July 28  See that flashing Eiffel Tower to your right?  Well, right, how could you miss it?  It's the icon for Bloglovin'.  I've been momentarily limited to boat bound, sedentary activities due to this bum ankle and thought it was a good time to organize all my favorite blogs.  Bloglovin' does that.  I haven't gotten it all figured out yet, but it's worth looking into if you're a blog reader, blog writer, and you like to keep your computer neat and organized. I'll most likely replace the flashing tower with a more subtle icon, but for now: Check it out

 

The ankle is healing slowly.  Every day is a bit better, but this slow down in activity is a frustrating bother. Thank goodnes for the internet, a wonderful husband who has been doing both of our chores, friends that stop by for conversation and a game of dominoes, and beautiful sunsets. 

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Sharon (Thursday, 31 July 2014 05:46)

    Flashing Eiffel Tower gif is gone.

SAMs
SAMs

July 22nd   GOING TO THE HOSPITAL IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY

 

Get me talking about health care in the United States and eventually you’ll hear me proclaim, “Nope, only way you’ll get me to see a doctor is if I’m bleeding from my eyeballs AND bones are protruding from my flesh. “  Even then I’ll be kicking and screaming, not from pain but the idea of having to see any medical professional.  Be prepared to shoot me with a rifle used to sedate bears in the wild because that’s the only way I’d enter an ambulance in the US.

 

Nothing against doctors personally, but let’s be honest, the health care system is messed up in the US.  So, I figure the system is considered big business and like any business I don’t like (yeah… Walmart), I don’t frequent it.  Good old fashioned boycott.  Thankfully, I’ve been healthy since I started my boycott.  I guess it wouldn’t work if I weren’t.  My experience with the US medical system was extensive pre-boycott. I’ve got the scalpel scars to prove that I should have had frequent flier miles or whatever equivalent the business of healthcare should come up with. Since it’s business and not out to really care for the sick and injured or GOD Forbid, prevent illness (that'd cut into the profit margin) I have some ideas for the US medical business to increase their profits even more:  Put a screw in your foot and get a free, pretty black boot to hobble around on as a bonus.  Maybe a punch card like the coffee shops offer: One punch per surgical procedure, two punches for removal of major organs, 10th one free.  Maybe I shouldn’t be giving hospital administrators ideas, but I really don’t like the idea that when I go in for removal of cancer from my face, that there’s a hidden surcharge for the dermatologist’s advertising costs.  Waiting in a doctor’s office for hours after the scheduled appointment because the doctor has to see a set quota of patients a day-like airlines overbooking-so that he can bill insurance companies that will refuse to cover the appointment just because they can the first go around makes me ponder why oh why.  Oh, and I don’t like being poked and prodded anymore.  Not that I appreciated it much before, but people (women) tend to lose their sense of dignity after going through the messiness of childbirth.  I decided to take mine back. 

 

I carry on with my life and do dangerous things-well not so much dangerous, but activities that may carry a slight risk to my overall health.  When I decided to start running in hiking boots on a hash , I didn’t expect to slip on wet leaves, cascade down a slope, land on a rock and hear my ankle snap as it twisted.  But the snap was quite impressive and I hoped others had heard the imposing sound. My first words even after the pain started shooting up my leg were, “Damn, Did you hear THAT snap!??!!”  I know, I know, an expected expletive should have been uttered, but that didn’t come until I continued on the hike through a dry, slippery rock riverbed.  Jim finally cajoled me into quitting the hash when we spied a road from the “trail”.  At this point, walking was no longer possible without excruciating pain and I had to admit defeat.  I gave up, got some advice from medical students behind us, hitched a ride from a local, and returned to the base camp for the hike.  They wrapped my ankle, gave me a huge bag of ice and a beer.  I’d be fine, I said.  The medical students said not to take off my shoe.  So I didn’t until around one in the morning when we somehow managed to get me back onto the boat.  I won’t go into that scene or how I crawled on the floor in a public restroom to use the toilet.  Yeah, so much for dignity.

 

Anyway, waking up to a grapefruit sized swelling of my left ankle and researching on the internet what that meant had me realizing that if we were to ever know what was happening under that swollen skin we would need to seek out an x-ray machine.  Since doctors are the keepers of x-ray machines I had to succumb to the idea that my boycott was now over or never walk again. (Pain can cause one to be dramatic.  Humor me.)

 

There are two hospitals on the island of Grenada.  One is public, the other private.  It was recommended that we use the private SAMs (St. Augustine Medical Center).  After a day of resisting the idea of a medical facility visit and elevating the affected area, icing, resting, compressing and taking pain killers, the swelling did go down.  However, the pain didn’t follow the decrease in swelling.  A trip to SAMs became part of our Monday agenda. I didn’t argue.  In fact, I suggested it.  If I had continued to be stubborn, Jim wouldn’t bother shooting me with a tranquilizer gun and forcing me to go.  He knows better so he waited for me to make the call.

 

This is how it works in Grenada.  A phone call is made to the hospital.  They didn’t give us an appointment, but said to try and get to the hospital before 11 am.  We could take bus #1 and switch bus #4 and get delivered to the area of the hospital.  My foot shook in pain at the idea of having to walk.  We’re on anchor in the bay. Managing a ride in the dinghy and hopping up the dock was enough to make me shudder. We called Shade Man (he’s a cruiser’s lifeline for transportation).  He picked us up at the marina in his van and took us directly to the hospital for $80 EC.

 

NOTE:  The East Caribbean dollar is the currency of: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and Montserrat. It is pegged to the US dollar at US$1 = EC$2.67.

 

We arrived at the hospital at 9:27.  We were greeted, filled out ONE page of paperwork, put in a room, had my vitals taken by a very nice nurse and met the doctor by 9:45.  The doctor was genial, competent and fairly intuitive when he asked, “What did you do to yourself?” and when I explained my tumble he interjected, “And you kept going on, right?”  Am I really that transparent?  I was in the x-ray room soon after.  The x-ray tech SHOWED me the digital picture of my bones.  He showed me what he was looking for in broken bones, he TOLD me that he saw nothing broken.  He TALKED to me!  Imagine that.  This is something that I have NEVER experienced in any US hospital.  The x-ray images are always a huge secret until you sit in a waiting room for an hour or more and then the doctor gives his determination. Like some sort of reality show big reveal, in the US you’re forced to wait, sweat it out, and get the news from the doctor and only the doctor.  I prefer the Grenadian system.

 

So, by 10:00, I was wheeled back into the examination room and the doctor talked to me. He gave me a prescription that was filled at the hospital and we were calling Shade Man by 10 minutes after 10 to pick us up.  We were back at the marina for an early lunch to celebrate that I had broken no bones!

 

So the breakdown of the cost in Eastern Caribbean Currency:                       

 

            Doctor Fee                        $ 80

            X-rays                              $100

            Bandage                           $5.30

            Medication                        $40.50

            Tax                                  $ 6.87

 

Total Cost:      $232.67           

 

In US Dollars that’s a cost of $86.17.  The average cost of an emergency room visit in the US for a sprained ankle is $1,233 (according to a Washington Post article from March 2013 and repeated by many other sources:  Google it), but can be as high as $20,000.  Make your own conclusions on this mess in the US.  But for myself, I’ll continue my boycott of the US Medical Big Business.  

 

By the way, Jim's experience with a Canadian Emergency Room a few years ago was very similar and eye opening for us.  So, go ahead and comment.  Maybe we can fix what ails the US Health Care disaster-oh nevermind, it's been tried.  Too much money to be made by insurance companies to ever make it actually work for people who need it.

         

 

           

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Comments: 17
  • #1

    walkerglad@gmail.com (Tuesday, 22 July 2014 13:35)

    There were times I wanted to laugh but I refrained so sad to have you hurt but you still have your sense of humor

  • #2

    Sharon (Tuesday, 22 July 2014 17:31)

    It's just a sprained ankle. It will heal in time. Very thankful that affordable medical care is available.

  • #3

    Dave (Thursday, 24 July 2014 15:30)

    It is great to see a place where the free market pay for service health system is in place. In the U.S. you would be cost shifted against to pay for all the people who pay little or nothing for their health care. I noticed they did not give you every known test to prevent from being sued. Good
    choice on private hospital not the public one.

  • #4

    Sharon (Friday, 25 July 2014 13:51)

    Dave, are you basically saying that if we take the people that can't afford health insurance or to pay out of pocket out of the equation (thus they don't receive medical attention), then our costs would be lower? This just doesn't sit well with me. Yes, I did go to a private hospital and because the fee was so low I won't even bother submitting to our insurance company. Yes, they were efficient and without pretending they were on an episode of House and running every medical test known to man. But, there must be a better way of lowering health care costs in the US without denying people medical care.

  • #5

    Sharon (Friday, 25 July 2014 14:17)

    Wanted to add, I am not being snide or even a bleeding heart liberal. Sometimes I need to have things explained to me like I'm 5, but it seems to me that the original intention of the Affordable Care Act was to lower costs by making sure everyone had insurance. What seemed simple at the time and economically feasible got muddled in insurance company power/money grabs. Correct me if I'm wrong and way out of touch with reality.

  • #6

    Nautilus, Michele and Randy (Saturday, 26 July 2014 14:03)

    Love your blog and loved meeting you guys!!!!
    Please keep in touch and hope the ankle heals quickly. We will return to Grenada in October and will look for you.

  • #7

    Sharon (Sunday, 27 July 2014 04:54)

    We'll be looking for you in October, Michele and Randy!

  • #8

    Dave (Tuesday, 29 July 2014 15:59)

    Obama care was not designed to lower costs. It was a stepping stone to socialized medicine. 80 percent of those enrolled receive a subsidy from their neighbors. It is a sad fact that so many of us have had our insurance cancelled that fewer people have insurance than before. Free market medical care with the purchasers having a stake in what they purchase will fix the problem.

  • #9

    Dave (Tuesday, 29 July 2014 16:12)

    The free will of charity should be the mainstay of providing care for those that can not afford it. Health care is not a right. No one has a right to compel another to provide for them against their will. That would be a form of slavery.
    It is not that I have a problem with socialism.......just
    please do not include me against my will.

  • #10

    Sharon (Tuesday, 29 July 2014 19:26)

    Ahh, there's the rub. In my thought process, health care IS a right. How's that charity thing working out in the US? Not so well: The United States may be one of the richest countries in the world, but has a very high rate of infant mortality compared to other wealthy countries. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) consistently finds the U.S. near the bottom of its list of 34-member countries on this measure.
    The U.S. infant mortality rate is well above the OECD average of four deaths per 1,000.
    And as far as "compelling another to provide for them against their will"...That's just silly, regurgitation of extremism talk radio. When I pay for health insurance I am assured that some of my money is going to pay for other people's care. Isn't that how insurance works? That's not "slavery". I certainly wouldn't want to depend on Charity for my health care.

  • #11

    Sharon (Wednesday, 30 July 2014 03:41)

    Didn't mean to get snippy and use the word "silly", but please, fact check before using talking points:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2014/01/06/the-gop-claim-that-more-americans-have-lost-insurance-than-gained-it-under-obamacare/

  • #12

    Dave (Wednesday, 30 July 2014 10:18)

    Insurance is a very valuable service that mitigates risk and has been around for thousands of years. The point you miss is that purchasing the type and amount of insurance is a voluntary choice never by force. You buy insurance hoping to never collect You exchange a small amount of money in return you collect a large amount of money to cover a catastrophic event. Insurance should never be used for on going expenses (birth control etc.)
    That's how insurance works. IBM, Walgreens,Sears, Time Warner, Darden and many others have canceled their health plans due to the tenants of Obama Care.

  • #13

    Dave (Wednesday, 30 July 2014 10:33)

    The ideals of freedom and the right to private property are not silly. They are what this country was founded on.
    Extremism is no vice in defense of liberty and apathy in the face of tyranny is no virtue.

  • #14

    Sharon (Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:40)

    We'll agree to disagree, Dave. But my last thoughts on the matter: As a society, we need to quit blaming people who are poor for all the woes of society. To expect people to rely on charity for health care is insulting when there are insurance companies and pharmaceutical executives raking in millions. Doctors shouldn't have to be businessmen, Health Care should not be for profit, and health care should be affordable and accessible.

  • #15

    Sharon (Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:48)

    Oh, I saw what you did there on the IBM, Walgreens "fact". Walgreen Co. (WAG) and another 17 large employers are turning to a new concept of health benefits via private online marketplaces known as exchanges. The employees aren't losing their health benefits.

  • #16

    Dave (Wednesday, 30 July 2014 18:33)

    In closing, I trust the kindness and honesty of the individual
    over the loss of liberty and property to the collective.
    Let history be our guide.
    After all we are only here for so long. I think the individual
    should be the one to decide which of the worlds ills he chooses to fix with the assets that took him a life time to acquire. You can not take it with you unless you are King Tut. But it did not work out for him in the end.

  • #17

    Bob (Monday, 04 August 2014 08:43)

    Sharon,
    I think Dave is right. If someone or the government puts a gun to my head and takes my money and gives to my neighbor, that's theft and so, so wrong.
    Charity should start with one's family, then church, etc. up to the state government but never, ever the U.S. government. It is not in their charter, job description (or what ever you call it). Even if it were, the U.S. government is simply too big to micro-manage everyone's lives.
    It seems like you are a compassionate person and ready to give people a pass because they are "The Poor", but poor does not equal a free ride. We are all poor to a degree, I suspect you have more money than I do and I am sure that you yacht is bigger than my boat.
    I would suggest that when you promote giving away people's money because of your honest compassion you ponder this: Too much compassion can and will sink the life boat. Then, alas, we all will be 'The Poor'.

Just one of the beautiful views
Just one of the beautiful views

July 16 I can’t imagine coming to Grenada, sticking toes in the sand, soaking up the sun and leaving and saying “I’ve been to Grenada”.  There is so much here to experience than just the beautiful beaches.  When you need to find a grocery store, get to know the taxi drivers, know the routes to the bank and where to get the best pizza, can name at least three local bands and have a great relationship with your neighbors, I’m pretty much sure you can say you have defined the place as “home”. Grenada is “home”.

 

Participating in the local Hash House Harrier’s organized hashes has had us trekking through some remote areas of the island and partaking in some of the community that includes cruisers, locals, and med students.  We’ve not only seen some beautiful sites on the hashes and gotten a nice, sweaty workout, but we’ve met some fascinating people from all over the world and had a lot of fun. Along with hashing, we've also been getting our cultural, environmental, and educational share of Grenada.  Read on:

The Oil Down Pot
The Oil Down Pot

Cuddy, one of the famous among cruisers taxi drivers, invited us to join in his neighborhood’s Oil Down.  An Oil Down is the Grenadian national food, but getting invited to participate in an Oil Down means that there will be lots of fun and lively conversation and not just food to prepare and eat.  The food, though, is the central part of the party.  A great amount of bread fruit, spices, salted fish, and many other vegetables native to Grenada are peeled, sliced, diced and prepared to put in the pot.  Coconut provides the “Oil” portion of the Oil Down.

 Our friends onboard s/v Nautilus brought bubbles for the children and we all brought a dessert to share.  My chocolate chip cookie contribution may have been pilfered by the children because I didn’t see them once all the sweets were offered.  That’s okay, because there was plenty to share! 

Click on picture for video
Click on picture for video

We also received a bit of a history lesson on the meaning behind the Jab Jab and the upcoming events to take place at Carnival. (Video Above) 

 

 

From The Island Mix Website, here is a fantastic explanation from member, Manishwaters:

 

Before emancipation, slaves were forbidden to participate in Carnival, but this never stopped their backyard mas. After the end of slavery, gangs of recently liberated slaves, covered in black grease, molasses, or varnish, took to the streets, and rejoiced in their freedom. Scantily dressed, and sometimes with chains and padlocks around their legs, the former slaves attempted to offend polite society, which they blamed for decades of suffering. Since the Carnival was prettified and commercialized in the late 20th century, these traditional masqueraders have became less visible, their distinctive dances, speeches, and rituals are disappearing.

 

 

“The jab molassie — the name means “molasses devil” in French patois — is one of the oldest Carnival characters, possibly dating back to the days of slavery. He represents the ghost of a slave who met his death by falling into a vat of boiling molasses in a sugar factory. The story has changed from the old Jab-Molassi to the new, more familiar devil-like character. The jab jab — patois for “double devil” — has a similar name to the jab molassie, but a different history. The Jab Jab occupies a space between the worlds of life and death. The difference among various forms of devil mas were once distinct but have become blurred over time."

 

 

 

 

 

We’re taking a day of rest today because, quite frankly, we’re tired.  We went on a two tank dive yesterday with ScubaTech.  We dove on the shipwreck Veronica and then saw some amazingly bright coral on the reef that they have named Purple Rain.  They were both beautiful dives, although ship wrecks tend to creep me out a little.  This ship was abandoned, though, and not part of some terrible misfortune of death and destruction.  It has created a living environment for many coral and sea life.

After returning from the dives and cleaning up our gear, we did the heavy lifting of getting our new batteries on board.  Actually,
I didn’t do much of the lifting.  What’s wonderful about the cruising community is that there is always a helping hand giving generous aid.  Jim and Randy, onboard s/v Nautilus, did the grunt work.  Jim installed the new batteries and was a sweaty mess.  He managed to clean up in time for our trip to the northern part of the island for turtle watching.

Leatherback Hatchling Headed to the Sea
Leatherback Hatchling Headed to the Sea

 

Turtle Watching: Jim and I agreed that this was one of the most fascinating experiences we have been witness to.  The huge leatherback turtles are amazing species.  We watched one lay her eggs and painstakingly camouflage the nest to protect it from predators then slowly make her way back into the surf and disappear into the ocean.  Meanwhile, another research volunteer called us over several feet where hatchlings had emerged from their nest and were making their way to the sea.  It was quite the experience.

 

 

Today, we’re catching up on some chores, relaxing and with no plans for the day. If you’re wondering why we’ve been up to so much:  All this activity has been part of my 50th birthday celebration.  I’m not sure if I’m supposed to feel different because I’m now half a century old/young, but I’ll contemplate that today and have a slice of the key lime pie I made this morning, go for a swim or two and get back to you on what this 50 thing means.  I’ve never been good at numbers, though, so don’t expect much.

 

I’ll leave you with this:  The steel drum band that was playing while we ate my birthday dinner here at Prickly Bay.

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Comments: 5
  • #1

    Sabrina (Thursday, 17 July 2014 09:08)

    It looks like you two are have a great time exploring Grenada. New batteries for your bday - wow, big stuff. hee hee. Wish we were there.

  • #2

    Kathleen (Thursday, 17 July 2014 09:35)

    Beautiful. Are those diving pictures taken with your new camera? Stunning.

  • #3

    Sharon (Thursday, 17 July 2014 18:03)

    Sabrina and Tom, Come HOME!! We miss you! Thank you, Kathleen, and yes, the video was taken with the new Go-Pro!

  • #4

    Steve Segall (Monday, 21 July 2014 20:08)

    Thanks for the lesson in Granadian culture Sharon and a
    belated happy birthday.

  • #5

    Sharon (Tuesday, 22 July 2014 08:02)

    Thank you, Steve!

July 7  Back when we were researching our trip south I had come across some YouTube videos of  dinghy raft ups where local musicians performed concerts in the middle of a bay.  At times, during all the fact finding and reading blogs and watching videos and looking at maps, I thought that there was no way we’d ever get there and experience such things as dinghy raft ups.  Well, “There” is now  “Here”  and our new reality and we experienced our first dinghy raft up concert yesterday afternoon.  The musicians were really good.  I spoke to a local couple who were on the barge watching the concert with us and asked them about music programs in the schools on Grenada.  Music is such a huge part of the culture here, but they told me that everything that is learned musically is self-taught and school music programs are nonexistent.  The young musicians spoke to Jim and the drummer told him that it was his life long vision to perform in a band.   Kudos to them and all their hard work and being self taught.  Impressive young men, for sure.  It can’t be easy to perform on a stage that is actually a barge rolling in a bay of waves.  It was quite ironic when they did their cover of “Don’t Rock the Boat Baby”.

 

Jim and I keep putting off the need to get provisions.  We’ll have to take a bus ride with our bags and haul them back in the dinghy in the heat.  I figure that we have rice, beans, a few frozen veggies and pasta along with a couple of cans of sardines-we’re good.  Jim just doesn’t figure the goodness in that logic. I know that he can’t tolerate a diet without some red meat, though, for very long.  Tomorrow will be provisioning day.  Tomorrow is Tuesday and I’m pretty sure Tuesday is the day the fruit and vegetable man has goods to sell from his farm.  He sets up a stand along side the road that is on our route to the Cash and Carry where we can stock up on staples.  For now, Jim is considering a trip to the Tiki Hut for pizza rather than watching me conjure some strange meal out of what’s available.  I’ll go for that.  There’s really no excuse for not having adequate stores of food on the boat, though.  We can obtain pretty much everything we need here in Grenada.

 

 

Click on Pic for a sample of the music
Click on Pic for a sample of the music

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Steve Segall (Sunday, 13 July 2014 18:14)

    Hi to the adventurous Walker-Johnsons. Frankly I got a little
    queasy watching the dinghy concert.
    Let me close with this: Jim,get a haircut!
    Your Old Friend
    Steve

  • #2

    Sharon (Wednesday, 16 July 2014 12:29)

    Ha! Steve, maybe you shouldn't attend a dinghy concert! It was quite rolly in the bay. I'll pass on your grooming tips to Jim. Pretty sure he won't heed them though. He's a rebel.

July 5 Happy Canada Day and Happy 4th of July! We’re back floating and on anchor in Prickly Bay.  Everything that needed to be done on s/v Somewhere was completed in a whirlwind five days in the boatyard at Spice Island Marine.  The temperatures in the boat climbed to a grueling 96 degrees.  The heat and humidity on the outside of the boat was no relief.  The hottest part of the day is between noon and 4.  Without the breezes we catch when on anchor and with the blazing Grenadian sun beating down on us, no time of day is really all that comfortable when you’re sitting on jack stands.

 

We hired the yard to do the sanding and painting of the bottom. The crew at Spice Island Marine did an amazing job and much faster than we could have done it. 

 

The underside wasn’t as bad with barnacles and sea growth as it appeared to be when we looked at it underwater and it all came off easily with a good power wash.  We try to keep up with diving under the boat to keep it clean, but the critters in these warm waters seem to grow faster.

 

Jim and I did all the polishing of the stainless and waxing of the hull ourselves.  We tried to get an early start-5:30 am start, to get the work done during the coolest part of the day.  We replaced the zincs, the cutlass bearing in the prop, and fixed all sorts of little odds and ends that needed attention.  We had a bow protector fabricated to prevent further anchor snubber chafe and we also are having a dinghy motor hoist made.  Nick, the owner of Technick, ran out of time to get the hoist installed, though.  So we’ll need to come back to a pier for the welding and installation.

 

Our 4th of July week was spent making our home happy again.  We plan on sailing today to another anchorage to change our scenery and to see how fast Somewhere flies now that she doesn’t have the blooming garden of sea growth weighing her down.  The cats are happy that we can run the air conditioning again and we are happy to be able to turn the freezer and frig back on.  Most of all, we’re now able to dive in the water for a quick cool down when the heat starts baking us.  The chores are all worth it.  We may have missed the fireworks back home, but we're celebrating!