A few weeks ago, Nelly had had a fight with a spare anchor which we wanted to store in a more centered and lower position (it means a lot in sailboats, but I’m not sure it’s relevant today with our big trawler). Anyway, she had hurt herself in the process. Ever since, she had complained from time to time that her thumb was hurting, that she could not do everything she was used to, that maybe she should go and see a doctor. I bandaged her hand for a while, but there was no progress in sight. As we are stationed in Bellingham for a few days before leaving for two months, it seemed like a good idea to get an expert advise without waiting any further. Nelly asked our dear friend Carol, a trained nurse, her opinion, she googled the health resources in town, we rented a car and ended up in a walk-in clinic equiped with in-house X-Rays. Conclusion? At least one broken bone, probably a second one, and a nice cast for the next five weeks.

The next day, Nelly mentioned that her other hand had been hurting for a while as well. Now that the right wrist was taken care off, the left one was making its complains heard. We had a brief conference: we were still in town, we had kept the rental car for an extra day, we knew where to go, and Nelly was already in the doctors’ computer system… So we drove to the Clinic. The administrative assistant had a good laugh, and we waited our turn again. A couple of hours later… good news! Nothing is broken this time. But the diagnoses are of a de Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Whatever. In common English, it means that she has to wear a splint made for keeping her thumb still. As much as she can, that is most of the time, including at night. Follow-up in a week minimum, but we should be gone by then. I’ll encourage her to bear the treatment for a few weeks longer.

The consequences are not really bad. We didn’t try it yet, but Nelly should be able to drive the boat without her thumbs: as usual, I’ll be the perfect deck hand. Cooking? We’re mostly sandwiching and BBQing, and for some (bad?) reason, I’m already in charge of the BBQ anyway. I had a doubt about our nights at first, wondering if I’d have to wear a helmet, but no incident so far. My current book will last longer than anticipated, and some of my little projects will have to be postponed for a few weeks. Pump-outs might be a challenge, but showers make for interesting moments. Also, we will have another good reason to have dinner at our favorite restaurant overlooking our dock.

All in all, the weather is fine, the moon shines at night, our spirits are high, and we’re moving next week. Who could ask for more?

On a side note, our experience with the local health system is quite positive. Of course, you have to be well insured, or rich enough, to be accepted in the first place. At each step of the examination, they ask you whether you are willing to pay for the next step. And the cost of a for-profit system seems to us awfully high. But, viewed from the patient’s side, the organisation is apparently quite efficient. The solution of a walk-in clinic with enough competency and equipment to get you treated on the spot has considerable merits, compared to the organization we are used to in France.

Interesting: in five weeks from now, we will need to have an X-Ray made of Nelly’s wrist, to confirm that everything is back to normal. We will be in Canada by then, and we will have a good opportunity to compare yet another health system. Stay tuned!