What in the World is on Peter's back? Creeping Crud!

Peregrina's Journey
Peter and Margie Benziger
Tue 20 Mar 2012 05:25

  07:53.0N   98:24.0E
                   What in the World is on Peter’s back? Creeping Crud! 
Here’s another example of “a day in the life of cruising sailors” up close and personal.
The attached photos are pretty graphic but they illustrate the everyday challenges we face in the blistering heat of Thailand and how a simple boat maintenance project can go horribly wrong…

Here is Peter…hot and sweaty and very dirty after helping our Thai work crew apply anti-fouling bottom paint to Peregrina’s hull.  This is a special chemically-treated green paint that keeps algae and other marine life from attaching itself to the bottom of the boat. 

Actually, this is the 4th day in a row that he wore that very same, very dirty tee-shirt to work on the boat despite my strenuous objections. Three times, I threw the shirt in the dirty laundry bag and three times he retrieved it saying there was absolutely “no point” in washing a work shirt!  Another one of those tough guy “men are from Mars” moments!

Coincidentally, three days ago, we noticed a huge, ugly raised rash just beneath his right shoulder.  Over the course of the next two days, it spread even further and became very hard, swollen and extremely painful. 

He was adamant that it must have been a “heat rash” so we doused it with a Prickly Heat powder as well as hydro-cortisone cream with aloe.  But, nothing worked and it continued to grow and was looking downright nasty.  I actually had visions of some flesh-eating, bacterial monster gobbling up his entire body!

Everyone we showed this strange rash to urged Peter to go to the hospital but he refused saying that he would stop at a pharmacy and have someone take a look at it.  The young female pharmacist he finally approached last night had a momentary fright as Peter peeled off his shirt, right in the middle of the store, so that she could get a better look at his affliction but she quickly regained her composure.  She handed him a tube of Eperson’s Cream for dermatitis repeating the words “very good” over and over.  I’m still not sure whether it was the cream or the thought that Peter might leave her store immediately that made her so enthusiastic about this remedy but we took the medicine and raced home to administer the cure.  However, this morning there was no appreciable change.

But, my bull-headed husband was back at work today - still in the same tee-shirt - assuring me that we just needed to give the medicine a little more time to work when I noticed an unusual splotch of green paint on the back of his shirt. 

It was easily identifiable. The paint was from the bottom of Peregrina’s hull.  Peter and the Thai workers had spent the first two days stripping off this layer of green paint which contained a HIGHLY toxic metallic compound called cuprous oxide.  

If you look below, you’ll see the big splotch of green paint on his shirt closely mirrors the shape of the irritated skin underneath! 

Turns out, Peter was actually poisoning himself over and over again every time he put on that same dirty, sweaty tee-shirt allowing all that cuprous oxide to eat away at his skin!
So, the lesson here is????  Don’t go all “man-ly man” when your wife wants to wash your work clothes.