I have to admit that I….. have….. had….. work…… done!
It’s hard to hide in fact. I said to the plastic surgeon at A Coruna hospital that really I have had enough of the Tom Cruise look and I want a blend of Clint Eastwood, George Clooney and Harrison Ford. I think she’s done a good job so far despite the fact that her makeover subject was semi-drowned and the free work was a complete surprise. When i came out of surgery and the tannoy started calling for Marcela I thought ‘hang on is that me?’. I mean you hear of patient notes being mixed up on a regular basis. But seriously it was an excellent hospital.
The surgeon said I see that your inside lip is in communication with the outside. You have sharp teeth. That means I can see daylight through the side of your face I believe. And the anaesthetic sure goes ooh aaah as it is squirted into various areas of the lower lip before the stitching starts. Four on the outside and two on the inside. She said you only need two or three. But as the fourth was completed she said we plastic surgeons always lie. We say two or three but could be five or ten.
Their tracking systems were good though. I was bar coded with a band and although I can’t speak Gallician one look at the number and they knew what was going on. How did I get into the position of waiting 5 hours for the plastic surgeon following a referral from the Red Cross? I was picked out of the sea by a German yachtsman who asked me do you want some help? Initially, coughing up water, I said ‘no’ but then I realised that there was no easy way out. As I stood on the pontoon Sophie said you need to go to hospital. Touching my face there was blood everywhere to which she said ‘uuuugh!’. I didn’t feel a thing other than the impact my chin took on the way in. Climbing on deck, stripping off my wet clothes, I went below and looked in the mirror. Oh. Yes I need to go to hospital. A rather open three way laceration of the chin. Mmmm better go now.
A minute earlier I had decided to use my twin suction cup handle, rated at 45 kg and used regularly, to precisely stop myself losing balance and ending up in the sea as I cleaned along the waterline. So I was scrubbing the remnants of St Martin Lagoon off the white stripe when I got up putting a load on the handle. What then happen is a mystery except the fact that it gave way, I nose dived heavily bouncing chin first on the side of the pontoon and before I knew I had hit the deck I was under water. And not even remotely prepared to be submerged let alone in the narrow gap between boat and pontoon. I was pleased to surface in the same gap coughing and spluttering wondering where I was.
It’s a worrying place to be. I always remember the guy in Las Palmas who was hit by ferry wake on his 50ft boat, rolled over the side, and was then promptly squashed by his own boat. At least the water was flat and the wind light.
Making my way under the fenders to the front I found the hand of a german passer by and that takes us back to the ‘great day’ above. Lesson of the day; take your E111 card and passport when you go to hospital. It’s the first thing they ask for. Another interesting point; our young neighbour who was working on deck about 20 feet away didn’t hear a thing.
What happened? As a survivor I had to return to the scene. I found that the curvature of the hull had probably meant that full suction had not been achieved as I had not held the handle firm against the hull before depressing the levers. Prior to this I had only used it on a flat surface where full suction was a cinch. Life throwing you a curved hull I think they call it. Ironic really; I bought the suction tool primarily to prevent myself over-reaching, losing my balance and rolling into the water when working on the hull yet it enabled all that and more.