“The First Cut is the Deepest”

-Cat Stevens

Ren suffered the biggest injury yet.  A gaping, bleeding head wound.  The injury happened as we were day sailing from Rodriguez Key south to Marathon Island.  The wind was hard on our backs.  To avoid the constant bouncing of a boat sailing downwind we decided to go a bit harder into the wind.  This put our sail position more east of south.  In order to get back in line with Marathon we would have to jibe back around and head west.  The dreaded jibe!

As our skills are improving and we begin to work with a bit more synergy we also gain confidence.  The jibe is no longer a problem for the occupants of Nila Girl.  One thing that is a problem…the cleat that grabs the mainsheet and keeps it tight.  Yep, that one, slipped, causing the mainsheet to spool out and the boom to crash over early during our jibe.

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Ren took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’…thankfully!

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I love you hogfish.

It was the mainsheet and smacked Ren on the head and pulled him over, slamming his head into the lid of our port side cockpit locker.  The lid was open for two reasons,

A. to dry the cockpit locker out 

B. to give Ren’s head something to slam in to. 

I heard a yelp and looked back to see Ren laying (meaning crumpled up in the small space behind the Captain’s chair) on the cockpit floor.  He was holding his head and didn’t say a word.  This scared me.  People who are minimally hurt cry or yell or cuss.  People who are really hurt just sit there, shocked, waiting for a limb to fall off.  He was a bit shocked.  I freaked!  I should have prefaced that last statement with this, I pride myself on my ability to stay cool under pressure.  Maybe it’s a function of training for freediving, maintaining low heart rates, or maybe it’s something I do consciously but either way, the rules did not apply to this situation.  We’re in the middle of a jibe, the captain is lying on the cockpit floor staring at me and I am staring straight ahead, at nothing.

Since I’m not here to disappoint the audience, or let Ren bleed out, I jumped into action.  I raced down the companionway into the v-berth and yanked open one of the lockers underneath the berth.  This locker contains the exceptionally well equipped first aid kit my parents put together for us.  As Mom is a nurse and Dad is a retired Naval Corpsman they managed to really hook us up.  Our friends Kerry and Steve also contributed to the kit as they are a doctor and PA, respectively.  Thanks everyone for the wonderful kit!  So, the kit is stuck in the locker between a wall and the dutch oven.  In my panicked state I did not think to simply move the dutch oven out of the way, lift up on the emergency kit and pull it out of the locker.  Oh hell no!  I YANKED and  YANKED and YANKED, trying to pull the damn thing through the wall, which never happened!  I slowed down for two seconds, pulled the dutch oven out, lifted up on the emergency kit, and lifted it out of the locker.  Then went back to panicking.

After loads of sterile gauze we finally got the  gushing blood to subside.  I thought about using the Quickclot Kerry gave us but decided against it and she (and Mom) advised against using it for anything short of a shark attack (which, I decided, this was not).  So with pressure and bandaging, the bleeding subsided.  He was left with the bandage job you see above.

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Stitches or no stitches? We opted for no stitches and things ended up working out just fine.

Hours later (and not a stitch later, which I’m sure he really needed).  Ren decided his head was miraculously healed.  I’m not so sure he realized the intensity of the wound since he never saw the slice in his head.  With his healed up head, it was diving time.  Down he went, up he came and the blood started rushing again.  There was no time to tend to a head would though, there was dinner to catch (captain’s orders I assure you) so I jumped in and speared us a Florida sized hog fish.  Nice by Florida standards I assure you.  Leaving Ren with a gushing head didn’t leave me in the water at ease.  I rushed the job, got the fish then jumped back on board to assist.  This time, using a towel, we stopped the bleeding and limped in to Marathon. 

Once anchored in Marathon we SLOWLY unwrapped the wound, taking care not to peel the clot out of Ren’s head.  We got the wound unwrapped and tended to the cut properly.  Cleaning it up and rewrapping in nice clean bandaging.  Once again, we have managed to tempt fate then spit in his face.  You know what they say though, “Trick me once, shame on me, etc”  We’ll be a bit more careful from now on I suppose.