May 3, 2016 Coast Guard, Sailing, York River

Sailing to Bahrain

Sailing Before Bahrain

Before he ships out to Bahrain near Saudi Arabia this summer, US Coast Guard Chief Chris Cisneros and his wife Tamara vacationed in Williamsburg and took a leisurely sail along the York River on a warm spring afternoon. It was warm enough to feel like we were sailing to Bahrain. First he’ll spend a month in special ops training at a base in Moyock, North Carolina, just over the Virginia border. Chris is a medic in the Coast Guard.

Sailing to BahrainTamara is a pharmacist with Walgreens who’s working on a specialty store that will handle HIV meds training. She explained to me the effects Oxycontin (a.k.a. Oxycodone), which is used to control pain and is highly addictive. I asked if pharmacists can spot a sketchy addict who approaches the counter.

“They want to get the prescription filled right away. ‘Do I really have to wait 15 minutes?’ they’ll ask. Or the prescription will be from an out-of-state doctor. Florida is typical. Or they pay cash. We tell them they’ll have to wait so we can verify the script. ‘What do you mean? It’s from my doctor! I need it quickly.”

I learned that your meds follow you around. “Virginia has a database with your identification so that as you move from pharmacy to pharmacy, we can track your history. We can track doctors too. I had one doctor who was writing 4,000 pain prescriptions a year when suddenly it went to 400,000 a year. She lost her license and got five years in prison.”

Sailing to BahrainEven though the pharmacy consumes only 10% of a given Walgreens, Tamara says it generates up to 60% of the gross revenues in each store. “It’s never less than 50%.”

Tamara ran the helm effortlessly despite fluky winds that required constant attention. We sailed over to Yorktown to see the Polynesian voyager canoe that’s here on a circumnavigation of the globe. Up close, it looked pretty rickety and hardly seaworthy for the Pacific Ocean and the other five.

Given their surname and Chris’s roots in Texas, I couldn’t resist asking him, “What ever happened to Henry Cisneros?” He was the famous mayor of San Antonio who was Secretary of Housing & Urban Development for President Clinton in the 1990s. “He’s my father’s second cousin. We don’t see much of him.”

As we headed back to port, I couldn’t help admire these two young people for serving their nation and our society in important ways.

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Sailing to Bahrain

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