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 Justine's Journal

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Helicopter Evacuation
Sunday, February 17, 2008

We're both fine ( don't worry mum!), but yesterday Justine was helicoptered out of Port Craig to Invercargil hopsital, with Barry coming for support. This is Justine writing and I've been feeling really low on energy, with a very sore back and getting fevery. I've been struggling to eat and often feeling sick. On our 2nd night in the old school house at Port Craig I woke up at 3am freezing and I just couldn't get warm, even with layers of clothes and Barry's sleeping bag aswell as my own. I was so cold I was shivering uncontrolably which put my sore back into spasm. A hot chocolate with extra sugar and honey sorted me out but over the next couple of days I'd constantly swing from being really cold to really hot and sweaty. Walking a hundred metres would wipe me out. There was obviously something serious wrong so we phoned Dr Bob Mark, a UK doctor ( and seakayaker) who agreed to be on the end of a phone for us if we had a medical problem in a remote place. After chatting to him about all my symptoms he diagnosed me to start taking antibiotics ( which we had with us courtesy of another doctor seakayaking friend Suzanna Gaynor). I immediately started taking these but 24 hours later I was feeling even worse, my breathing was really heavy and laboured and I was really week. Barry went to fetch Faye, a nurse staying a the nextdoor hut and she recommended that I get taken to hospital as she was worried that my laboured breathing meant there might be something else wrong aswell. so an hour later we were on a helicopter with a nurse and a paramedic and 20 mins later we landed at the helipad outside Invercargil hospital. The hospital staff were great and after various tests and measurements they diagnosed that I 'just' had a bad infection, I was on the right anti-biotics and I should start to feel better within 24 to 48 hours. They discharged me about 11pm and Tim Anderson, who we stayed with before in Riverton, kindly picked us up from the hospital and brought us back to his house again to recover in more luxury. It's the next afternoon now and I'm feeling much better - still a bit weak but I am starting to want to get back on the water and continue our trip. Our kayaks and kit is still at Port Craig which is a 17km hike from the nearest road, so our next adventure will be getting back there! The earliest we might paddle is Tuesday, we'll see how it goes.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Justine, sorry to hear about your troubles, I sent Babs a message that you would be back on water soon etc, she sends her best wishes, I think she hopes you catch her sometime, Im sure she has lots of comparisons to compare with you guys. Your in good hands in Invercargil, the people down there seem quite magical.

Cheers James

7:56 am  
Blogger MikeD said...

Hi Justine, good to hear you are on the road to recovery, give yourself a little extra time to get back on the water & let Barry take care of you... situations like these strengthen team spirit & resolve
all the best from Denmark

the other

Mike Devlin :-)

8:09 am  
Blogger Hadas said...

o mannnn, a helicopter!!!!!
well well hope you got some good futage and most important, i hope you feel strong fast and get your self back into your know you have the best excuse to eat as much as you want now...
smile, that's the best medicine.
hugs and kisses from hadas and many friends here in israel

10:00 am  
Blogger the old folks at home said...

Must have been mental telepathy when we sent that text last night.
Here are some more hugs and kisses and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Now, be patient don't get on the water too soon.Barry will look after you, we know that, and you couldn't have a better nurse.
All our love the old folk xx

10:48 am  
Blogger Oded said...

I hope you'll be well very soon and be able to return to the sea and continue the trip. All the best from Israel. Oded Zamir

4:23 pm  
Anonymous Jim said...

Hey Justine, Get well soon - hope you get sorted out. All the best trips involve some time in a hospital ;-) Message from Sue - stop slacking and get back on the water!! Jim & Sue.

6:46 pm  
Anonymous Tom said...

It sounds like you had the best possible advice, both locally and from your team doctor, and that the problem was caught early. Good luck with the next stage. I can't wait to see the pictures as you speed through the fiords!

8:57 pm  
Blogger stinepea said...

How exciting (and surprising...I'm used to Barry being the sickly one)
Best wishes Justine: I am very admirous of you on your journey and I hope you're feeling better, and on your way again soon!!!!
lots of love

9:29 pm  
Blogger Michael said...

Greeting from Canada Justine! Rough luck about your back, but you made the right choice to get help before entering the fiordlands! Remember, kayaks don't get lonely. They expect you fully cured when you next slip in! Best wishes as you recuperate and Barry plays 'nurse'!

10:22 pm  
Blogger Greg Stamer said...

Justine, Sorry to hear that you aren't feeling 100%. I trust that with some rest and care you will be on the mend very soon! But take your time. At least the helicopter ride was an adventure, although I imagine that you weren't in the mood to enjoy the scenery. I hope to hear that you are feeling strong again soon!


1:00 am  
Blogger Glenn said...

Yikes, saw the word "helicopter" and saw you lazing in a hospital bed, assumed the worst!
Glad to hear you're on the mend, your friends in Atlantic Canada are following along with you and wishing you the best.

1:43 am  
Blogger Justine Curgenven said...

Thanks everyone for the encouraging remarks! It's great to hear from you! I felt a bit fevery again yesterday afternoon but have been OK so far today. We might get on the water Wednesday all being well.

3:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jaysus Justine, what are ya up to girl!! The things you'll do for a freebie chopper trip. I bet Barry put you up to it cos he was too chicken to pretend to be ill.
Glad to hear you're on the mend and if you think your hips hurt, try snowboarding...I had to delve into my own stash of painkillers at one point to ensure I could walk. But Japan rocks as ever.
Big therapeutic hug to you, and sure one to Baz too. And pay attention to everyone who's telling you not to jump back in too quickly. Listen to your body. Very nb!!

1:33 pm  

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