Day+42

Thin.

Weeks have passed I know.  I’m not sure what’s happening some of the time; days pass and I can’t to account for them all.  I’m only half here.  Up days down days.  Fatigued.  That’s the hospital word for whacked out which is how I feel much of the time.  Physically I’m running at half speed and mentally probably less.  I can’t take on much more than the simple things I’m doing and push away external enquiries and stimulation – I’m not fit for socialising or moving out beyond my little world still.

But it’s not all down by any means.  I’m eating well now and my taste is perhaps 50% which makes food a pleasure again.  My weight is creeping up from a low of 58.5kg to now 61.0kg.  And my blood counts are doing very well; the last one on the 15th June showed a genuine neutrophil jump to 2.57 from 0.91 the week before.  Plateletes and white blood cells, haemoglobin all up.  So Dr Kruger said he was happy not to see me for a month, although on Friday the unit at Kings College want to see me in London so there will be more bloods and a progress clinic then.

I’ve been given some antibiotics which I’m supposed to take as a preventative against possible bacterial infection in my lungs.  I took them at the weekend but they made me instantly feel miserable and sick.  The problem is that they attack the good bacteria in my gut and also knock back the blood counts apparently which is why there has been a delay in introducing the drug.  But I’m of a mind to discontinue the course.  I think my body needs a break from such strong chemicals and some more recovery time.  It’s a balancing act…

Meanwhile I continue to work on the boat – still no sailing which will sound crazy but I’m in no rush and am enjoying getting to grips with the neglected corners of Selene’s Dragon.  I’ve been down in the bilges, that deep dark place with black sludgy water reeking of engine oil and thick with the rubber dust from the old shredded fan belts and pulleys (a long standing problem that Mike hopes to have resolved by installing a new set of pulleys and a new alternator – his last improvement before handing SD on).  I’ve been having dirty fun; sucking out 75 litres of bilge gunk and scraping out the debris which included a dropped spanner of mine (the catalyst for this in fact), various lost jubilee clips, cable ties, nuts and bolts, bits of wood and who know s what.  Not what you want sloshing around your bilge pump really…

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Here’s the bilge pump before…

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and after…

 

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One thing led to another and in order to do a proper job I decided to remove the water tanks to give better access to the bilges and engine bay and check on the keel bolts hidden beneath them.  I finally decided to cut out the original port side tank which has been leaking and was unuseable – it wouldn’t come up from under the floor without major destruction to the galley units and in any case was too big to get out of the companionway hatch for repair.  I don’t like things like that – access and maintenance is the key.

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So I’ve been having fun and am now reinstalling the smaller newer tank having made a timber subframe for it and although I might eventually get a new tank made to replace the one I’ve cut out by delaying that I can retain access to the bilges below which is where I may need to add more lead ballast to sort out the boat’s trim problem, and there’s room to carry 200 litres of extra water in jerry cans if needs be – pretty much the equivalent of the removed tank.

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There’s more of course; details and fixings and tidyings – I won’t go on but this is my little world at the moment.  I manage half a day at a time and I think the activity is doing me a lot of good, mentally and physically.

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Finally I’ve just had a second delightful early morning Tai Chi session on Battery Beach, seeing the sun rise with the town still sleeping – just me and the calm sea and small wavelet sounds and sea birds, the odd cormorant for company and swallows overhead and yesterday as I concentrated on my moving I became aware of a snuffling and gentle blowing and there 10ft from the waters edge was a small black seal looking at me and after moving from side to side slowly swaying off into the deep.

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