Mexico Cruising – A Cruiser’s Confession

I know I left you hanging with the last blog.   It was not my intent.  I just wanted to give you time to digest the first portion of our journey, and give me time to write the rest of the saga.   However, the best intention went awry because life does that sometimes.

I have made a concerted effort to give you mostly successful and idyllic cruising scenarios.  Of course every cruise begins with an idea and a plan.  And by now, most of you know we work hard to make sure our plan is a success.   Sometimes it isn’t a perfect success – after all – whose life is?   With my blogs, I try to give you the best of the best experiences.    I didn’t realize just how well I can spin the story, until the last three blogs.   Visions of fiestas and cold beer and margaritas dancing in our heads – a wonderful tale to tell!

But, we were not having fun.   We were working to minimize Bruce’s health issues, hoping we could resolve them aboard – or at least hold everything at bay until we could get professional help.    As I left off  we were headed to Cabo San Lucas, where we would refuel and continue on to Puerto Vallarta to spend the winter.

However circumstance and destiny (if you will) did not get copied on our plans.  The flat weather never materialized.   We changed course just to survive the seas, keeping them on our stern, which pointed us directly to Mazatlan, which was absolutely what we needed to do.   Bruce continued to decline, his breathing becoming more difficult as we went along.   Though exhausted from the breathing difficulties and lack of sleep, he was most comfortable standing or sitting totally upright.   I did a lot of the watch standing, giving him a break anytime he could rest.

He managed to hold it together.   Once we had Mazatlan in sight, at about 0700 the morning of November 29,  Bruce called the El Cid Marina, asking for a slip and telling them that he needed medical assistance.   They quickly replied, “Come to the fuel dock”.   We had been in El Cid previously and setup to tie up to the dock.  Men were on the dock, took the lines, and quickly secured the boat.   Geronimo  told us a doctor would be down to the boat in fifteen minutes.   We were astounded, to say the least!   We had expected to have to find a taxi, a doctor, etc…but no.   And, indeed Dr. Magallon came immediately, took vitals, and pronounced Bruce sick with pneumonia!   Then he said, “We are going to the hospital now.”

And just like that – Bruce walked off the boat with the doctor, and to Hospital Sharp they went!

I don’t even think Bruce looked back!  Then it dawned on me.  I am on the boat – at a fuel pier – by myself!  They had no slip, which is why we went to the fuel pier.  It makes for a good story – which I will tell later, but El Cid assisted me in moving the boat to Marina Mazatlan further up the channel.   That put D/V and me in a safe and secure place.

Marina Mazatlan, especially Elvira was wonderful to me – us.   Totally sympathetic to our emergency, too, and for both the marinas – El Cid and Marian Mazatlan have our heart felt appreciation for all the understanding and kindnesses they gave us.

Bruce was subsequently diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia.   He spent five days in the hospital.   My son came and gave me much needed  assistance and support.   His ability to help get us settled in the slip and D/V setup – and his excellent Spanish – made our stay manageable, as he could translate what the doctors had to say, get me around the town with ease that I couldn’t have dreamed of doing myself.   He made everything doable.  With him there, much stress and fear were eliminated.  Thank goodness for good – no – great sons!

Bruce walked out of the hospital on the fifth day with warnings from everyone – including the Medical people – to take it easy.   And he did.  He got stronger by the day.  He had two checkups with his doctor in the next five days and was proclaimed fit to travel.   So, on December 10, with my son’s assistance, we got underway and cruised to Puerto Vallarta.   We took it in two careful days with no overnight that might put additional stress on our recovering patient.  The seas were as forecast – for a change!   It was a beautiful flat cruise and we arrived Puerto Vallarta on December 12.

We took a couple days of rest, and then we got Bruce back into the medical community.   He saw a doctor who prescribed medications to assist in his continued recovery.   A week ago Monday, Bruce had a chest x-ray that looked better than the last one in Mazatlan and we were happy with the news.   Three days later – and why the next blog isn’t written – Bruce’s health started to decline – again.   And, on December 23 he was admitted to Hospital Cornerstone.

He improved quickly, but was still in need of hospital care, finally leaving the hospital just this afternoon after another five days in the hospital.   We all – family, friends, and medical staff – are determined that this time he is getting appropriate treatment and no more backsliding.   Enough with the hospitals – okay?

We did everything we knew to do while underway, coming down the outside of the Baja Peninsula and crossing the Sea of Cortez.  Once the muscle spasms settled down, he backed off on the ibuprofen and that is when the fever revealed itself – and that was when he started taking an antibiotic that we keep on board for just such an occasion.   The Mazatlan doctors assured us that he was in much better – if you will – condition due to our proactive treatment.  Bruce was very sick when we arrived.  They said his left lung was 50% full of fluid.   I don’t want to think what it would have been without our fighting the battle on our way.

I didn’t deliberately set out to spin some fun and happy adventure, when I posted the first “saga” blog.   I just wanted to put it all in perspective, but now so much time has transpired and even more has happened that I felt it was time  to “come clean”.   There are so many stories of boaters/cruisers who experience one bad experience or event after another.   Our goal is to show that cruising is a safe and fun experience – when you prepare your boat and plan accordingly.  But, as we all know, the best plans can go astray.   The second best plan is to be prepared for the unknown.

To be sure, savvy cruisers go prepared for illness and injury when they cruise.  You never know what you will find “out there” or what may befall you as you go on your way.   Being prepared can make all the difference – prevent further injury – even save lives.  It would be suicidal to not go prepared for medical events.   I would not say we are the most prepared of all, but we did do “enough” to keep a margin of control of the situation until we got help.   Indeed, it was providential that seas drove us to Mazatlan, instead of Puerto Vallarta.   The cruise to P/V would have been more than ten hours longer – we are not going to contemplate the alternative outcome.

We are so grateful for DESERT VENTURE – she never missed a beat.  We’re grateful for the knowledge and medications we had on hand in our time of need.  We’re very grateful for the cruisers who gave us some of their medicine to help us on our way to professional assistance.   We can’t say enough good things about Marina El Cid, their harbor staff, and Dr. Magallon on site, and Marina Mazatlan.   Everyone made a difference.

Thank you – to all the friends that have called, written, and made offers of assistance beyond our dreams of what friends offer.   We are so blessed to have friends and family willing to come to our aid.  A very special heartfelt thank you to our friends Mike and Maureen, who gave us medical direction, encouragement, and mentored us through the medical world.  Thank you, Son.  Thank you, friends.

Bruce will continue to improve, get back his stamina, and overall – get well.  We will stay here for the winter, take it easy and someday – get back into the fiesta and margarita mode.   Until then, he is getting better and We’re Home Today – in Paradise Village