Neck Injury, Sint Maarten

TLDR – Arrived in Sint Maarten to discover we needed all new rigging and cut our bimini (hard top shade on outer deck) top up right before I pinched a nerve in my neck basically immobilizing me and halting our plans.

We reached our first sailing goal!  Arrived in Sint Maarten.  After heading for months that turned into over a year sailing basically directly into the wind we have arrive at the first major Leeward Island.  This means that after sailing with the boat pounding up and down every wave we finally get to turn south-ish and sail with some comfort!  Sailing smoothly with the wind and waves!  All that fun stuff!

Obviously something had to go very wrong. Not that it was easy to get here, but we did actually make it to where it is supposed to be getting smooth and fun. So we broke a piece of plastic holding our back stay together heading in. Got the rigging checked and found out we needed all new rigging (we kind of knew this but a girl can hope). So after the super stressful waiting for rigger dock space, and the removal of the mast, and the re-rigging, that actually found no new problems, that had to be it, right? Nope.

I had been having some minor neck pain.  Take-a-bunch-of-Alleve-level neck pain.  It turned into raiding my stock of emergency prescription level neck pain and so after a week (and running low on my good pain pills) I went to a physical therapy office nearby.

Siona was amazing, super helpful and got me into a physician nearby who basically called me a drug seeker, wouldn’t give me the meds the PT and internet said would help.

 He only gave me enough painkillers of the kind I was taking already for a week as long as I went for an MRI. We have no insurance. He knew this. I went for the MRI to discover he had ordered two.  Without telling me, in a sealed envelope I handed to the nurse. So I got (and got to pay for) 2 MRIs. This only took 3 days, this island is actually very efficient about it and this was a Saturday. Gave me my results with a internet password right after the appointment.

I brought the results back to the doctor first thing Monday, as he had requested and he told me that I’m on enough meds and that he is not qualified to read the results, I would need to see a neurologist. I’m not sure why he wanted me to come back to him at all, but he did call the neuro on the island and she told him on the phone she would see me tomorrow and to give me more pills and the right ones, starting now. Went to the neuro the next day, and after a several hour wait, she checked my MRI, asked me if the previous doctor had given me the pills she told him to, checked that my dosage plan was the one she had told him and we left. Come back after the pills wear out if it is still bad, she said. Sort of a waste of time, but she was very kind and got the first doctor to actually give me the medication I should be on.

Now here I am, on this vacation destination island. I’ve been in immobilizing pain for weeks, medicated and trying to implement my waterproofing cockpit I designed and started cutting up the boat to do, right before the injury happened.

They know me by name at Budget Marine and right after the pain began one guy there told me “you look like you’ve had two kids since I saw you last.”  Made me laugh, worth it even if laughing hurts. The nerve pain pills are working and I’ve lowered my regular pain pills level down.  I have high hopes for the inflammation drugs to do their job and fix me.  I do my exercises every four hours, even at night, and I’m hoping to be up to normal me soon.  It’s hard to plan right now, and we had planned to do the Pacific crossing in 3 months.  Taking it day by day.


  1. wow, finally gonna be gone WITH the wind. congrats! that’s big news. sorry about the pains. hopefully you stock up with a few hundred before your pacific crossing.

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