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Back on hold...
October 12, 2007 - Day 95 9.9193N,151.5557W
I am back on para-anchor today, with my southwesterly attempt shut down by returning south winds. The window of opportunity that I had chased over the last three days closed when our weather partner Dane Clark reported that a secondary ITCZ again formed to my north, restoring the prevailing winds. I am in between the two zones now, and I suspect the southern one at 7-8N will continue to weaken, letting the winds pass due north. This fickle pattern will oscillate until I eventually break through maybe further west, certainly later in the season. So I am back to the stalling strategy of "camping on the water," aiming to reach 165W in November.
The neck is on the mend, which can use the rest. Yesterday I rowed long hours, still keeping my head down, but consciously arching my lower back. My left trapezoid which had remained in perpetual aching contraction, had finally relaxed yesterday, allowing more freedom of movement. I had started taking a regimen of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and looking for ways to limit the relative motion of my head with respect to my torso, hoping to reduce the nerve root irritation.
When I mentioned this problem in my last dispatch, our medical partner WorldClinic immediately responded, asking for more information about the history and symptoms of the injury. Their goal was to determine its severity and the appropriate treatment. Over an email dialog, without escalating the case to a medical alert requiring 24/7 satellite phone calls, we determined that I did not need to use stronger prescription medications, which are available to me on the boat in a WorldClinic Medical Bag. Still my instructions are to fashion a soft collar to brace my neck. I can control my posture and movements while awake, so I will use the collar specifically during sleep to avoid recurring problems. Sleeping wrong was the culprit to begin with...
I have found it easier to sleep the last three nights by:
1. Laying face down
2. Putting a clothes bag under my chest to raise it, and
3. Letting my cheekbone and forehead rest on the now lower pillow, varying the cheekbone of choice to find comfort.
The above arrangement essentially created a mild traction on the cervical spine by gravity, and provided the comfortable angle for my neck without straining it, offering me a chance to get some rest. I know Nancy sleeps better, knowing that I have the proper remote care by WorldClinic.
With patience and occasional good winds, I will eventually make it across. Minor setbacks which are delaying me now are improving my odds later on this huge ocean, where my journey will span across time zones and seasons in opposing hemispheres.