The Sickness

Well, that escalated quickly!

I am writing this in recovery mode, in an air-conditioned air bnb apartment in Townsville. This is quite a different place to where we expected to be at this point in the trip. The plans were to have been following the winds up Cape York and to be exiting Australia for Indonesia at the end of November, but a mystery illness has taken hold of Bob during the last fortnight.

It started with mild stomach pains, developing into a fever and dehydration at nights while we were at anchor from Cape Bowling Green and then Magnetic Island, Luckily we had planned to spend a few days at the marina in Townsville to resupply and get an engine service. With CD∞ safely in the dock, we saw a local GP on Wednesday , who prescribed paracetamol/ibuprofen for the fevers and took some bloods. Thursday not getting any better, and nothing immediate showing in the tests, went back to the GP and noticed a small rash on my chest.

Friday was crunch day – rash spreading, breakfast coming back up for fish food, time to go in to the hospital. . . . (celebrated my 44th birthday in the hospital!). . . . 7 days later, after testing for everything they could, visits by a dozen doctors and the infections diseases unit, I finally was discharged. Still, the doctors are none the wiser; the best guess is “scrub typhus”, but probably won’t ever know what it was. Needless to say, it wasn’t much fun going through cycles of heating (to 40 deg) and cooling (to 37.5 deg) multiple times a day and having fluid weight gain (via the IV) then losing 8 kg.

Now in slow recovery as I try some gentle exercises and some swimming to build up muscle again. There is also a mental aspect to the recovery that I can’t ignore. The first visit back to the boat felt like it was a completely foreign space; it even smelled different. Next trip back was a bit better, tightening up some dock lines, remove a bird nest from the mainsail, small jobs to get back into the boating lifestyle again. Hope to take her out for a small trip soon and get the sailing bug back again.

Many thanks to Emily for being by my side through the whole ordeal. She would spend days in the hospital and go back to the boat to sleep at nights. Also thanks to the WWSA friends for their help and company for Emily. Also, thanks for the phone calls, get well messages and the balloons and flowers on my birthday.

Update: 27 November

Having taken a week for recovery, I’m pleased to say that I am now feeling much better and back to almost 100%. We are back living aboard CD∞ now in the marina, with a portable air conditioner trying to keep up with cooling us. Has been 35 deg+ for a week. We are looking to take off, heading South, tomorrow, weather permitting.

2 thoughts on “The Sickness

  1. Sounds horrible Bob and would have been a bit scary for Emily too. Glad you’re better now and recovering your sea legs. Oh, and happy birthday.


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