I was reminded the other day how precarious the situation sometimes is for people who make their living on a boat.
As I have mentioned in the past, the barge our tug tows around is equipped with living quarters, a galley, showers, and everything the crew of 4 needs.....except a doctor.
The other day they could have used a doctor.
As our tug and their barge were anchored together within sight of the Galveston coast line, we received a call from the barge guys and they reported that Tom ( not his real name ) wasn't doing very good and he wanted to see a doctor.
That's easier said then done when your on a boat in the middle of an anchorage.
The common questions were asked by our Captain, can he walk, is he talking, breathing, did you take his blood pressure, what's his pulse, etc.
The report was he was weak, dizzy, lethargic and his BP was high.
We immediately made plans to have this guy
the same guy who took our crew on a grocery run the week before, come out and pick Tom up and get him to a doctor. Again, easier said than done.
You see, Tom is at least 6'8" tall and easily pushing 350 lbs.
A 350 lb lethargic man is a handful.
First he had to get from the barge to the tug. The following picture gives you some idea of what he had to deal with.
As you can see the barge is quite a bit higher than our tug.
The white stripe down the side of the barge highlights where the footholds are for him to climb down onto the moving tug as we positioned ourselves alongside.
FYI. Those round footholds, or pigeonholes as they're called, are a pain in the butt to navigate when your healthy. So it was quite a feat for our 350 lb dizzy man, to maneuver his big old size 15's into those pigeonholes. All of this was done with what help the rest of us could give him.
By the time he got on board and made his way to the stern he was totally wiped out.
If you have ever called for an ambulance you can relate to the fact that it seems like they'll never get there.
Another tricky maneuver to get Tom from the tug to the bobbing little boat and off they went to the dock.
An ambulance picked him up after and whisked him to the hospital.
He stayed in the hospital for 4 days with a dangerously high blood sugar level. He is now recovering at home.
All I can say is thank God we were not out at sea on a long trip when this happened to him.
The doctors mentioned to him that he probably wouldn't have made it one more day, without seeking medical attention.
Up until that time, we were complaining about being anchored.
It's a good thing we were.
Everything happens for a reason.