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Old 26-07-2010, 19:14   #16
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Sounds like it may not be the best idea. It's looking like the meds are the easy part.

Thanks everyone for the enlightenment! We have some thinking to do now...
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Old 26-07-2010, 19:50   #17
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Take this fwiw...I'm a guy who usually says "screw it" when it comes to items such as personal health...
HOWEVER, I would not do this particular trip if I were in your shoes. Bottom line is, health-care in french poly/ south pacific is close to non-existent. Some clinics for anti-biotics, etc, but nothing approaching first-world care. This may rankle some, but its essentially true.
And whatever care there is will inevitably be several days away. Probably with no direct experience in treating your wife's condition, and no access to the drugs needed. It is very sparse and spartan "out there".
So, what would I do? I'd cruise Mexico. Closer, cheaper, arguably better cruising, and good access to Phoenix, Houston or Dallas...all cities with renowned cardiac care facilities.
In our almost 3 years' cruising, including the South Pacific to New Zealand and Australia, Mexico was our favorite. Most consistent conditions, best access to goods and services (taking NZ and OZ out of this equation), and close to home. Some would say that last one is a negative. I'd say those people haven't left the docks yet.

Best of luck,
John
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Old 26-07-2010, 19:55   #18
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I would go if it was me, but not with the woman I love. Compromise and do the Carribean. It will be enchanting and you will never be more than a few hours in the air from U.S. medical facilities that will save her life if it comes to that......
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Old 26-07-2010, 21:56   #19
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Captain Ardell Lien sailed solo around the world in a Norsea 27 after recieving a heart and kidney transplant. He was 71 years old when he completed the voyage.

He had medications delivered to him in the ports around the world where he stopped.

Check out his story:

Capt. Ardell Lien Makes History as the First Heart/Kidney Transplant Patient to Sail Solo Around the World

Ardell didn't let his heart transplant stop him from making his circumnavigation. Extraordinary man.
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Old 26-07-2010, 23:31   #20
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Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
Captain Ardell Lien sailed solo around the world in a Norsea 27 after recieving a heart and kidney transplant. He was 71 years old when he completed the voyage.

He had medications delivered to him in the ports around the world where he stopped.

Check out his story:

Capt. Ardell Lien Makes History as the First Heart/Kidney Transplant Patient to Sail Solo Around the World

Ardell didn't let his heart transplant stop him from making his circumnavigation. Extraordinary man.
Thanks Max. An inspiring story, especially for the older crowd. Kind falls into the ..."where there's a will, there's a way" category.
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Old 26-07-2010, 23:33   #21
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Maybe you could talk to this guy for more information, he had a heart and kidney transplant.


Transplant Recipient Sails Around the World
Having lost a kidney myself last year, I find all this very interesting - so took a look. This was the most interesting article I come across in the search. Hey Roostre - you can do this!!!
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Old 27-07-2010, 14:15   #22
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I would suggest that you have a discussion with your pharmacy in the US, explaining that you may need some special assistance with the meds and having your refills shipped to you.

Ask them also about storage, and plan to split whatever meds you take with you into 2-4 separate hermetically sealed containers, so that you are not exposing all of the rx to moist air every time you open "just one" container. And, so that the loss, theft, or dropping one conatiner in the bilge still leaves you with an adequate supply sealed in the others. Any sharp pharmacist should be able to help you work that out and use suitable packaging for the meds.

On medevac insurance--read the fine print! A DAN policy may only cover diving-related accidents, and some policies only repatriate the sick person, subject to further conditions. A better policy also provides for repatriating an escort (you!) along with them. Sometimes a commercial airline can be used instead of an air ambulance, in which case the airline sometimes requires purchasing multiple seats and having a medical attendant on board. So as about options, and ask for a sample policy. Don't believe what any sales agent tells you until you see the policy.

I think you'd also find some thread about medevac coverage at the Seven Seas Cruising Association (ssca.org) discussion boards, you don't have to be a member to access them.

Whatever your US medical insurance is, a typical domestic policy (even the best) will not cover you overseas, you'll be "out of network" and subject to whatever provisions they give you for that, usually a stiffer deductible and higher copays, so check that out as well.

By all means--go for it! Just take a real good look at the paperwork before you go, to make sure you are covered.
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Old 27-07-2010, 17:48   #23
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Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
Captain Ardell Lien sailed solo around the world in a Norsea 27 after recieving a heart and kidney transplant. He was 71 years old when he completed the voyage.

He had medications delivered to him in the ports around the world where he stopped.

Check out his story:

Capt. Ardell Lien Makes History as the First Heart/Kidney Transplant Patient to Sail Solo Around the World

Ardell didn't let his heart transplant stop him from making his circumnavigation. Extraordinary man.
Great story!

I sent that link to my beloved in an e-mail. She just told me that Capt Ardell's transplant was 25 days after hers!! Wow.
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Old 27-07-2010, 18:14   #24
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I truly admire the courage you and your wife have. Only you two, of course, can answer the question you pose for others [I understand the posing of the question fully ...]. I think you should ask yourself a couple of questions: 1} what is it about sailing in the South Pacific that draws you, and why is that only available there? [If it is just to see the places, you can fly there and back cheaper than you can ready a boat and sail] 2. If it is the idyll of sailing into a quiet port after a rough day's sail [and that is, indeed, wonderful], why can't you have that in places much closer to medical expertise? 3. Are you truly willing to face the possible repurcussions of having made this level of mistake if it is one? Depending on the answers, go or go elsewhere. But do go cruising. We all have only so many days in our lives, and we cannot possibly go to all the ports we would like to visit. So visit the ones you can.
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Old 27-07-2010, 21:13   #25
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Roostr, your wife is a survivor, and only you and she can decide if this is something you can do. I'd like to at least help with some of my own experiences and research.

To get the medications issue out of the way, I believe you are better aware than most just how important the meds are, and only your wife's doctors can determine just how that issue can be handled. However, I want to point out that the risk of outdated/adulturated/counterfeit medications is so great outside the US that you need to stick with meds that have been proven to be legitimate. I included in my Cruiser's Dictionary a 1998 article regarding counterfeit medications (see O-P - CruiserlogWiki under pharmaceuticals.) This is an issue that has gotten worse, not better. In 2002 and again in 2006 the subject of counterfeit drugs has been discussed in New Scientist Magazine - I hope I can get permission to include these articles in the Cruiser's Dictionary in the near future. But I would not trust my life to cheap meds bought outside the US.

I don't know how experienced you and your wife are at the mechanics of cruising - long passages and regular watches. Anchoring safely. Handling the physical exhaustion when the weather or the equipment goes very wrong. I would suggest that you take six months to cruise in the Caribbean before taking on the Pacific passages, because most of the Caribbean can be done in day sails, and you can test yourself with longer passages to see if that's for you. We did 7 to 10 day passages in the Caribbean sort-of in training for the Pacific crossings. That's the nice thing about the Caribbean - you can usually find shelter if you don't feel you can continue for another 24 hours, for example. Not possible in the Pacific.

If you love sailing, I think the Caribbean has the best sailing. And also some of the easiest and safest anchorages anywhere. But the coral and fish in the Pacific are spectacularly better.

Medical facilities. In the Caribbean: Puerto Rico, decent medical, and a quick flight to the US. Martinique, excellent facilities for both cancer and cardiac care. The rest, I'm not so confident about, but again, flying back to the US is fairly quick and easy.

Tahiti and New Caledonia are about the best for medical facilities until you get to Australia. That's a long, long way to travel, even by plane, if you get into trouble.

Dengue fever is not only in the Caribbean. It's been a problem in the S. Pacific for years. But don't get bitten by mosquitoes, and you're fine.

A little health awareness and precautions should be sufficient for two savvy individuals as you appear to be. We manaqed to spend 6 months in Equador during the cholera epidemic there without getting sick. We were in Western Samoa (now just Samoa) when they had a typhoid epidemic, again with no problems ourselves. I think you and your wife are pretty knowledgeable about how to keep yourselves healthy since her life depends upon it, and it is knowledge and reasonable precautions that can keep you healthy, not avoiding any risk at all.

I want to say, "go" to your dream of cruising the S. Pacific, but perhaps as others have suggestion you can get the same benefit from chartering. I loved French Polynesia, and you can charter there. Tonga is a great place to charter, quite a bit like the Virgin Islands. I think that you might find this to be a more relaxed way to cruise, rather than try to race across the S. Pacific not really being able to kick back and just enjoy one place for a long time.

There's nothing wrong with taking smaller steps towards your cruising dream. I think that there's a lot to be said for chartering just to see what it's really like. I suggest, though, that it be for 3 or 4 weeks at a time - then you have a better chance of getting to know a place and really feel you've cruised it.

Having had a few medical problems myself, I'm convinced I'm still here because of our sailing/cruising life. It's a great way to live.

Fair winds,
Jeanne
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