Our travel agent made enquires for us and booked us on a Columbus Line container ship from Jacksonville, Florida to Australia. We were required to have a letter from our physician stating that we were in good health - one is not allowed crutches, canes, walkers or a wheelchair. This ship had accommodation for 12 passengers so there was no doctor required. We had to have insurance covering medical treatment, loss of belongings, cancellation or emergency air lifting off the ship. As well, we had to be under 80 years of age. The paper work was all done in November for departure the end of January.
We left Winnipeg January 29, 1996 (temp. -270C) and flew to Minneapolis (temp. -10C). Here we were held up while they de-iced our plane to Detroit. The hour delay meant we had to be pretty athletic to get to the other side of the airport in Detroit to catch our plane for Jacksonville. Our arrival in Jacksonville was early evening and the temperature was 800F - hot and humid! There was a message for us at the hotel to board the Columbus New Zealand container ship the next day at 10 AM.
After putting our luggage in a nicely appointed and very space adequate cabin for two people, we proceeded downstairs to the tastefully decorated lounge and bar area where we met our travelling companions for the next 5 weeks. There were just 7 passengers for this trip and we had lucked in with very congenial people our own age - 3 Americans, 1 New Zealander and another Canadian.
We were briefed on the rules and regulations aboard ship. Being a working ship with watches ending a 8 - 12 - 4 - 8 - 12, our mealtimes were half an hour before the end of the watch to facilitate the feeding of crew and ourselves. We had breakfast at 7:30, lunch at 11:30 and dinner at 17:30 with coffee in the morning at 10 and tea in the afternoon at 15:30.
Leaving Jacksonville, we went south along the Florida coast and around the Florida Keys into the Gulf of Mexico. Our first port of call was Houston, Texas, 3 days across the Gulf of Mexico. Actually the port is 50 miles from Houston but there are a couple of small towns close to the port. Because we were going to be unloading and loading for 24 hours, we all took advantage of the time to go into the little town of Pasedena. Texas was in the clutches of a cold front from Canada - we were quick to explain that it really started in Alaska. We were amazed to see ice on puddles on the dock-side.
The next four days sailing south through the Gulf of Mexico and into the Caribbean brought us to the outer anchorage of Cristobal on the east side of the Panama Canal. We counted about 25 other ships anchored so it was 24 hours before we got our turn to go into Limon Bay at the Port of Cristobal, pick up the Pilot and start our journey through the Panama Canal.
The ship is raised 85 feet in a continuous flight of 3 steps at Gatun Locks about 6 miles from Limon Bay into Gatun Lake. On the lake you travel about 23 miles to a very narrow passage called Gaillard Cut about 8 miles long where the Continental Divide slices through.At the end of Gallate Cut you enter Pedro Miguel Locks and are lowered 31 feet into Miraflores Lake and then lowered at the remaining 2 locks down to Port of Balboa and under the Bridges of America and out into the Pacific Ocean. This passage through from the Atlantic to the Pacific took 8 hours. The scenery was beautiful all the way through and the method of pulling us through the locks with small locomotives on both sides - fore and aft, was fascinating to watch.
The next 3 weeks found us sailing non-stop across the South Pacific. Those days were idyllic with gorgeous cloud formations, little 5 minute rain squalls and lots of sun. We were free to walk around the main deck (twice around about a mile) and up and down to the different decks. There was a small swimming pool which I thought was ridiculous the first day until someone told me to push a red button on the wall. This shot a great jet stream out that you could swim into - you could swim miles without going anywhere. There was a nice little library filled with all kinds of reference books and pocket books, next to the dining room and lounge (complete with a bar). We had access to duty free wine, spirits, chocolate bars etc.
The crew were very friendly and nice. Being a German ship, the officers were all German and the crew were mostly from the South Pacific - Polynesia or Kiribali. We were given maps and charts daily and information about our course. The Captain at one point went off course to show us 3 French islands which acted as a supply depot for the nuclear testing that was done 200 km south. We were also given information on the effects of the nuclear testing on the different South Sea Islands - rather devastating.
Five of our passengers left the ship in New Zealand at Aukland and we continued on across the Tasman Sea to Melbourne, Australia. We had 2 days in Melbourne and 3 days in Sydney. We were to have gone to Brisbane for 2 days but because we were held up in 3 places we left the ship at Sydney where we had reservations to fly to Los Angeles. These ships are working ships and can be held up occasionally so when you make reservations you should allow an extra week for such delays.
The time went by so quickly and at no time were we bored. What with reading, cribbage, bridge, movies on VCR, exercise (walking and swimming), conversation, eating and stages of complete lethargy, it's a great way to spend a holiday. We'd do it again to some other destination.
Barb Campbell is a Past-President and long-time active member of the Winnipeg Ostomy
Inside Out, 1/97.
I do hope you had a most enjoyable holiday season visiting with friends and relatives, as we all enjoy another Manitoba winter. As I write this it is clear cold minus 36 degrees Celsius overnight, but with a long forecast of much milder temperatures by mid week with lots of snow. Oh well!
A new year brings a great smorgasbord of activities for the Winnipeg Ostomy Association. January, as part of our regular monthly meeting, we will be guests of the St. Boniface Hospital Research Foundation for a tour of the facility; February, Dr. C. Yaffe will be our guest speaker; monthly meetings continue through March, April and May, and also in April, the North Central Regional Conference of the United Ostomy Association, Inc. will be held in Minneapolis. In June, probably the largest and most exciting event, the United Ostomy Association of Canada will ever undertake, the 9th World Congress of the International Ostomy Association in Calgary. Registration forms and further details for both events can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.
What I write next I do with great caution. I do not want to cause panic, but I do believe you have the right to know. This information comes from very reliable sources, however, I am unable to confirm it. The Home Care Depot on Regent Avenue, whose staff have served ostomates in Manitoba so well these many years is soon to close. I understand the closure date is March 31, 1997. Distribution of ostomy supplies after that date will be transferred to another government facility in Winnipeg. How this will impact ostomates is, at the moment unclear. I have requested a meeting with the Minister of Health in order to clarify the situation. I hope this meeting will take place very soon.
I would appreciate your input, and would ask you to put your questions and concerns on paper and either give them to me at the January meeting or mail them to:
Wiinipeg Ostomy Association
P.O. Box 1817
Winnipeg, MB. R3C 3R1
Of course by the time you read this the situation may be clarified. Hopefully whatever evolved will be most beneficial to all of us. I will keep you informed of any developments.
President, Winnipeg Ostomy Association.
On behalf of the Manitoba Enterostomal Therapy Nurses Interest Group, I would like to thank the Winnipeg Ostomy Association for their generous financial support to cover the costs of printing our teaching booklet entitled "Resuming Your Lifestyle ... With an Ostomy". These teaching resources will benefit each person requiring ostomy surgery in the province.
We have estimated for approximately a five year supply, which includes 100 Urostomy, 500 Ileostomy and 1000 Colostomy booklets. Rinella Printers has given a quotation of $1533.64 and there is a $450 credit towards our account from the Canadian Cancer Society.
As we are waiting to confirm the new location of the Manitoba Equipment Pool and Supply Depot, printing of the booklets have been delayed. Once a new address has been finalized, our booklets will be updated and ready for printing. At that time, I will have Rinella Printers send you an invoice for the remainder of the printing costs.
Please feel free to direct any questions or concerns you may have to me. Thank you again.
Chairperson, Manitoba Enterostomal Therapy Nurses Interest Group
I feel that the work that FOW does in supplying ostomy supplies to ostomates in developing countries is one of the roles at the heart of our commitment as members of an Ostomy Association.
Stan Sparkes has been acting as a local collection centre for FOW and has sent many boxes of surplus supplies to FOW Canada for distribution around the world. FOW needs our financial support to enable them to ship accumulated supplies to needy ostomates in less fortunate areas of the world.
Below is the FOW President's Annual Report from the August Annual Meeting in Boston this past summer. Reading this should give you an idea of what the organization does in Canada. The next Annual Meeting will take place in Calgary on June 15th as part of Canada Day at the IOA World Congress. Another great reason to come to Calgary in 1997.
Richard Olley, the new President of FOW Canada, has boxes of supplies in his basement, waiting for funds to ship them abroad. Let's help send those ostomy supplies overseas!
Jean Pierre Lapointe and his family in Montreal and Richard Olley and his family in Oakville continue their good work, receiving surplus supplies, sorting, packing and shipping.
Two collection and shipping centres are currently available to receive surplus ostomy supplies. They are:
S.H.A.R.E. c/o J. P. Lapointe
949 rue Pierre Lacroix
S.H.A.R.E. c/o Richard Olley
1266 Monks Passage
We have to thank Bette Yetman for her efforts in organizing the transportation for the shipment to China. This was the shipment that had been packed by the Young Adult group in Nova Scotia under the direction of Paul Tilley.
Jean Pierre organized a shipment form his collection centre in Montreal to our twin country Algeria in June.
Also in June of this year, a shipment was sent from Toronto to Hungary. This shipment was larger than we normally send because of the refugee situation in Hungary. Supplies will be given to refugees who have had ostomy surgery as well as the poor of the country.
I am grateful to all of you who have supported the work of FOW. We would not have been able to extend our hands to those in less fortunate circumstances without the genuine help from all our officers and those who organize our collection centers. To all our selfless volunteers - THANK YOU. I trust that you will continue to support FOW Canada as it continues its work in helping those in need in developing countries.
Respectfully, Di Bracken
Patients with the following ostomies were visited in September and October:
Colostomy - 5
Ileal Conduit - 0
Ileostomy - 3
Pelvic Pouch - 6
Urostomy - 2
Total = 16