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Old 19-08-2012, 21:39   #16
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

These guys have some great workarounds that you may be able to adapt to your situation.
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Old 19-08-2012, 21:50   #17
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

One major piece of advice for your wife: One hand for her, and one hand for the boat, at all times. My wife has severe balance issues due to a craniotomy during which the surgeon had to sacrifice her entire right inner and middle ear and r bifurcation of the carotid. D+As a result, she has severe balance issues and gets vertigo very easily.

She wears a life jacket on deck at all times and wears a lifeline and harness in any sailing condition, due to a risk of her going overboard. All foredeck work like jibs is done by me, for safety and she handles the tiller. All in all, though, she still has a very rewarding time on the boat, though, and loves sailing scows and is looking forward to our upcoming cruising.
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Old 20-08-2012, 03:48   #18
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

I would recommend you contact the Bay Area Association Disabled Sailors, out of San Francisco or look for a Disabled Sailing Group in your area.

BADS is a Club that owns several boats adapted for their members. From the simple (Rails) to accomodating quadrapelegics at the helm.

They are a great group of people and could advise you on modifications that might make your wife's life a little easier on the boat.

There link is:
Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors
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Old 20-08-2012, 06:54   #19
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

We met a couple who's wife was confined to a wheelchair that were doing "the loop". They had a trawler and he had modified a wheelchair so she could get around the boat, including the outside decks ...
I realize this is a sailboat site, but there's a lot more room on a trawler than a sailboat and makes it easier to get around...
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Old 20-08-2012, 07:21   #20
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

My wife also has MS, and we have lived aboard for 10 years now. Some days are better than others, but over all she makes it work. We feel that in some ways it is better than living on dirt.
Some examples
reduced stress, stress is major factor in MS flares
less contact with infections, fewer people to be around
swimming and exercise
smaller living area to be responsible for
healthier foods
when ataxia affects her, there are more places to hang on to
with all that said you have to be understanding some days she feels like crap, and on those days we just hang on the boat so she can rest. And remember how she feels can change almost instantly, so don't be afraid to cancel plans with others without much notice.But most cruiser's we have been around are VERY understanding and supportive.Remember there will be times when you will be basically single handing the boat,
You might want to contact me via e-mail for more info dderanek at gmail dot com
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Old 20-08-2012, 08:56   #21
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

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Originally Posted by DaveWalter View Post
Keep it up ladies and gentlemen, a few more positive replies and I will get the nodd to go ahead with our plans to cross over from the darkside, and become a live aboard.
A good friend once told me that if I really want to live aboard, "Do it" before you can't, as you will always look back with regret if you don't.
Good luck to you both.
-Bruce
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Old 20-08-2012, 11:14   #22
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

My father-in-law is an ex-Navy guy that was on a tug during his tour. He had a stroke and with only limited movement on his right side I have found that two things (that I don't currently have) would make all the difference in the world for him to go sailing with us. 1) floating dock and 2) shorter companionway steps. 1) I could wait for low tide to get him on, but then we wait for low tide to get him off and 2) I have seen some companionways (like on a S2 I sailed on) that had two steps that a capable person could almost avoid all together.

And there are so many other ideas already posted to consider....and KUDOS to you folks for considering the possibility in spite of it all! I LOVE IT!
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Old 20-08-2012, 11:41   #23
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Best wishes to you both. You CAN do it! I have an old back injury that (somewhat) limits mobility when it's acting up. Others have mentioned handholds, stairs, to help your wife. Realize that you might cut some sails short (have a bailout anchorage available) or include marina money in your budget if she needs to plug into air conditioning to get out of the heat.

I'd also consider that much of your time sailing is actually spent sitting. In one sense that shouldn't be too limiting, in another, its sitting not resting, you still use a lot of core muscles to hold yourself upright as the sea knocks you about; just be prepared for this to take its toll on her energy. If she can handle the helm while during docking and/or sail changes, you can use your greater mobility to go forward and do these tasks.

You can get creative -- my physical therapist devised an exercise routine for me to address my back issues that included elastic bands (easy to store aboard) wrapped around the mast, and exercises that substituted a round fender for a pilates ball - worked great.

One thing I haven't seen addressed - when you get into port how will you get around? Most cruisers of course, walk a lot. If her walking is limited, plan ahead. Consider taxis, folding bicycles, folding scooters, rental cars.
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Old 20-08-2012, 17:23   #24
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Thank you all for the encouragement. My wife was under the impression that she would be the odd one out, a “spare wheel” so to speak (Not a necessity but it’s nice to have one). I am wondering with all the responses we have received if there are any "able bodied seamen" out there! There have been some truly inspiring replies, to those people and others. We hope you all get the chance to look back on your time on the water as some of your fondest memories.
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Old 20-08-2012, 18:19   #25
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Physical disablity are the least of the issues on a boat. If you stop and think - man is suposed to live on land, so to live on water we develop a disablity aid - its call a boat. As we differ physical from each other we some times need to customise our "aid". So i guess that it all depends on what you define as able body.

regards
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Old 20-08-2012, 18:32   #26
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Due to the rigors of life on the water we did not realize that there were so many people in our position. It does not show through when reading through all the topics. I am trying to get my wife to a comfort level that she will give it a go. She is shy and an introvert by nature, embarrassed about her condition. Your posts help open her eyes to the possibilities. You are all able bodied or you would not be doing it.
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Old 20-08-2012, 19:01   #27
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

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Originally Posted by justwaiting View Post
Physical disablity are the least of the issues on a boat. If you stop and think - man is suposed to live on land, so to live on water we develop a disablity aid - its call a boat. As we differ physical from each other we some times need to customise our "aid". So i guess that it all depends on what you define as able body.

regards

I'm sure you mean well, but I am more "disabled" on land than on the water. On land, a crack in a sidewalk is enough to throw me violently to the ground if my toe catches it, because I have diminished capacity to avoid a fall.

On my boat, the surface never changes. I know exactly where the handholds are, exactly where the nonskid is. I have moved over the 31' of that boat, inside and out, so much, that sometimes when the water shifts under the boat I reach out for a handhold without even realizing that the boat is moving.

It's the same things under my feet all the time, and I know it all well.

Moving around on the boat, I can keep my center of gravity low. If it's rough, and I have to go to the bow, I do so on my hands and knees. Now, I could avoid falling by moving down the sidewalk on my hands and knees, but don't you think people would stare?

Boats do not make a person "disabled." A person with any kind of disability carries it with them everywhere they go, and the OP is right to think about it. How it is managed may be very different on a boat than on land, and I am glad for your post because this very significant difference between land and water wasn't something I was aware of until I read your post.

I believe I am safer on my boat than on land.
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Old 20-08-2012, 19:03   #28
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveWalter View Post
Due to the rigors of life on the water we did not realize that there were so many people in our position. It does not show through when reading through all the topics. I am trying to get my wife to a comfort level that she will give it a go. She is shy and an introvert by nature, embarrassed about her condition. Your posts help open her eyes to the possibilities. You are all able bodied or you would not be doing it.
See my post below. I seriously believe I am safer on the boat than on land.
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Old 20-08-2012, 19:12   #29
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

"Adapt and Overcome" I think that's somebodie's motto. It is a good philosophy for life, and cruising.
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Old 20-08-2012, 19:18   #30
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

For meds, etc, you might consider working with a good mail-forwarding service that understands cruisers. We've been happy with Mail Forwarding Services at St Brendan's Isle they know the regulations in many other countries and can get your stuff to you and give advice about the regs.
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