Sideways Sally The Skipper


3 THINGS… my life on OMOO with an amazing skipper, my beautiful family, and my career full of twists and turns. I keep learning from all aspects of my life. One thing I’ve learned for sure is to be happy with where I am, whom I meet and all the experiences that come my way. Especially important is that sometimes good things come from bad things.

Saturday morning and I’m relaxing with my favorite brew of coffee. I found myself reflecting on the week as I walked home last night, feeling so happy. I had just left my work family after our busy week and a happy hour with new staff. We welcomed them into our circle with warmth and curiosity about their journey in life. We are thrilled their path has brought them to us. I love that about us.

Our work is about the mystery of what will happen next, the exploring of the human landscape. We spend our week looking into our client’s lives, the mental health struggles, losses, successes and stories. They invite us into their vulnerable space, and we are tasked to support, assist and intervene. The connections of events and relationships between our clients and our team happen daily, with no two days alike. The bond we have between our team members is on a level we cannot see visually in front of us, but feel in our hearts and souls. We share the joys and sorrows as we care for the those who navigate through life with challenges in their way that most of us cannot even imagine.

The love of life and my people sustain me. Making my way back to my family after 18 months of separation during this pandemic lifted my spirit and put my life back in the order I’m used to. I was missing birthdays and holidays together. Kids grow up fast and I was used to spending time with them whenever I wanted to. I’d fly to the prairies for a visit, or have the family visit the West Coast to go exploring. The far away family in Australia are stranded for now, but as soon as the border opens there will be a trip planned. Floating between my life on OMOO with my Skipper, visiting my kids and grans, and doing the job I love is my life.

This year, while unable to travel far, another type of timing was everything. I was so lucky to have had not one, but two surgeries. A total knee replacement in January, and a spine surgery in August. My amazing team of Doctors are keeping me going so I can do all the things I love to do. How lucky am I? Immensely lucky, to have surgeries in the time of this pandemic, when many elective surgeries are postponed. I count my lucky stars each morning when I awake to face the day. Grateful cannot even begin to describe the feeling of relief from the pain that came with my advancing arthritis. I get out and about again, feeling elated with the ease of movement.

The good thing that came from bad things is meeting the spine surgeon. Dr. Brian Kwon met me after an unfortunate accident when I was working at VGH ER. In my Psych Nurse Triage role I was tasked with assessing the patients that came in to the ER in a mental health crisis. It was a fast pace where I zoomed around the ER meeting the patients, sometimes putting in 10,000 steps a day. I loved it. The ER Docs were so grateful that we could spend the time they didn’t have, to talk to the patients who needed Psychiatric treatment.

One morning I was busy charting at the desk, then turned to stand up and go to the next patient, when my feet got tangled in some computer cords that weren’t stored properly. I did a face plant in front of my charge nurse, in the middle of the ER. The whiplash effect triggered a gall bladder attack, and the pain went from my knees to my hips to my back and to my shoulders. I ended up in the hospital for two weeks, barely able to walk until Dr. Kwon met me and started giving me spinal steroid injections. These were effective for four years, and he always told me when they stopped working that he could perform surgery. I’m so grateful to have him treat me and give me back my pain free mobility.

The reason I am working in Vancouver instead of on Vancouver Island where I moved to twenty years ago, is because I had a wrongful dismissal from my job in Victoria. The settlement gave me the freedom to work casual for seven years, and sail the west coast. When I went back to work full-time it was after this fall in the ER and a wise union representative advised me to take a postion to bump up my benefits and get whatever treatment I may need for my advancing arthritis. So I did, and have been well looked after for the last five years. So another good thing came from losing a job, which was devastating at the time. So, I’m a believer. GOOD THINGS CAN COME FROM BAD THINGS!!

The planet we live on is precious and beautiful. Yes, there is lots to worry about, the future is uncertain. Every day is full of anxiety and insecurity. I am reminded of a famous quote from Helen Keller, “there is no such thing as security.”

Life can change in a heartbeat. Daily I feel and focus on gratefulness and love. It’s freeing and it’s life changing, not having to plan every second of every day, or complain endlessly about the current set of circumstances in the world. It makes for great connections with positive people, and draws on the resilience of the human spirit. To look for the best in every situation is a choice of perspective, which never ceases to amaze me. This is a joyful way to live. I have met many people along the way that have shared this perspective with me, the most positive is my Skipper Hershey, who has remained calm, cool and collected no matter what life throws at him. He is supportive, generous and kind with each phase of me getting to this place.

Maple Bay Marina

This website is dedicated to Harold Upham, and OMOO, and the amazing journeys we have on the water and in life.

I am pleased that two more articles have been published:

Pacific Yachting – October issue, Page 29.
Clam, Herring and Sibel Bay-digital copy available for $2.00.

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