Monday, November 9, 2009

Sailing With Cancer




I don't remember much about the first time Monica came sailing with me. I do know it was about a decade ago aboard my old banged-up Bristol 24 I kept in City Island. She was no sailor or boater, but she carried a natural affinity for the water, and felt right at home. There were no mishaps or complaints that day from myself or her; perhaps that is why I do not recall much about it.

In 2006, Monica was diagnosed with bone cancer. It has been a roller coaster ride ever since: months of relatively normal life interrupted by periods where it did not seem she would survive another week or two. It is the latter that we are going through right now.
I do not want to turn this into a political post, but those of you who think you are insured, need to think again. Fighting with the insurance companies has been just as large a battle as the sickness itself. We may have the greatest medical treatment in the world in this country, but it is a private beach, reserved for club members and waterfront residents only.

Monica worked at a hospital in White Plains for twenty years; she thought she had great insurance. Most of the cable-TV jockeys seem to frame the argument around the insured versus the uninsured. There are large numbers of insured Americans who are not as insured as they think they are.


Long Island Sound has been a respite from all this morbidity and corporate nonsense, providing us with an outlet that is sometimes the greatest therapy.
 And most of all, she has been a good sport:

  " Hey Mon, instead of going to that swanky marina with the pool and tiki bar, would it be alright if we anchored near Bridgeport so I can photograph the oyster boats returning to port?"


photos: Shelter Island Ferry (top)
Stonington
Long Passage to Block Island (bottom)

10 comments:

Ocean Girl said...

I'm really sorry.

Kim said...

So sorry to read this. Very sad indeed.

Erica Houskeeper said...

I am sorry for all of the suffering you and Monica are going through, and that her treatment/heath care has been so difficult. But I'm glad sailing has been a source of comfort. The top photo of Monica is beautiful.

kate said...

I'm thinking of your comment on my post and yes, we can fight "city hall". I hope all the public support for health care reform goes through so people like Monica don't have to rely on their amazing mental strength alone to fight their diseases.

Good luck to her. It must be nice to share the boat with someone of such strength. I hope you have many shared sails ahead of you.

Whitemist said...

I understand very well. ZThe polotics is very sad. The fight for survival is still another thing. Prayers for both of you.

angelshair said...

I have no other words that I am sorry....I find it really injust that you had to fight with insurances in such a moment.
All my toughts with you two.

bowsprite said...

A big hug to you, Monica!
Matthew, you big lug: steer for the tiki bar!

Bill said...

This is terrible. I'm so sorry. You and Monica are in our prayers.

matthew houskeeper said...

Thanks everyone!

bonnie said...

I have a friend who went through a terrible fight to get treatment for colon cancer. He did eventually find a center that helped him get onto a Medicare program of some sort & he is nearing the end of his chemo (hurray) but it was so horrible listening to his story of how many places he just met with shoulder shrugs & "Come back when you're ready for the emergency room".

I'm glad you pointed out that even those of us who have insurance aren't necessarily exempt from running the same gauntlet if we were to get sick.

My "career", such as it's been, involved quite some time in the financial industries. I always remember talking to one broker who was leaving the firm & asking him why he'd decided to go. He was a lovely man, intelligent & a real gentleman as well; his specialty was the health industries, and he explained that he was leaving his lucrative niche because he didn't like the way the business was becoming so focused on maximized profits - frequently at the expense of the very people who were relying on the industry the most.

I don't understand these people who are fighting reform so hard - there are so many sad stories out there, you'd think everybody would personally know at least one person who'd been let down by the system as it stands.