BLOG 100! Reboot My Heart

SQUINT! Another cell-phone photo of daybreak in Dogpatch
Another cell-phone photo
of daybreak in Dogpatch

Here’s how my luck has been going. I bought two lottery tickets at the local grocery store. As usual, the clerk, after checking my old ones, asked me if she could chuck out them out. By mistake she must have chucked the new ones, which I didn’t discover until several days later. So, bin divers, there’s a 99 trillion dollar winning ticket floating around out there somewhere. Yeah right! I was at the airport when my ship came in. And then I found myself in the hospital. After going to visit the surgeon who “hacked” my leg, I answered a call from my GP. My pulse rate was stuck well over 130 and I was persuaded to go to the hospital for a “couple of hours” to get things checked out.

Moon Bombing Dogpatch
Moon Bombing Dogpatch
Another Fawn Lily
Another Fawn Lily

I swear that the only thing done in a hurry at a hospital is how they manage to get you into one of those open-backed bum flapper gowns and to get an intravenous needle jammed into your arm. Then they’ve got you! The first night was spent in a corner of the Emergency Department on a rickety gurney with a severely worn-out mattress. I lay and waited and waited for doctors who never came. Nurses stood in small groups chatting and joking while I felt like yesterday’s roadkill mouldering in the corner. Other inmates groan, cough, weep and bleed. Your personal plight seems to be the least of priorities and of course, you are the most important, don’t they know that? Eventually I complained gently and endured an explanation of why I should write a letter to the government. It is all their fault.

I’m sure everyone who chooses a career in a hospital must start out with the best of intentions. Some just become a bit jaded along the way. It certainly takes a special courage to put in daily long shifts inside those beige walls breathing that stuffy beige air and becoming imbued with beige thinking. (I can hear Billy Connolly shouting about “Feckin’ Beigists) I know I could not do it, my brand of courage lies elsewhere. The complex infrastructure from maintenance people, cleaners, porters, technicians, dieticians, nurses, doctors, to desk pilots and all the others is stunning. I can’t really comprehend the parameters of even one hospital which, to my sentiments, is as complex the Battle Star Galactia. “Gravity engineer please call the switchboard.” The staff is all there to ultimately serve folks who are mangled, slashed, terminally ill, mortally worn-out and infectiously diseased. (And those are just the visitors) Truly, I was generally treated with compassion and respect but I sure am glad to be writing this back at home. At least here the walls are not bloody beige!

I‘ve cooked for a living at times but can’t imagine what is involved in preparing meals in a hospital. It must be horrific. There is a school somewhere for hospital cooking. There must be. Every meal I’ve ever had in hospital, anywhere, all tastes the same, if it has any taste at all. Bleech! If the food is not bad enough, it is delivered in dung-coloured plastic containers which really gets the palette twitching with anticipation. But I can’t imagine how else anyone could do it three times a day. “Ward C, please proceed to the buffet area for your daily gourmet lunch.” Not likely. Good food is a foundation of cheer and well-being and even a little garnish on top of your chunk of rubbery farmed fish would certainly help. I suppose a sack of parsley just can’t fit the annual budget. And wait until someone decides that all that plastic-infused food we eat is a major cause of cancer! That’s another subject. Eh wot, no wine!

At least they fixed me. Apparently electric shock is used to stop the heart, then again to restart the old muscle. I had a vision of jumper cables hooked to each nipple, a horrific zap, then a quick reversing of positive to negative and another Duracell moment. Actually a very large electrode was stuck to my chest and another to my back. That’s all I recall. Thankfully, I was knocked out for the procedure, I don’t remember a thing. It’s rather like defragging and rebooting a computer, all in one swell foop, but it feels like the timing was reset and new spark plugs were installed. I’ve been rebooted. There IS a smell of burned bacon. Whatever transpired, my pulse is back down to a normal rate and I’m beginning to feel like life is worth living. These dreamy pills are intereeesting…..

Abandoned locomotive in Ladysmith. The promise of a working steam museum and a tall ships yard drew me to Vancouver Island in the mid-80s. It never happened.
Abandoned locomotive in Ladysmith. The promise of a working steam museum and a tall ships yard drew me to Vancouver Island in the mid-80s.
It never happened.
Spring morning light at the roundabout at the foot of the main street in Ladysmith
Spring morning light at the roundabout at the foot of the main street in Ladysmith. The monstrous anchor was dredged out of the harbour.

The only other note I’ll offer on ending up in the “horspital “ is that one needs to be aware of the moment. It is all you have. There is no “In a minute,” no “Tomorrow,” no “Maybe next year.” This is it. This very moment is all you’ve got and no one knows what’s coming down the pipe. We DO NOT know what the next moment will bring. It is a thought I often express in this blog but I’m beginning to feel hypocritical spouting about it out. This is blog 100 for me… and I’m still tied to the bloody dock! I can offer whinges about poor health and the resulting low finances but I feel that would be just making excuses. This is the year.

It has to happen within the remaining three quarters of 2016. No more piddling about. Old ‘Seafire’ either finds her way to Southern waters or has to be put up for sale. I want to be writing blogs from within the shade of a cactus or a palm tree. One way or another. It’s got to happen. Somehow!

I know I don’t want to end my days shuffling down a beige hall in a puce bum-flapper pushing a trolly with an IV drip on it with flakes of dried rubber salmon clinging to my beard.

Unwittingly I recently wrote this little bit about exactly that.


Some drink dark rum straight down

others stir weak tea round and round

wondering ten lumps or twelve.

Some cling to the bottom

feeding on whatever drifts by

others soar in the cold dark sky

exploring their passion to fly

so absorbed with life

they have no thought about when they’ll die.

Some worry about dying so much,

they never live.

Some worry about tomorrow

always missing today

some only work

having forgotten a gift called play.

We only have this one moment

and can only regret

what we don’t do.

The Nurse Stump. Life goes on.
The Nurse Stump.
Life goes on.

Slumped in front of the television last night I watched a silly program about a California couple who had won $180,000,000.US in a lottery. After the IRS was done with them they probably had to scrape by on the remaining half of their winnings. A realtor was leading them around by the nose showing exotic properties. Eventually they settled on a decadent shack (16,000 square feet) on a mountainside to the tune of $5.6 million. All the while they were orgasming their way through this ridiculous faux palace, wifey kept complaining they were over-budget! They finally bought the place, then the bison ranch below them and ultimately all the land to the summit of the mountain above them. It totalled 800 acres. Mother’s final complaint was about the winding steep road. These were the same two hefty folks who were living contentedly in an average suburban home before their windfall. The area surrounding their new dream home sure looked like one of those Californian infringements that loves to explode into flame. I wish them bliss. Yes, I’m jealous, at least for the potential of all that cash.

I know that if I ever found myself immersed in unaccustomed wealth, sure as hell-in-a-handbasket, I might easily wander astray. For the moment, I believe there are people I’d help and causes I’d support, others whom I’d make a point of ignoring and quite probably there would be another certain boat I’d acquire. That is the true value of a lottery ticket, all those dreams to keep you going through an existence such as working in a hospital. Lotteries are indeed the poor man’s tax. To put our Western lives in perspective, there are billions who’d love the decadence of knowing where tomorrow’s groceries are coming from and that the shooting will stop. The notion of going to a hospital for any reason, incomprehensible. Not having to worry about the cost, beyond belief.

We just don’t get it. Do we? I know I don’t, even when I write about it.

Jack out standing In his field. Dogs can teach us so much.
Jack out standing In his field.
Dogs can teach us so much.


Author: Fred Bailey

Fred is a slightly-past middle age sailor / writer / photographer with plenty of eclectic hands-on skills and experiences. Some would describe him as the old hippy who doesn't know the war is over. He is certainly reluctant to grow up and readily admits to being the eternal dreamer. He has written several books including two novels, 'The Keeper' and 'Storm Ecstasy,' as well as 'The Water Rushing By', 'Sins Of The Fathers', 'The Magic Stick', as well as an extensive inventory of poetry, essays, short stories, anecdotes and photographs. His first passion is the ocean, sailboats, voyaging and all those people who are similarly drawn to the sea. He lives aboard 'Seafire' the boat he is refitting to go voyaging, exploring new horizons both inner and outer. This blog is about that voyage and the preparations for it. In spite of the odds against it, the plan is to sail away this fall and lay a course southward. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey. Namaste Contact him at

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