Life can seem normal still - one moment you can be sailing along, turquoise seas cradling your boat, en route to beautiful Antigua, looking forward to more of the same - 10 months into your open ended dream life.
But then in trying to remove a reef in the mainsail, your captain pulls at the lines and twists his injured back…
And the next morning he can’t walk. At all.
Fast forward a few days and some awkward dinghy trips to shore, and you find yourself in a third world hospital waiting room, paying cash for a $2.5k MRI, your captain still unable to walk. The tests reveal herniated discs. Those spongy bits between one’s spinal vertebrae, pushed out of place, just far enough to ruin our lives…
And weeks later still, you find yourself behind the drizzly windshield wipers, stuck in traffic in the dreary rain soaked streets of suburban Canada. It starts to dawn on you that your dream life is over, your captain possibly a year or more away from walking normally, let alone sailing. The possibilities that lie ahead no longer include rum punches on new beaches. Surgery, bills, a ‘safe land-locked-life’ are coming into view. You start wondering which country to look for jobs. The vision of Shiloh our boat, anchored far away in dreamy Antigua, fading further and further into oblivion.
The thought of blogging about all this brought only tears, dripping into the keypad, the bleak white empty word document staring back. So, silence.
Silence in the blogosphere as we fought with the uncaring, overloaded, inept Canadian medical system. Silence, through one prescribed narcotic drug after another for my captain, broken and bed ridden.
Silent uninspired, our days filled with painful and discouraging physiotherapy and chiropractor sessions followed by bedrest and discussions about the gloomy prospects that lie ahead. And the overwhelming frustration of not being able to make it all go away, make it better, go backward in time. On March 31st we spent our 1 year 'boat-life' anniversary in zero degree weather, fully grounded in suburbia.
But fast forward now, two months of tests and trials and healing time. And life has thrown us a chance. It can change in an instant. The headlines:
Surgeon says no surgery needed. Pain begins to subside, physio starts working! Grown son becomes available to assist on the boat for a few months.
|The captain - feeling much better, but still not strutting!|
This is where I do cartwheels across the screen and jump for joy – my pale, drawn face lit from within, smile from ear to ear. Shiloh, we’re coming home baby!!!!!!
This experience has taught us a few good lessons, and a few we’d rather not have learned. But if I hadn’t appreciated the life we’d found before, I can say with resounding confidence now, that I will never take it for granted.
We have made some friends out on the sea who will be forever in our hearts. Exceptional people. Since we've been away, our dear amazing friends on Khaya Moya have stayed put, boatsitting Shiloh instead of sailing on, as we all yearn to do. Who could take friends like these for granted. I am reserving some special hugs for our return!
Life aboard isn’t always easy. It is not glamorous, despite what vacation brochures insist, but it is a freedom that I will forever cherish. For us it is not A life, but THE life. And we’re going to soak it up for every salt encrusted moment and gorgeous sunset it brings.