Friends and family, it is while wearing one of those creepy drama masks that is halfway smiling and halfway crying that Mel announces this: Marvin is under contract! This means that the final sale is imminent at the end of this month, pending a successful survey and sea trial. Marvin may end up going to a liveaboard couple that lost their Leopard to Irma down in the Keys, and he couldn’t be happier to help more Leopard devotees continue on with their dreams!
This means insurance companies are indeed paying out, by the way.
To continue Mel’s post-cruising wrap-up, here is more medical advice for cruisers:
Antibiotics: Yes, Mel does think it is a good idea to have what we call a “broad-spectrum antibiotic” aboard. However, possession of antibiotics comes with responsibility. Antibiotic resistance is NOT media scare-tactics, it is a VERY REAL and dangerous problem. This means that you do not take antibiotics unless you have had a sinus or throat infection for at least 10 days, or non-bloody diarrhea for at least 2 weeks. When you start a course, you finish it, which usually means at least five days of therapy (this varies per ailment). Mel also recommends that the first prescription of antibiotic pills comes from a real doctor so that you can go over these issues and not from a friend who bought it straight from a pharmacy in Central or South America. With this said, Mel would recommend that this antibiotic NOT BE CIPROFLOXACIN, OR “CIPRO”. One reason – you can’t give it to kids, because it can have serious side effects. Their ankles might explode. Hell, your ankles might explode. Another, Cipro is now on the World Health Organization’s list of antibiotics to preserve as a resource given growing global resistance, and the FDA wants it to be second-line therapy given its side effect profile. Finally, ciprofloxacin is generally no good for sinus or chest infections, and all you will do is encourage resistance. Drops are fine for ear infections, though. Instead, I recommend discussing with your doctor the pros and cons of Bactrim (a sulfa drug) or Azithromycin. Both have different side effect profiles (possible sun sensitivity with Bactrim, for example), drug interactions, drug resistance profiles, and schedules, but both could work for a variety of ailments. Note that the Burnetts only needed antibiotics twice in two years.
The “stitch kit”: If you are bold enough to get a “stitch kit”, and you have a family, learn how to use it BEFORE you need it! Don’t plan on everyone being all macho. Mel has no idea how one would go about doing this, but thinking, “I’m a sailor, I know knots, how hard can it be?” is not appropriate here. She didn’t plan on being the person to need stitches, and when the time came, there was no way she was going to let her layperson husband approach her with a needle, even though he could tie a trucker’s hitch! (PS Do not sew someone up with a trucker’s hitch.) Actually, flushing the wound with a fast stream of tap water and then applying superglue will get you pretty far. Getting training ahead of time also goes for IV bags, EpiPens, AEDs, and any EMT-level emergency equipment you feel compelled to bring aboard, you crazy person!
Seasickness: The key is to prevent yourself from getting sick in the first place, which isn’t always possible. It was hard to predict what wave and wind conditions could set us off, but we all had our thresholds, with the boys being the most resistant and the girls being the most susceptible. Strangely enough, while the waves in the Med hit you from all directions and made for a bumpy ride, the bumpiness was so consistent that the entire family was seasickness-free by the time we completed our six-month Med cruise. We had gotten used to it! Well, until we crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, anyway.
Our final regimen was a three-tiered system. Treatment of seasickness is most effective if given before the seasickness kicks in. Mel learned to recognize the early signs in her: feeling hot, feeling sleepy, and getting heartburn. Also, seasickness is definitely more likely if you are anxious about a trip.
Tier 1: Mild seasickness. Treatment: Man the helm, stop reading or gaming, look outside, stop cooking dinner, sit behind the helm, QueaseEase (aromatherapy you can buy on Amazon), ginger gum, gingerale, avoidance of caffeine and alcohol the night before and during the trip. Basically, anything that lowers esophageal sphincter tone is a no-no, such as chocolate and peppermint. In fact, even at Tier 1 Mel takes a Prilosec and eats a Tums if her heartburn kicks in. The “Seabands” never helped us. We are too skeptical, I guess!
Tier 2: Medium seasickness. Hopefully this was predicted ahead of time. Then, meclizine (Bonine) once-daily, given the morning of the trip, usually 4-6 hours ahead of departure. The adults took 25 mg and the kids took 12.5 mg. Mel takes a Prilosec about an hour after the meclizine (to allow the meclizine to digest first.) If the seasickness broke through, then we took ondasetron 4 mg three to four times a day as needed. Having the meclizine on board really helped the ondansetron kick in within 30 minutes. Plus, we continued the Tier 1 treatment.
Tier 3: Major seasickness. If predicted ahead of time, Prilosec, meclizine, and ondansetron 4 mg was started at least 8 hours before the trip. If it was really bad, the ondansetron was bumped up to 8 mg, but we watched to keep the max dose in 24 hours 24 mg. Tommy would say here that just going ahead and vomiting helps him for a good three hours. Usually the kids sleep at this point, and the adults feel sleepy but can manage their watch okay because the seas are lively enough to keep them awake.
Note that ondansetron is a prescription, and rightly so, as it interacts with many drugs and can cause sudden death in certain people. Not a good side effect. It recently became generic in the States, but the pricing is erratic – Mel has paid anywhere from $30 to $340 for 60 pills! Also, it is very hard to find meclizine (Bonine) more than 300 miles away from the States. It is over-the-counter in the US – stock up! Dramamine is a similar drug and therefore should not be combined with meclizine. Dramamine is widely available and is an okay substitute, but it has to be given every 6 hours. Cinnazarine, another relative of meclizine and Dramamine, available in Europe, is still hard to get a hold of, even in Europe. Mel acquired some but never tried it. Finally, we also had the scopolamine patch, fabled for its efficacy at treating even well-established seasickness but also its ability to make one go into renal failure and hallucinate dogs. Never tried it. Don’t like dogs.
The sun: Mel is a big believer in sunscreen. The sun is toxic. Talk to any long-term cruiser and you will have a list of where you can get your cancer hacked off anywhere in the world. However, we found that spending 20-30 minutes in the sun before applying sunscreen really helped our vitamin D levels — and our acne! While cruising, Mel developed an allergy to Neutrogena Sensitive Skin (I KNOW!), so she recommends daily use of the ultra-expensive Citrix Anti-Oxidant Sunscreen SPF 40 for the face of those with sensitive skin. Doesn’t cause zits and the vitamin C fights wrinkles! Cheaper than Botox!
In the meantime, Mel has been going through some pictures from when they first acquired Marvin. Here is a taste of what the new owners have ahead of them…good times!