when you are having a heart attack, for just 6 dollars he flashed the lights and ran every red light at excessive speed all the way there. I wasn’t sure if the heart attack would kill me before the cab driver did; it was obviously going to be close.

We lucked out at the hospital, it being a very small one, as the cardiologist had been summoned for an earlier heart patient and was still there and seen me right away. They gave me an EKG, and x-rayed my chest as I was complaining that my left side was giving me great pain as I tried to breath. The doctor reviewed the x-ray and EKG; he also checked the oxygen level in my blood and found it to be very high which was good. He took my blood pressure and it was a little elevated but fine under the pain I was experiencing.

Bottom line the Doctor said no Heart or lung issues and believes it is pulled muscles in the ribs and mentioned that I had some arthritis going on with my skeletal joints like most everyone else.

The good news is the whole hospital visit only cost about $58-dollars. We called the same cab for the ride home and he drove very civil this time.

It was now 3:30 am and launching the dinghy said it all, as I tried to lift it once again the pain became so intense in my chest that I had to turn loose of the dinghy;poor Debbie had to drag the dinghy to the water by herself and I yanked the outboard to life with a great deal of pain and was barely able to breath the rest of the way back to the boat.

Over the next couple of days I started to once again breathe deeply without pain and within about five days was back to running once again.

A couple of things we learned from this, is to keep our vhf radio on at night as you never know when you or someone else might need help, and when you plan to stay in an area for awhile it’s good to get a phone number to call if you do have such an emergency.

Debbie and I had a rather uneventful three day passage back up to Mazatlan from Barra De Navidad, as the winds were light and we had to motor sail all of it except about 10-hrs when the winds piped up a little.

Now I will fly to San Francisco to see my son then on up to Washington to be with the rest of family and friends. Debbie is going first to New Mexico to see family and friends then up to Washington to visit more family and friends.

I should be back on Sailors Run by June, 3rd. and will head up into the Sea of Cortez for the summer. Debbie will rejoin me in November in Mexico to work our way south once again.

The book “Cape Horn Ahead or Behind Forever on My Mind” by Jeff Hartjoy will be available soon and I will let you know once that happens.

My projects have all taken on much more meaning as the upcoming “Solo Non Stop Circumnavigation” steadily draws nearer. So far the main boom is being rebuilt and several chain plates have been pulled for replacement. I also replaced the steering cables and they needed it.

Well that’s it for now and I would like to mention that if anyone is receiving these emails and would like not to please just let me know and we will take you off the list?

Please remember when responding to this email please don’t hit reply as it sends the entire adventure back through our rather slow long range radio connection.

Your Amigos, Jeff & Debbie