Let’s face it: Some people have more exciting jobs than others. When you combine that with exciting sailing, it’s energizing.
Brittany Luth and Amy Meadors of Richmond took a Saturday off on a “mom-cation” from their husbands and kids. We sailed in brisk winds of 12 mph, tacking down the York River all the way to Goodwin Island at the end of the river. Amy was a champ on the helm and got the rhythm of it immediately. I asked if she played golf, and sure enough she did. Brittany was apprehensive about heeling to 15 degrees, so I shorted the genoa to reduce pressure and increase stability.
Both women are LPNs, for Licensed Practical Nurse. You could tell they are best friends because they finished each other’s sentences. Amy works in a private practice specializing in ENT, which stands for Eyes, Nose and Throat. Brittany works on the transplant team at Henrico Doctors Hospital.
How Transplants Work
“We focus on liver and kidney transplants. We used to do heart transplants, but the heart surgeon left and went to Bon Secours. Last week we had 22 people involved in a chain of potential kidney donors. Let’s say an altruistic donor starts a chain to donate his kidney. He gets 21 other people involved, and we screen them for multiple factors of compatibility and health. At the precise time we need the kidney we take the best one.
“We have a good survival rate out to five years.You have to keep in mind that a transplant doesn’t cure you of the underlying disease or condition. You still have diabetes, but you don’t have to be on dialysis anymore. That’s still good because otherwise you’d have only five years left to live on dialysis.
“We started work on the same day at MCV Hospital, in the ICU Medical wing. They have ICU for heart, neurosurgery, pediatric, neonatal and stroke. Medical gets everything else besides those. MCV probably has 900 beds. Henrico Doctors has around 500. We do 50 to 75 transplants a year compared to MCV, which has already done 372 so far this year.”
An LPN is just shy of a doctor. “We have seven or eight years of study behind us, four years undergraduate for RN and three to four years specializing. We’re not doctors. They know more than we do. They should know more than we do.”
Amy got to talking how the heeling of the boat to 15 degrees compared to bigger ships.
“I was with my dad on a cruise ship when for some reason it started listing 10 degrees. I thought it was going to capsize but he kept reading his book. He’s an airplane pilot, so nothing fazes him. At 10 degrees, we could hear glasses and china crashing off of the dining room tables. People were screaming. It was pretty scary.” On a much smaller boat like ours, 10-15 degrees was exhilarating—at least for Amy.
Once we reached Goodwin Island, Amy tacked 180 degrees and we switched from a close reach to a beam-to-broad reach. That flattened out the boat in a hurry, where it remained for the next hour or so as we worked our way back to Sarah Creek.
Let’s Go Sail
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