Our port chaplain was asked to drive a seafarer to the doctor the other day. The seafarer had complained of abdominal soreness and swelling as well as chest pains. While waiting at the doctor's office, the seafarer confided to the port chaplain that his aunt had died of cancer one month ago and last week his uncle died of cancer too. Given this medical history in the family and the fact that he had a wife and two small daughters to support, the seafarer started on a rigorous weight lifting regimen. He apparently strained some muscles, but lacking any medical facilities at sea, the seafarer was left to imagine that the abdominal swelling was a cancerous tumer.
His imagination turned to anxiety and severre indigestion. The doctor diagnosed simple gastritis and prescribed Pepto Bismol. Before returning to the ship, the seafarer and the port chaplain talked some more. The port chaplain suggested that homesickness, grief, anxiety and unsupervised weight lifting probably were taking their toll, and she prescribed rest and prayer. The seafarer needed to remain calm and take one day at a time. He asked her to pray for himand his family as well as the ship and the crew.
Your generous donation enables our port chaplains to be present for seafarers as a good listener, a good advisor and, of course, a chauffeur. Thank you so much.