But We had a Darned Good Sail
The story I tell is true. As improbable as it seems, it really happened, more or less the way I describe (allowing for imperfect human recollection of details over the intervening forty-six years).
Humans really can die of seasickness. Not over a number of hours, perhaps, but over days. Dehydration might be a major part of the equation. Loss of blood may have been a contributor in this case, or a kind of septic poisoning from an ulcer. Frankly, I never found out what the underlying cause of our friend's decline was. Undeniably, he was dying. An ulcer was the best guess anyone offered.
In any case, the condition was real and threateningly lethal. Not something anyone, including the wonderful people in the Coast Guard, was willing to take a chance on. No one suggested that he would "just snap out of it on his own". I offer this story to remind us how generous and caring, how foolishly heroic, humans can be.
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