Should I Go or should I Stay
15 October 2016 | Annapolis Landing Marina
Pamela, beautiful 70 degrees and sunny
I had just taken some Parmesan Monkey Bread from the oven, assembled a salad and packed a basket to take to a pitch in at a friends' boat. A fellow cruiser had stopped by to talk to the captain about our Lithium Ion batteries. I was heading to the bathhouse for a quick shower before our dinner outing. Our last get-together before our departure at first light in the morning.
The tide was high which means it's a pretty big step down and off the boat to reach the dock and I put my hand on top of a piling to steady myself. When I stepped down to the dock I felt blinding pain as my ring caught on an exposed nail on top of the piling behind me. At one point my entire body weight was suspended from the ring finger on my right hand. I was able to step up on a stool to free my hand and despite the pain I knew I had to get that ring off before it began to swell. My first thought was of the hundreds of times I asked soccer players to remove their rings before a match warning them of the dire consequences if they did not. And here I was, one big dire consequence.
Our battery curious guest beat a hasty retreat and the captain emerged to see what all the commotion was about. I immediately asked for ice. We keep several small bags of ice in the freezer and remarkably had just added an ice pack to Big Frisky the previous day. I climbed back on board for some triage and field dressing. Next we had to make a decision on whether to seek professional emergency care or not. The ring had gauged deeply into one side of the finger and peeled back an inch of skin on the other. The knuckle was swollen and bruised but nothing felt broken.
The go or stay debate didn't last long before we borrowed a car and figured out the closest urgent care in our network. I'm glad we did. Medical professionals cleaned and x-rayed the injury. While the doctor stitched up my finger, we chatted about cricket, reliving the last six balls at the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup 2016 and the Windies win. They sent me home with a finger splint and a stern admonition not to do anything for the next 48 hours and to return for a dressing change and assessment then.
The drive back home was a bummer. My finger didn't hurt that much, but now we couldn't leave for two days. Worse, we missed our dinner party. About that time, I heard from our hosts asking about my well-being and letting us know they were warming up the soup if we felt up to it.
Kurt dropped me off at their boat and retrieved the bread and salad from Big Frisky I packed hours earlier. Undiminished by the delay, the dinner party was a huge success, filled with sailing stories, weather speculation and a number of gruesome tales about everyone else's injuries.
A word about our hosts, Shannon and Mike. We first met them in Virgin Gorda BVI where they where they were hauled, painting the bottom of their boat Silver Heels a beautiful 1965 Pearson Alberg 35. We instantly became friends with many common interests like reading, cooking and sailing. They have a lot of experience as professional boat captain and first mate. Mike offers Kurt both encouragement and sound advice. And while Shannon and I share recipes and book titles, she also taught me how to use the winch to hoist Kurt up the mast. The last time we saw them in Tortola BVI, when they were leaving for Tahiti to double hand a catamaran delivery.
With the doc's permission we will leave tomorrow for a three day hop down the Chesapeake and up the Potomac to Washington DC. We leave Annapolis with fond memories and maybe a few scabs and bruises, but we realize how lucky we are to have a cruising life where we can meet new friends and take up with old ones right where we left off.