In 1975 Phyllis and I bought a houseboat. Phyllis had been wanting a houseboat. Phyllis liked to be “right on the water.” When we went traveling in our motorhome, it was my job to find a camping place that was “right on the water.” It was surprising how many times I was able to find a place for her on a stream or a river or a lake or the ocean that was right on the water.
The houseboat was 32 feet long and the main floor inside the cabin was in two levels. The front 20 feet of the floor was at the level of the outside deck and the back part of the floor was about a three foot step down. On the upper level was the control station where the boat was driven, and a dining table, which converted into a bed, and the kitchen. On the lower level was the bathroom and the bedroom. Under the kitchen floor was what we called a “cuddy cabin” about 3 feet high.
The cuddy cabin was unfinished but had potential. One of the many things I did to improve the houseboat was to make this cuddy cabin into a real nice, cozy little bedroom. This little room, which was partly below water level, stayed cool in the morning longer than any other place on the boat.
We owned this boat from 1975 until 1988, and had some of the best times of our lives on it.
Whereas the height of the cuddy cabin under the front floor was about 3 feet, the height of the space under the back part of the floor was only about one foot. There was an access hole to this space. The access hole was right outside the bathroom door.
I had the cover to the access hole off, because I was working on something in this space. Phyllis wanted to get into the bathroom, so she stepped over the open hole and went in and closed the door. I cautioned her “remember this hole is open.” By the time she was ready to come out she had forgotten. She stepped right in the hole and her foot went clear to the bottom of the boat! Her arms flew up and out and she fell on the floor.
Phyllis had had her right shoulder dislocated four times, and as I was helping her up, she said, “I think I threw my shoulder out.” We examined her shoulder and it definitely was not out. It got to feeling better and we finished our stay and packed and went home. After our four hour drive and the unpacking it was kind of late, near midnight, when we finally went to bed.
As we settled in I said, “Goodnight, Phyllis,” and she said, “Goodnight, Brian” and reached over to give me a little pat. When she did this her shoulder went out of joint! Evidently in her fall on the boat she had torn a ligament or something that held her shoulder together.
We called Dr. Dudley at home. (In those days you could call a doctor, especially Dr. Dudley, at home.) Dr. Dudley came to the house and into the bedroom. He gave Phyllis a sedative to calm her down and talked to her while the sedative was taking effect. Then he took his jacket off and folded it down to about a foot square. He gently raised her arm a little and put the folded jacket high up under her arm. Then he gave her elbow a quick little push in toward her side, and her shoulder popped back in, and this made her feel a whole lot better.
Phyllis told him that all she did was to reach over to give me a little pat.
He said, “Yeah, I bet.”