chilean navy, penicillin, black pimpernel and wine

… after being sick since 3.09.78 – when we arrived Bali – 6.12.78 I was taken into hospital at the Chilean Navy Hospital in Talcahuano. During the 3 months had I been treated along the way for inflamed tub, kidney infection and gods know what. Every time we dock at a bigger place where I sent off – to see the local doctor. Every doctor along the route had his own verdict, but the all them gave me penicillin and if it hadn’t been for that I probably need had made it to Chile.
We had an American doctor onboard, but he didn’t know what to do with me.He didn’t dare to anything – after my mistreatment the ship owners only used Swedish doctors.

Thought myself that is was one of my tubs that was the problem – because I had it before and it was extremely painful. The pains where very similar.

Know that my colleague chefs thought I was faking. The First Officer, the responsible for the health aboard – felt helpless over my situation. The Swedish Captain, Nilsson where getting really worried too – could hardly walk. So I decided that I will try to hold out until the vessel came to Talcahauno for it’s week in dry dock before the Antarctic’s cruises.

The evening before – farewell dinner – I don’t remember much about .. where so violent sick. Don’t have clue who served the lobsters – it wasn’t me.

Following morning I pack one of my bags – a yellow one – told my boss that if I don’t come back I want the bag over to the hospital. Knew that I wasn’t going be back – even if I seamed to be the only one. Was in a very poorly shape.

So of to hospital with our local agent – after been looked at by two doctors – and nothing wrong was found when checking my tubs and kidneys – I started crying … where so desperate for help. So the 3rd doctor – very handsome Italian man. He examined me and asked when I had eaten last and what I had been eating. Always when before I became sick I craved for green apples.
– we have to operate straight away !!!!! So tears again, so relieved over knowing what was wrong with me: acute appendicitis. 3 hours later was I laying ready for operation.

Was told by my doctor later that it was the penicillin that saved my life – because it capsules the appendicitis so it doesn’t burst. A method that they used during their exercises out at sea.

Such wonderful people that took care of me and the our ship agent where outstanding. The hospital management saw me as the hen with gold egg – ticking dollars – so I got my own doctor and nursing staff – plus a corner room with full view of the bay.

The tensions between Chile and Argentina was already very high – so their navy was on high alert. Also the Chilean Navy had bought one of the Swedish Navy’s old ship in 1971 – HMS Göta Lejon – and named “Almirante LaTorre” she was  my prime view laying out in the bay. A bit of home so fare away.

Operation went well … after a week and with the stitches taken did I return to the vessel that was still in dry dock and a mess everywhere – was places in a deck chair out in the spring sun on deck, but 30 min later I start to feel sick again. In a hours time after leaving the hospital was I back – and then even more serious ill: sepsis in my stomach – but that is an other fantastic story – that I will come back to.

The Chilean Navy also came to “Lindblad’s” rescue at both hers accident down in Antarctic – first on Christmas Eve 1979 (not aboard) – when it was abandoning the ship, standing in stormy weather on a rock and in 23.11.2007 when she sank.

Chile and Sweden has very strong bonds since the junta took over on my birthday 11.09. 1973 – and our ambassador in Santiago, Gustaf Harald Edelstam, that help so many people escape  from the junta – his nick name became “the black pimpernel”. Today Sweden is the biggest importer of Chilean wines.

“Not a leaf moves in Chile if I don’t know about it,
Augusto Pinochet

photos provided by; / / / / / blogg.passagen se / / / /

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