A Travellerspoint blog

Getting it Fixed

The Diagnosis and Repair

View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2002 Heart Attack at Shroud Key & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Thursday, Feb 7, 2002 - Back to Nassau

Neither of us slept well. Bob apparently had a dull pain all night, but he didn't tell me much about it. He took aspirin. We listened to the AM radio Bahamas weather, and the SSB BASRA weather in the morning, and since it seemed reasonable, we cast off right afterwards at about 7:30. We were following our previous track on the computer, and the wind was behind us, so Bob insisted on pulling out the sails and sailing. He even turned the motor off for a period. I was unhappy about this, as I felt that it took a lot of effort to pull the sails out and pull them in (I am not strong enough to do it), but Bob (having persuaded himself that it was just a bruised chest and thus not really a problem) was determined (aka pigheaded and in denial). And I thought it was better to let him be happy and delusional than to convince him that he was really sick.

As soon as we got within phone range of Nassau I called our daughter on the phone to tell her what we were doing. The boat from Normans caught up to us and gave us a lead into the harbor, forcing Bob to stop just sailing and crank the motor up in order to keep up with them. We got into a slip about 3 after 41 nm at an average speed of 5.3 knots, and I cleared the cockpit of equipment very quickly, went up and got a splitter (to hook up the electricity - we have 30 amp and the marina has only 50 amp plugs), and hustled Bob into a car to go to the walk-in medical clinic.
The street side of the marina from a subsequent visit

The street side of the marina from a subsequent visit

They took his history and symptoms, BP etc., and then the two doctors looked at each other with silent communication.

Then they told Bob that they had no facilities to deal with this (would not tell him if he had a heart attack or not, but I could tell that they thought he had), and that while they could give him an EKG, they couldn't do the other tests, and that he should really go to the hospital emergency room. Could they call us a cab?

We had seen the hospital on the way to the clinic, and Bob said he felt better standing up rather than sitting, so he thought we'd walk to the hospital. So we did. It was about 1/4 mile, a little bit uphill and the rest downhill. I think it was a little farther than Bob thought it was.
Walking to the hospital

Walking to the hospital

Doctor's Hospital 2016

Doctor's Hospital 2016

When we got there, they were doing construction work on the main entrance, so we had to find our way in through the hospital but we eventually got to a very crowded waiting room. People with broken legs, people throwing up etc. I collared someone in a white coat and said that my husband had chest pains. Bob thinks this was the cardiologist, but I think it was a billing clerk. In any case, he was whisked onto a stretcher (they didn't have a cubicle for him - he was in the hall), and was immediately hooked up to a machine that showed the blood O2, the heart rate and the BP. We went through the drill again of the onset of symptoms and we told them what we had been doing.

They tried a nitroglycerin patch, but he said that it did not alleviate the pain, so they gave him morphine. This had the effect of reducing his BP way way down, and his heart rate slowed to about 37 bpm, and he got woozy, his eyes rolled up in his head and he passed out. I was there sitting on the floor next to the crash cart (while I was waiting, I read the directions) and I panicked when I saw him flatlining, and I said "HEY "and waved my hands to draw the doc's attention to what was going on, so they gave him another shot, and things returned to normalish.

They did an EKG, and took blood etc. The ER doctor said to me, "Normally we like to get treatment within an hour..." and then her voice trailed off and she looked at me. But the cardiologist determined that he had indeed had a heart attack and showed me on a TV sonogram type screen (the bill called it a Doppler Echo) that one section of his heart wasn't beating as actively as the rest. Since they couldn't keep him in the ER because they needed the space, they admitted him to the ICU.

The person who does the paperwork and requires payment had taken a $1000 charge on my credit card for the ER. He then said that he needed $10,000 for the ICU, and we both nearly had another attack right there. It turned out that was for Friday to Sunday, so he allowed as how he would only need $4000 for the night. He also said the air ambulance would be about $4000. So I took care of the ICU charge (used a different credit card with a higher limit), and then we took Bob to the ICU. They put the little monitor machine on the gurney with him, and trundled us all up there.

By this time it was getting late, and I made sure that he would get dinner (the kitchen was closed, but they made him a tuna sandwich), and then he told me to go back to the marina and get the boat ready to be left, and to be sure to get something to eat first. Bob gave me his shoes, shirt wallet, checkbook, glasses and everything except his travelers checks and the change in his pockets (they were in the back pockets of his pants and he was lying on them) to take back to the boat with me. I was told to have the security guard call a cab. So I did, and he did, and I got back to the marina.

I told the girl at the front desk what was going to be happening, and then went down to the little sports bar/restaurant (Bob wanted me to get shrimp tempora at the Japanese restaurant again, but I wasn't up for that), and got a chicken dinner which seemed to take forever to come. I got it to go.
RosalieAnn at the marina dock from the Japanese restaurant on a previous visit

RosalieAnn at the marina dock from the Japanese restaurant on a previous visit

As I was walking out the door, I met another couple also with a to-go box and asked them where they were in the marina, and it turned out they were on a sailboat two boats up from us. I asked them if they wouldn't want some of the food in the refer which I was either going to give away or throw out, and they said yes. So I went aboard (it was low tide), and also called to the boats next to us on each side. PROMISE, whom we had talked to when we came in on the port side were apparently fast asleep, but on the other side, they were sitting up in the cockpit, and all came over.
I cleaned out the refer, giving away a great amount of food (two kitchen trash bags full) to the two boats. I asked one of them to explain to Herb the SSB weather guy where we'd gone, so he wouldn't worry and he said he would. Then I tried to find the bag that Bob said to pack in, and couldn't - it was dark, and the bag was black and in the V-berth (the bow stateroom). Bob said I should have used a flashlight, but I had light, it just wasn't pervasive or strong enough.

I decided just to go to bed - turned on the Bahamas radio, and dozed off a bit. Woke about 2 am, shifted some more stuff around in the freezer and I think I called my sister (their time would be 1 hour later and she is a night owl). Then I went back to bed and slept until about 6:30. Got up and had a shower. One of the guys from the other boats came over the check the lines for me, and brought me one of my bagels I had given them, toasted and buttered.

I found the bag and packed. I was afraid I would lose the wallet, which was small and brown, so I stuck it in the toe of his shoe, and then I packed about 3 days worth of clothes for each of us, two computers (one with email stuff and photos and one with financial spread sheets etc.). I gave the rest of the stuff that I still had to the lady on PROMISE, and he gave me the phone number of Carolyn Wardle, the lady that runs the BASRA weather net and said that they boarded boats at their place, and her husband Nick could move it over there for me. I asked the guys on the other side to wash the salt of the boat for us, and they said they'd be glad to.

They also helped me up to the front with my bags which were almost too heavy for me to carry.
Nassau Harbour Club Hotel And Marina (photo taken the previous week)

Nassau Harbour Club Hotel And Marina (photo taken the previous week)

I decided to put the dinghy lock on the aft cabin, and take the key to it (we only have one) with me. I was leaving the port in the head, and the middle stern ports open for ventilation. It doesn't usually rain in there, and I put the dirty clothes on the shelf under the port in case it did. That way the fan that is attached to the solar panel will keep the cabin ventilated. I also left the port in the forward head, and the port over the galley sink (which goes into the cockpit under the bimini) open in the forward cabin.

I locked all the cockpit lockers. I turned off all the batteries, and all the electricity, and took my key to the padlocks and put a plasticized boat card on it to label it. I then gave that key to the marina in case they had to move the boat. They could get into the main cabin with that key to turn on the engine and lights.

So I was ready to leave, but I wanted to talk to Peter the dockmaster before I left. He was supposed to be there at 9, but he wasn't. I finally decided to leave without talking to him, and told the guy with the cars at the hotel that I was ready to leave, and gave the boat key to the girls at the front desk. Then I decided to look and see what money I had so I wouldn't get Bahamian change, and couldn't find Bob's wallet. I went through my fanny pack 3 times, and looked in the bags, but couldn't find it. I asked the car guy to wait, and went back to the boat and unlocked it and tore the aft cabin apart and couldn't find it. I also asked where I'd had dinner, and he said he hadn't seen it.

I went back to the lobby (by this time Peter was there). I talked to him about the rate for the boat, and he said he wouldn't charge for water or electricity while we weren't there (and he didn't charge for what I used the previous night), but that it didn't make sense to have a reduced rate when the marina was full (and I can see his point).

I drove to the hospital in a very distracted state. I had to pay for the car with a $20, and got Bahamian bills as change. The nurse at the desk found out what taxi I had taken the night before and they called the driver at his home and he looked in his cab and said he didn't find it. I talked to our daughter on the phone, and gave her my credit card numbers, and she started calling them to cancel them. She said not to tell Bob, but I couldn't do that.

Bob had me empty my fanny pack on his bed, and he conceded that it really wasn't there. I finally hauled the bags into his area of the ICU (they were carried up by the security guard when I got to the hospital) and unpacked them - where of course I found his wallet where I had packed it in the toe of his shoe. I totally had no recollection of putting it there. But Thank Goodness to have found it. The cards would be easy to replace, but his Navy ID would be much more difficult. So I called our daughter again, and she'd just gotten off the phone after talking to the last card.

In the meantime, I was to have been at the hospital and Bob was to have been flown out at 10:30, but the Nassau hospital wouldn't release Bob until they knew he had a bed in Miami. They also wanted to know that the Miami hospital would take our insurance (which was a bit of overkill because Bob was on Medicare). There was a lot of too and froing on the phone between the patient coordinator Patricia and our daughter and the hospital until that was settled. Then the Nassau cardiologist said that he had to have a doctor fly with him, and then changed his mind and said only a nurse was necessary as Bob was stable. They brought Bob lunch, which he didn't have time to eat all of as they were finally prepping him for the trip. I ate some of it ( the mashed potatoes and the jello).

Also he (the cardiologist) rendered his bill, and I gave his office girl the credit card I'd used for the ICU to pay it with. She came back to get me as they were getting Bob ready and said that I needed to come and give the card verbal authorization as they'd put a stop on it. So I trekked down the elevator and across and up another elevator, and waited in his office until they got the credit card company on the phone. They had just thought it odd that we'd gone for months without using the card, and now all of a sudden we had two big charges on it. (It wasn't one of the cards that our daughter put a stop on because I knew we had charges on it.)

Then I trekked back, and they were waiting for me to get back so we could go.

They put Bob on a stretcher with his little machine attached, and stuck my bags on there too, and we went down the elevator, and they put the whole thing in the ambulance. I rode in the front - Bob was in the back with the two nurses - very pretty girls.

We got to the airport, and they unloaded him (short wait while they fueled the plane which was a "ICU/CCU equipped fixed wind Piper Navajo Chieftain").

They had him on a flexible thing with handles, and they picked that up off the stretcher, and slid him onto a stretcher on the plane, and then rehooked him back up to his monitor. The pilot put my bags in the nose of the plane, took our passports, and also the immigration forms we'd filled out when we came in (and which I had remembered to bring with me) and the nurse and I strapped into our seats and we were off.
Leaving Nassau airport

Leaving Nassau airport

Bob's head was in back of the pilot. He could tilt his head back and see what the instruments were doing upside down, and he could raise his head a little to see a little bit out the window.
Bob in air ambulance

Bob in air ambulance

It was quite cloudy and I couldn't see the ground very much after takeoff. I caught a glimpse of


but that was about it.
Halo around the plane flying over the clouds

Halo around the plane flying over the clouds

It seemed like the flight lasted a long time. We went south and then west, and then north. We started descending through the clouds (was a little bumpy), and then I could see Miami. We landed, and I asked to use the bathroom, so I went in to the customs trailer. The pilot went through customs for us, and then gave me back our passports, and we all loaded into an ambulance. Bob in the back with nurse and EMT, and me in front with the driver. Difference was I could hear what was going on in the back because th window was open. There was a traffic tie-up because of construction when we got to the hospital so the driver burped his siren a bit.

This time the stretcher didn't have room for the bags, so the driver and EMT carried them for me. They took him to the Cardiac Care Unit, which was a little like an ICU just for heart patients with what appeared to me to be weird visiting hours - 1/2 hour every 2 hours from 7 am to 9 pm. I went and found our daughter in the waiting room while they hooked Bob back up to the machine, and got him settled. He had a TV here.

He was supposed to go to what they called the "Cat Lab" for an angiogram and angioplasty, and the person doing this procedure was Dr. Chua. But the floor nurse didn't have orders to send him down. So eventually, our daughter and I went down to the hospital cafeteria to eat. She didn't like the food, but I was hungry as all I'd had to eat that day was a bagel, and about a half cup of mashed potatoes and a little jello.

I called on the cell phone from the cafeteria, and was told that Bob had gone down to the Cat Lab. I also called the boat the Wardel's number and made arrangements for Nick to come get the boat and sail it around to his place which was much cheaper than the Nassau marina. (I couldn't use the cell phone in the hospital proper.) I told him that since you have to contact the Nassau Harbour people to get permission to move a boat that he should bring a radio as our radios were all locked in the aft cabin. When we finished dinner, we went to the Cat Lab waiting room, which was really crowded.

Bob said later that they were doing a lot of the procedures, and it was just like an assembly line. There was no one at the desk when we came in, and eventually someone appeared and our daughter got her parking pass validated. Then he disappeared again. I used the local phone to call for information to see whether Bob had been done yet about 7:30, and realized after a minute or two that the phone at the information desk beside me (with no attendant) was the one that was ringing, so I hung up and called back, and this time they connected me to the Cat Lab. They said he was just going in for the procedure.

Sometime after 8, Dr. Chua came in and got us and we saw Bob in the recovery area. He seemed to be in good spirits. Dr. Chua said to make an appointment with his office for Tuesday. He seemed pleased with the operation, but said that he and Dr. Galbut had been waiting for Bob 'all day'. I went home with my daughter (I was tired). Bob was given his dinner when he got back to the CCU about 10 pm.

I woke up in the middle of the night, and didn't know where I was - the bed was not moving and there were no boat noises or monitor lights (we have a CO detector in the aft cabin which has a green pilot light on it).

February 10
My daughter drove me in and dropped me off Sat morning, and I stayed all day until dinner (they didn't actually make me stay just half an hour at a time). Bob was asleep when I went in, and I just sat there and read a magazine until the nurse waked him. They wouldn't let him go to the bathroom, so he just peed into the bottle and decided not to do anything else rather than use the bedpan. Daughter came back at night and brought dinner which we ate in the waiting room while the shift changed.

Sunday Feb 11

The next day, she took me to the metro, and I rode that in.
07653515.jpg07653522.jpg07653544.jpgmetro from the hospital room

metro from the hospital room

They decided that he could go up on the telemetry flour, so we trundled up there with a little portable monitor. I had brought Bob's pjs, so once we got settled up there, he took a shower and used the toilet and put on his pajamas. They gave him green sticky socks (with stuff on the bottom so he wouldn't slip). He was hooked to a monitor thing that broadcast the vitals to a room at a central location, so I couldn't see what his BP and heart rate were anymore. And they took the O2 clip off his finger I think. The one in the Bahamas would go on any finger - the one in Miami had to be on a certain finger.

So Bob could get up and walk around, but still couldn't shave with a razor with an electric cord. His face was getting a little bristley. He had a battery operated razor on the boat, but I took it out of his toilet kit to put his medications in. This room had a phone, where we could take calls, and a TV. It looked out on the city and we could see the Metro and the big flag flying on the roof of the hospital below us. Our daughter came with dinner again.

Monday Feb 12

Monday, our daughter had an early flight, so our son-in-law took me to the Metro on his way in to work. They told us he could go home, so I brought clothes in - I brought pants that he normally wears with a belt, and I forgot the belt - I brought it from the boat, but did not bring in to the hospital as I almost never wear belts - just did not think of it.

The doctor called in and talked to Bob and said he could leave, but did not give the nurses the OK, or they missed it. So lunch came and went. Our daughter took her daughter to gymnastics and then came to pick us up, but we didn't have the OK yet. I called the doc's office, and they didn't know where he was or wouldn't say.

She couldn't park in the garage as she had the Excursion which was too tall, or we thought it might be too tall, and she couldn't bring our granddaughter in anyway. So she sat in the parking lot fuming for about an hour and a half. Finally she got the doc's office number from us, and called herself, and IMMEDIATELY, we got the OK. (She is very forceful when she's annoyed) Fortunately our grandchild slept while she waited.

We saw 2 of our grandson's baseball games,
granddaughter at her brother's game

granddaughter at her brother's game

and we went to the boat show.
Listened to a couple of seminars there. Went down to Homestead a couple of times to cash checks and go to the commissary, and we hung out at our daughter's and watching the Olympics etc.
Bob watching the Olympics on TV

Bob watching the Olympics on TV

We had a doc's apt with Dr. Galbut on Thurs the 14th, and he told Bob he'd been very lucky. Didn't even take his BP. He was have an apt with Dr. Chua the following Tuesday
The following Tuesday (Feb 19th) Bob went to the appointment with Dr. Chua who did the angioplasty. His office manager, Chrissy, is a major screw-up. When I made the appointment originally, her computers were down, and she was the one who couldn't or wouldn't tell me where he could be found so that Bob could leave the hospital. He apparently isn't seeing patients this week, and they phoned our home back in ***Leonardtown*** to tell us the appointment had been rescheduled.

When I said that next Tuesday (26th) wasn't satisfactory, one of the girls took pity on us, and tried to reschedule for this week. I was there for 1.5 hours watching the office operation - seeing people searching for records that Chrissy (at another office) wanted, and eventually, finding that she had taken said records with her etc. There was a new girl - her first day on the job, and no one apparently could take the time to even tell her that Chrissy was the office manager and that she was at another office so that she could give that info to callers without bothering Cassandra, who seemed to be the only person who knew anything.

In any case, they rescheduled with Dr. Chua's partner for Thursday, and we will hopefully be good to go on Friday - we can ride to the airport with our daughter and take the first flight of the day to Nassau. We are preparing for that.

Bob went to a Perkins place here, and got a head gasket set, so he has a spare, and then he went to get more grout whitener so he could finish the guest bathroom - he's painting the whitener on with a paintbrush. He's also staining and varnishing some book shelves for our granddaughter's room. I managed to find a wallpaper frieze that looks good with the quilt on her bed on the internet and we went to another baseball game

The last night, we all went out to dinner at P.F. Changs in Kendall

Monday - Feb 25, 2002 - returning to the boat
Our son-in-law gave us a folding bag so that we could distribute our stuff so that each bag was lighter.

He took us in to the airport, and we checked in and checked one bag, because Bob didn't want his pocket knife taken away. I left behind my favorite white hat which I hung in the hall and forgot. We walked down to the gate, and sat down to wait. I downloaded pocketmail. They were supposed to start boarding at 6:35, and finally about 7, they started, only to soon say that there was a mechanical problem, and they'd let us know by 7:20 (which was the expected departure time). So about 7:20 they started boarding again. Some people went behind a screen for further check, and some didn't. We went out to the bus. Everyone appeared to want to stand rather than sit in the back. Don't know why, because the back of the bus would get there as soon as the front.

There were 5 non-revs, plus the Bahamas Air flight that morning had been canceled, so the plane was nearly full.

There was another flight going to Orlando from an adjacent gate, and we dropped some people off at that plane first. I wondered for awhile if the driver was lost, as he appeared to be driving around at random. We had seats C1 and D1 at the bulkhead, so my carry on went in the overhead, but Bob's didn't fit there and had to be gate checked.
large_07652708.jpgGovernment Cut

Government Cut

We had a nice flight going over Bimini (didn't get a picture), seeing
Ocean Key

Ocean Key

(aragonite mining)
Grand Bahama Banks from the air

Grand Bahama Banks from the air

Then we circled over New Providence Island with the morning sun glinting off the water
landing at Nassau airport

landing at Nassau airport

and landed at Nassau airport. Since we were bringing back boat parts, we had to account for them with our cruising permit (which I had with me). Nick picked us up at the airport (We phoned from between customs and immigration at the airport - Nick said he met people and not planes. He was proved right, when our plane was over an hour late.) and took us to his house


Bahamas Woodstar hummingbird

Bahamas Woodstar hummingbird

view in Coral Harbour

view in Coral Harbour

where the boat was docked. We opened the boat up and put away our clothes etc.
07653555.jpgRosalieAnn, rafted with laundry on the lifelines

RosalieAnn, rafted with laundry on the lifelines

While we were there, another CSY came through canals right by Nick's dock
The next day, after another boat came in, Nick took us to the market, where we got produce and meat, and took a taxi back. Thursday, Nick took us in to Nassau, where we joined BASRA (Bahamas Air Sea Rescue).
old buoy at BASRA

old buoy at BASRA

Then we went to the cruiser's lunch at Crocodiles with him. Each of us paid for our own lunch - there were no reservations - we just showed up and joined the group.
Anchorage and Atlantis from Crocodiles

Anchorage and Atlantis from Crocodiles

x07653557.jpgBob with other cruisers in green shirt on the right

Bob with other cruisers in green shirt on the right

x07653560.jpgNick (white hat) at Crocodiles - Nassau

Nick (white hat) at Crocodiles - Nassau

Cruisers dinghy-ing away from lunch

Cruisers dinghy-ing away from lunch

We had a nice time talking to the folks anchored in Nassau Harbour at that time. Friday, we also went in while Nick went to the store to deliver a package that he forgot the first time and pick up his mail.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 19:39 Archived in Bahamas

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.