NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME — Getting to the islands without the Sunbeam V has been a challenge in many ways. We have met those challenges with a lot of help from many people. This includes help with transportation (boats, planes or cars), and with places to stay, phones, internet use, and numerous other things.
How I worked flu clinics recently on six islands is a good example. The flu clinics happen when people get there, not by appointment.
For example, before or after going out to haul. If I am there, I am available. With no Sunbeam I set up at town offices, libraries, and homes.
One day I held flu clinics on four islands. Isle au Haut island was the first. Without my office aboard the Sunbeam I used the IAH town hall for the clinic.
After leaving IAH on the Mission’s temporary replacement boat, Moonbeam, we went to Frenchboro, setting up a clinic in the library.
From Frenchboro we went in the afternoon to Great Cranberry. I was met by someone who drove me to on home visits for people unable to come to the clinic. After that, we set up for a flu clinic at the Cranberry House.
The large turnout meant I was going to run out of flu vaccines, and I still had one island to go. After many phone calls to MDI Hospital, Carroll Drug Store, and the Mount Desert Nursing Association I found more vaccines. This was a team effort of people willing to think outside the box and go out of their way to be helpful.
Of course, I located the vaccines while I was on an island and the vaccines were on the mainland. But we figured out how to get it from Southwest Harbor. Storey King, the Moonbeam Captain, dropped me on Islesford and headed to Southwest Harbor, picked up the vaccine, and brought it back to me.
We held a very successful evening flu clinic, helped again by islanders who posted information, signed in people, fed me a wonderful dinner, and put me up for the night.
Because of the storm that night power went out and boats were canceled. But as the wind died down a bit, a lobsterman headed to NE Harbor let me catch a ride back to the mainland.
Written by Island Health Services Director Sharon Daley, RN