Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 46

Spirits were high today on board Liv as I woke up to an incredible sunrise that turned half the sky a bright orangish-yellow. Progress has also been good for several days now, and I hear that the forecast is for more of the same for the next week, which is great. Made good progress today, but probably won't match the 55+ miles I put up yesterday. I did cross 38 West at the end of my evening shift, and some time tomorrow I should cross the official half-way point of the row (but not the one I'll celebrate), where I'm equidistant from La Gomera and Antigua (1,550 miles from each). This point is around 38 degrees 20 minutes West.

So, that's the good news. Here's the bad news...the pressure/salt sores on my backside are becoming a more serious issue. I'm just running out of ways to sit where I'm not directly on top of, or rolling over, a painful sore every time I take a stroke. For the first time tonight I thought of cutting my shift short by a half hour just to ease the agony of rowing on these sores. Most of the time I've been able to fidget around and eventually find a comfortable way to sit, but this is getting tougher and tougher a time goes on.

The special ibuprofen that I have helps, but doesn't last all day. I could take more, but if I do I'll run out before the end of the row. Tonight I had the following arrangement as far as seat padding goes: wheelchair pad, mini cell foam pad, gel pad, then two layers of sheepskin. Not sure what else I can do here, as my options on top of what I'm already doing seem limited, and there's little to no chance these will heal at all before Antigua.


Thanks to all who have supported this expedition and important research at Yale Cancer Center with a donation to Row for Hope. If you haven't donated, or if you would consider donating again, it would be much appreciated. To donate online use the link in the upper right-hand corner of this page or visit



Dan said...

Oh my god, I just looked up pressure sores on wikipedia and almost vomited! I hope yours aren't as bad as the "model's" on the wikipedia page. Yikes!

Anyway, its amazing that you are putting up 55+ days with the pain that you are probably in. Great job man. Just know that nothing will compare to the pain thats waiting for you courtesy of the Anitguan pineapple!

Margaret Bowling said...

Hey Paul
Only other thing to do is stay as clean as is humanly possible. If you have enough baby wipes then wipe your cheeks down after each shift. Wash your shorts (if you're wearing them) every day with fresh water and if you have a chammy/sports towel try sitting on that instead of the sheepskin. Then rinse the towel in fresh water every day. Then when in the cabin get naked and lie on your front whenever you can to give your bum some air and rub in whatever lotions and powders you have, after you've wiped down of course. It's unlikely to be the cushions and more likely to be hygiene exacerbating the problem. Don't worry, you aren't the first and won't be the last!
Oh the joys of ocean rowing!!!

Anonymous said...

For your sores: Try letting the sun get to them until bright red. Then, splash with saltwater. Finish by doing a set of squats, and taking a picture of your reaction.
Hope this helps.

Leslie said...

Pressure sores are hellish. It sounds like you're doing everything you can to avoid extensive damage and infection. And it also seems absolutely necessary that you either cut the rowing short towards the end of the day or maybe take short breaks more often during the day. Praying that these sores do not get infected. Just came back from diving and thought of you while out there in those crazy waves - barf..... we're pulling for you!

Fred Bostrom said...


You have heard the same words so many times but I must say it once again. YOU ARE TRULY AMAZING.

I can't imagine how painful rowing day after day with a sore backside must be. You have overcome so many obstacles in the last two months. Just focus and gain strength from your many friends and supporters that are praying and willing you to overcome this obstacle too.

My brother in NJ has joined the ranks and become another one of your enthusiastic followers. He has contacted additional friends including a female doctor who is an avid rower in masters competition at Princeton NJ. So please be assured that your legion of support continues to grow and grow.

Fred B

Niall McCann said...

Hi Paul,
Great reading your blogs, keep up the good work.
I totally agree with what Margaret said, and hope that Yanuzzi was joking!
Staying clean is the key, which means washing. Try to wash your whole body (concentrating in the under-parts) as often as you can, and as Margaret says, wash your shorts. I wore 2 pairs of shorts and washed them each once a day (together, in the minimum fresh water i could) therefore wore each one per 12 hours of rowing in a 24 hour period.
You can try all kinds of cures, from talc to vaseline to E45 cream, but there is only so much they can do to ease your sores, the key is fresh water washing.
Apart from that you just have to stick it! Just like you said in one of your previous blogs where you just have to get up and row every morning as you have no other choice (an excellent way of looking at it!), in this instance you just have to row through the pain as you have no other choice!
It's a shame, but dealing with considerable physical discomfort is one of the occupational hazards of ocean rowing.
You have the psychology to deal with this though Paul, as you continue to deal with everything else that the oceans throw at you.
Keep it going Sir.

Niall McCann

Chairman, Association of Ocean Rowers

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul!

I hope you hit your halfway point today! I spoke with our athletics department today about some new grays. What size would you like? We'll try and have a DRY set waiting for you when you get home! Keep up the great work! Happy belated Colgate Day!


K-Rock and #1 Wild Bill said...

Hi Buddy - Wow, so many ways to go with this one. But first consideration goes to Mark who has to keep this site 'family friendly'. I tried to get WB to type today, but he said he definitely did not want to handle your ass! I am struck by the irony of hearing that Paul Ridley is HAVING a pain in the ass instead of BEING one. When the book is translated into foreign languages we'll have to be sure they get that verb right. OK, it's not funny - but not unexpected either. Kind of like the sea-sickness at the beginning of the trip. Listen carefully to all the experts who have offered help here (NOT Yanuzzi) - even if you think you are already doing everything right - do it some more. The halfway point is in sight - absolutely amazing. Head in the game, ass - well, put that wherever you can to get some relief.- xxoo

Anonymous said...


Perhaps you can get some of the sailors from a passing Greek freighter to take a look and see what they suggest for your current dilemna.
They are supposed to be the 'experts' in this field.

Har, Har, Har !!

Anonymous said...

Colgate Greys Update:

Greys will be in the mail this week for you, Paul. The faster you row, the sooner you can get them! I looked into a seagull courier to no avail...

God Speed,