As Stel and I completed our biking adventure to Traverse City and returned to Sutton’s Bay, it started to rain and continued to drizzle as we returned the bikes to the rental shop. We hiked back to the municipal marina where we had left our dinghy for the day and then took the wet ride back to the middle of the bay where we had anchored Estrellita. We were beat, but Stel dropped down into the galley and whipped up some fantastic pasta and scallops for dinner. We toasted our great day and the accomplishment of our 35 mile bike journey!
All was well until about 10pm, when I started to experience some abdominal cramping that came to me in waves of increasing intensity. Stretching myself out, I hoped for relief, but the pain continued to get worse through the evening. By one in the morning, I was sufficiently humbled and knew I needed help so Stel called 911 and gave them our location. It didn’t take 3 minutes before the nearby marina was covered with flashing and search lights trying to get a fix on our anchorage location in the bay. It was going to be faster for us to get to them rather than them coming to us, so Stel immediately stepped out onto the rainy deck to lower the dinghy back into the water and then let EMS know that we were on the way. I literally dropped myself into the dinghy and we slowly motored ourselves back to the marina as search lights kept an eye on our progress. There was an ambulance on the boat launch ramp and they were able to load me up and get me a temporary relief injection within 20 minutes. Back to Traverse City we went to the nearest hospital. But on the way I wondered….what would we have done if we had been anchored out in the remote wilderness of Canada’s North Channel?
To make a very long story shorter, I spent a week in Munson Medical Center where I received first class treatment while recovering from an acute small intestine blockage. As many of us at our age know, those kind of problems are not only painful, but are dangerous if not resolved quickly. After my second day in the hospital, my surgeon was preparing me for the likelihood of exploratory and corrective surgery. By Friday afternoon we were at a point where we had to make a decision to have the surgery that evening, or endure through the weekend until the surgeon and operating room were available again on Monday afternoon.
As Christians, Stel and I are confident in God’s power and His involvement in every detail of our lives. We know that we are the beneficiaries of a relationship with a loving heavenly Father who wants what’s best for us. We look to HIm as our source of strength, we seek His wisdom when making decisions and we trust in His sovereignty in all things. We asked the surgeon for a few minutes to pray about the surgery and then spent some time asking God for guidance and ultimately his healing hand. Within minutes we both felt confident in telling the surgeon that we wanted to wait until Monday, trusting that there was a strong possibility my body could be healed without surgery.
It was a very long weekend, especially after 6 days with that NG tube through my nose and nothing to eat but ice chips. Stel walked me up and down the halls continuously, saw to it that I was properly hydrated, and the nurses pumped me with a regular dose of good ol’ mineral oil to get things moving. End result….the doc was very surprised to find me clear of obstruction and pain free on Monday morning. Thank God for delivering us from the need for surgery!! It might have been a trip ender.
Stel and I were overwhelmed by the support we received over the last 10 days! We want to thank friends and family back home for their calls and prayers. We want to especially thank our fellow Loopers who went out of their way to help and encourage Stel and me with visits, transportation, calls and willingness to handle the logistics of moving the Estrellita from Sutton’s Bay to Traverse City. Special thanks to Captains John Locke and Dick Radlinski for moving the boat for us. Thanks to Jim Sprow (Sanctuary), Ken & Terry (Roundabout) and Dick & Phyllis (Wye Tug) for their special visits. Now 10 days following that eventful night, we are thankful to be currently back on the water and slowly making our way down the east side of Lake Michigan toward Chicago.