Chapter 13

I got tickets to fly to Trinidad on the 7th returning on the 23rd. That would give me 14 days there to sort out my stuff, throw a lot away and give away still other stuff. I also wanted to get pictures and make notes of what materials were for what project and such.

It looked like the best opportunity to go since there was no way of knowing how Dave’s health would be later and if not good, it would make it harder to go. I would have picked an earlier date in hopes of being back before the next biopsy but there was a seminar on clinical trial options scheduled for the 7th that I wanted to go to. It was to include a one on one discussion of Dave’s particular options and would be over in time for me to get to the airport for the flight.

Friday we got word that the seminar was canceled due to the Coronavirus. I wondered if there was any risk of going to Trinidad. Was there any risk that I would end up quarantined there and not allowed back? That did not seem likely. And perhaps, if conditions changed, I might be able to fly back earlier.

So I went. The first leg of the trip, to Houston, had less than 1/3 occupancy – there were a bit more than 3 seats per person so we were all able to stretch out if desired. A long layover in Houston gave me a chance to learn my way around the airport. Then the next leg was about 40% full. Once aboard Heidi I opened my computer to let Dave know I had made it safe and it connected up to Power Boats wi-fi with out any hesitation or password – and at excellent speeds! Glory be! Best connection I have had in ages. (Not that it lasted!)

Trinidad had switched their 100TT bills from cotton to plastic and originally set the expiration for the old bills at the end of last year at which time they would become worthless. A hue and cry got them to extend the chance to exchange them to March 31 – provided you could prove extenuating circumstances that prevented an earlier exchange. . So Monday I took in my 1,100 TT to the Central Bank as required and found that it was only doable on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Wasted morning. I don’t have time to waste. I was not a happy camper.

But I managed to get a new sim card for the phone since our US carrier did not offer roaming and I needed communication. So not a total waste.

Tuesday I plunged into the job and started lugging stuff to the laundry room where there is a shelf for freebies. There was no free space to sort stuff into and I couldn’t see a best way to tackle it.

I would spend a day sorting and moving stuff and not finding what I came to get. Had I already put them in storage in WA and forgotten? Then, on average, the next day I would crater. I was tired, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and I guess even spiritually. I was frequently in tears, still trying to come to grips with giving up a much loved home and life style. In addition to the pending parting and all the memories affecting me emotionally, all the decision making was mentally taxing, and the Leukemia and coronavirus and political issues were affecting my spirit. Cratering more of less every other day reminded me of all the cratering I did when I lost Gerhard. At first going up the ladder and climbing over the rail would tire me enough to want a break but towards the end I must have been up and down it twenty times a day without trouble. Amazing how easy it is to get out of shape but so far I can still get back in shape.

And on top of all that I wasn’t bothering to eat much. I didn’t want to take time to shop and cook and clean and ration to avoid left overs. Besides I wasn’t hungry and was 30 lbs overweight! There was some miso soup and electrolyte drink mixes on board. I had had a salad in Houston and a tomato juice on the flight. Had a fresh coconut water. Some Sahina’s and one of Chickie’s sandwiches. Two small apples. A couple of pastries from Dockside Food Mart and beet/linseed drinks. 200 grams of cheddar cheese, some cashews, and at the Thursday pot luck there was mashed potatoes, pickled beets, and brownies. And lastly, a couple of home made english muffins that my neighbor offered me. How’s that for two weeks intake? Not the most balanced diet in the world but better than a total fast given my energy output.

Thursday I felt I had made enough of a dent in the clutter to have the broker come and see her. (Only open Tu, Thur, Fri.)

Tuesday of the second week, I went again to the Central Bank to exchange my 1100 and 900 from another boat for new bills. There were already a good hundred people in line for the same thing! I finally got my errand done at 12:15 after two hours in line and saw another hundred people still waiting for their turn! There were signs everywhere saying that if we wanted to wait we should stay 6 feet apart from each other. Uh? How? When I got up to the head of the line right underneath one of the signs, one of the security guards directed me to move up close behind the guy in front of me, inside the line on the pavement. Inside there were 3 women handling paper work with a double row of tables between them and us. That magic 6 feet.

Stopped at West Mall on the way home for a smoothie (forgotten on the above list) and to see if there was any hand sanitizer available – who was I kidding?

Among all the other activities I was trying to figure out what a fair price would be for Heidi. Dave was already in communication with an interested party who was stuck up in Martinique unable to come down and see her. I have no clue as to whether this virus will affect the market in favor of buyers or sellers but it will probably put the kibosh on all sales until people can come and look.

As the days went by the movement restrictions kept getting tighter. The first week was pretty much just advice to wash hands. The second Tuesday had recommendations for social distancing. I think that was also the last day they would let in foreigners and a boat did arrive barely in time to not get turned away. By Thursday the pot luck was canceled as were all other group activities. I kept checking that my flight was still a go. Checked if there was an earlier flight available – No. Saturday – the day before my flight there was an announcement of a total shut down /lock out Sunday night. Even nationals would not be allowed in after that! My flight was at 12:05 Monday morning. When exactly did the “Sunday Night” ban start? No further info on Saturday. On Sunday it was confirmed that it was a midnight closure. 12:05 is after midnight. But apparently it was okay because the boarding would be completed before midnight. Cutting it close! As it turned out the flight was delayed and did not take off until 1:50 AM, but we were still good to go. So I was on the last flight out of Trinidad until the quarantine is lifted. Not counting cargo flights.

Friday the 20th, Mark came again and I showed him what I had been able to do and also showed him the storage locker containing 7 of the sails, the life raft, jerry cans, cable cutters, docking lines, anchor, and anchor rope among other stuff. I had glanced in it a week earlier and seen nothing of interest. Only a lot of dirt that I didn’t feel up to dealing with. But Mark was interested in what all else was in there and poked around a bit. Thank God he did. He found a bunch of my missing treasures! We pulled out books and letters and jewelry and such and he helped me move it all. He asked about the other wall of the locker and I said no, there’s nothing there. But Dave convinced me to check further and sure enough there was indeed more treasure!

My grandmother wrote a book of poetry and another of family history, published as a limited edition just for family members. I sure didn’t want to lose that! I also have a book of lyrics typed out on a ditto machine (from the look of it) with chord notes written by a young man from Sweden who sailed with us on the Merry Maiden in the Bahamas back in 1970! Also about 20 pounds worth of journal letters from then and later. A whole lot of papers that probably belong in the trash but are so time consuming to cull! And on and on. I had already packed up three suitcases with 50, 50 and 35 pounds worth of stuff before discovering the locker treasure. So then I got out yet another suitcase and filled it up with 50 pounds culled from the locker.

I also kept finding stashes of bottles of all sorts cut down for mixing epoxy. And zip lock bags, and trash bags and shopping bags and scraps of materials – metal, pvc, wood, foam, bubble wrap, you name it. Far more than I had any awareness of. Perhaps 2 cubic meters of it! Some of it found new homes, most went in the trash. The sort of stuff that is so dang useful and hard to come by when needed if not hoarded. I sure don’t want to have to buy a 4 x 8 ft sheet of rigid structural foam when I only need a square ft. I did leave a small collection on board.

Given all the talk about coronavirus being easily caught and transmitted by people who are totally unaware of even having been exposed and therefor staying clear of at risk people until sure (as one can be) of not being infected, we decided that I would just hunker down in Riva (our camper) for two weeks.

In the meantime Dave was managing just fine without me. He even figured out how to waterproof his PICC dressing alone. He reports feeling steadily a bit better. Slight improvement in grip strength. Improved walking though feet still seem numb. He had another bone marrow biopsy on the 18th while I was gone and we got the results yesterday the 24th. Good but not as good as hoped. Count dropped from 0.12 to 0.02 on the edge of an order of magnitude. They had hoped it would be undetectable but no such luck. So he is not yet a candidate for stem cell transplant, and may never be – especially with the virus making them riskier than ever and putting a strain on the hospitals. Instead, he will have another round of Nelarabine this coming Friday (March 27th), Sunday, and Tuesday. Again without me. But if he has a reaction to it and we decide that his need for help (very unlikely) is greater than the risk of me being contagious after having picked up something at the airport then I do have the option of joining him. We had the most recent consult with Dr. Casaday via telehealth which actually worked fairly well. Dave and I experimented with the app before hand but decided that I would just connect to Dave via ordinary speaker phone while he connected via Zoom. During the experiment I got to see him and was thrilled to see eyebrows and mustache, and a little goatee and a sparkle in his eyes. He is both looking better and feeling better. And, his voice is better! Sure hope it lasts a lot longer than they expect. In fact, we are counting on it.

I much appreciated Michael picking me up at the airport as dealing with 3 50lb suitcases and a 35lb er and a 15 lb backpack would have been a challenge. Plus I wanted to get some groceries before going into quarantine.

What have I left out? Oh, Mark suggested 35,000 asking price for Heidi which was pretty much what I expected. But who knows when boat shopping will resume?

I sure do hope that people realize from this snafu of a pandemic that our health care system is no longer acceptable. Nor is it healthy to have so many people unable to take sick time off work. Changes are vital and now is the time. Not having an intelligent healthcare, sick leave, child care system, etc, is costing America a lot more money. Bernie was right, again.


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