I saw a meme on Facebook that said “What a year this week has been”. Ain’t that the truth? Like everyone else we are watching the news, social distancing and worrying – well the worrying is mine, not so much Danny, he’s still taking everything one day at a time.
This blog has been about our travel, but today it’s about so much more! I’ve found blogging to be a good way of journaling and a bit of therapy for the soul, and since people are probably bored and anxious to read just about anything, maybe this is as good a time as any for an update.
When I last updated our blog we were about to leave Key West having spent two months there over the winter. We traveled with our friends Grace and Bruce on Seas Today from Stock Island to Fort Lauderdale over four windy days. Two of the days we traveled “outside” which means out on the ocean vs. on inner or intracoastal waterways, and one of those days the winds were way too much for my liking, there were gusts up to 35 and there were 3 to 4 foot waves with an occasional 5. That was more than a month ago now and I still get shivers up my spine when I think of that day. We were safe, the boat could handle that and more, but I was petrified. Danny wasn’t afraid, but banging on waves like that for a few hours really beats you up, so he was as relieved as I was when we came inside. Hindsight being 20/20 we will never do that again – we knew it was going to be rough and thought we could handle it for a couple of hours, but there really was no need to do so. Never again will I say “yes” to going out in winds like that. Our rule of “two yes’s and one no” on a go/no go decision still stands. Other than that horrible day, we anchored out in three beautiful locations and had a great cruise to Fort Lauderdale.
When we decided not to travel to the Bahamas after leaving the Keys, Fort Lauderdale for a month was our Plan B. We were looking forward to spending time on the beach, walking to our favorite bars and restaurants and riding our bikes around the city, and for the first week or so we were able to do so and enjoy the beautiful weather.
Unfortunately, though, Danny ended up being sick almost the whole time we were there. In fact, he was sick for most of the time we were in Stock Island as well, so virtually all of the winter months. Despite several ER visits and one visit to his home doctor in February, antibiotics were not making him better. When we left Fort Lauderdale on Thursday the 12th of March he wasn’t feeling well at all; we traveled four days to Titusville, FL (near Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center) and I actually ended up doing most of the driving – or piloting or captaining, whatever you choose. He was so exhausted and short of breath that he actually slept on the bench behind the helm while I drove – I woke him to dock the boat, but otherwise it was all me. Anyone who knows us knows that this is NOT how we boat. For him to sleep while I’m driving, something has to be wrong. So long story short when we got to Titusville I rented a car and drove him two hours north to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, at the suggestion of a local oncologist that my nieces husband put us in touch with (and our buddy Tex from TxAu)! I am so glad we landed there, the care was outstanding. The good news is he tested negative for COVID-19 (phew), but he did have a pretty stubborn pneumonia that required 3 days and nights of IV antibiotics. Being at a world class hospital during a pandemic was an interesting experience – there is no fooling around. I had to leave him in the ER after they decided to admit him and was not allowed to visit the whole time he was there; in fact by the time he was discharged they weren’t even allowing visitors in the ER, only the patient. I stayed in a hotel on the campus for a couple of nights, then took the trek back to to the boat until he was discharged; we kept in touch by phone in the meanwhile. It took a couple of days before he started feeling better – when he began to complain about the food, I knew he was starting to recover.
So now we are back on the boat in Titusville trying to determine our next move. First he needs to get stronger; he’s definitely better than he was but not fully recovered yet. Because of the pandemic, marinas all around the country have started to close, and although we can anchor out for several nights in a row, we will need to come to marinas for fuel, to get water, to pump out and to get to grocery stores once we start running out of food. Right now it looks like we would be ok, but everything is changing daily, so we are monitoring all of our boating sources regularly (and compulsively on my part). We still have the rental car, so I’ve been going to stores to stock up on non-perishables and filling the freezer with meats and vegetables in the event of a total shutdown where we can’t leave the boat, or if we are out on the water not able to come to a port. Our reservation here is until April 16th so we don’t have to leave yet, but we are looking at all of our options while this uncertainty continues. Oh, and shopping for toilet paper!! Every day this week!! Fortunately a very kind stranger in front of me in line today let me have hers, she got the booty before me and felt bad for me!
To say this has been stressful is an understatement. Having Danny so sick is bad enough, but during this unusual time it has felt magnified X10!! Social isolation was easy for me this week, I am not near anyone I know or love. BUT – we are so unbelievably lucky to have had phone calls, recommendations and moral support from the best family and friends anyone could ask for. The fact that our families and friends from home care so much is not a surprise at all, they have been there for us before. I’ve been in constant contact with my sister, my friend Robyn and my kids and have talked to my brothers and sisters – in – law regularly as well. What’s a little remarkable to me is how our boating buddies have been there for us – constantly, and I have to say Laurie from The Laurie Jean has been such a rock for me. They all understand the challenges that come with long boat trips like this, and have offered to come get us, have us stay with them, drive us home – you name it, they’ve offered it! Every Gold Looper we’ve met says that the people they’ve met have been the best part of the journey, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m pretty sure our Looper buddies are the best buddies ever, we truly have made lifelong friends.
So, here we sit, wondering what’s next just like everyone else today. I truly hope everyone is staying healthy and as sane as possible, and I pray for those who have been really affected by this horrible virus. I really miss home and my people and can’t wait to get there.
Until then, sending hugs from Captain Dan and Cruise Director Jodi