My Christmas Story:
Christmas day Debbie and I had dinner with 10 friends; the usual rather rich food and some but not too much wine. The following morning I awoke uncomfortable with stomach pain and figured I just had too much rich food until the afternoon when I started having cramps. Thinking food poisoning though a few calls made it clear that no one else was ill. The cramps got more severe so I took some Lomatil.
I seemed to improve some and the following morning went to the boat to check with work being done there. By the time I got there cramps got worse so I headed to my doctor. I was in enough pain then that he suggested an ambulance to Virginia Mason Hospital. I said Debbie could transport me but he strongly advised quicker was better. This proved correct as by the time we crossed on the ferry the hospital had all vitals and was ready for me. They believed that I was passing a gall stone and gave me a strong pain killer and said they would keep me overnight for “observation.”
Debbie went home as all appeared routine. Several hours later a senior doctor (my team leader) came to give me his dire news. I was septic and in critical condition. I thought he was probably in the wrong room with the wrong patient; but unfortunately no.
He had me call Debbie. I told her not to come into town until morning. I still was in a bit of denial. My heart rate was 115 and my blood pressure dropped to 70/35. They started to pour intravenous fluids and antibiotics in me without success and I later was told they downgraded my condition to Septic Shock. They gave me the dreaded warnings: Should they use extreme measures to revive me should that be necessary…If my heart should stop should they crack my chest. I really felt in my mind that someone clearly was making a mistake here. The grim reaper clearly was given the wrong address.
Within hours my blood pressure started to gradually, very gradually climb. First to 80 then to a more life sustaining 90 over 45-50. By about 5 am a doctor came in with a big smile and said the corner had been turned. Treatment went on for three more days but the heat was off. I am home fully recovered with apparently no long term damage.
So the event probably was not avoidable…just one of those things though it was and will continue to be life changing. I now share a little bit of the lessons learned by many of my friends: the fragility of life and all that means. Do not put off the important for the trivial; and it is all mostly trivial.
Sorry to run on so. Obviously failed in by attempt at “brief.”
I have been living my dream for 20 years. I spend my days aboard the Alaskan Story providing up close and personal access with whales, glaciers, eagles and bears. If this has been your dream than I hope you decide to take your trip to Southeast Alaska this year, Debbie and I would love to have you aboard. We promise to fill your day with joy and your mind with beauty and your stomach with loving from the oven. Let me show you Juneau, Sitka and Americia’s beautiful “last frontier” aboard the Alaskan Story. I am looking forward to each trip, hope to see you.
Captain, the Alaskan Story
Fellow explorer on this journey called life.