from Offshore: Does Pete Buttigieg Have a Workday Like This?
by Eva Murray – Tuesday, April 6, 2021 8:53 AM
Last Thursday was also the date scheduled for most winter islanders to get their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The crew from the Maine Seacoast Mission and the public health nurses were scheduled to fly out to administer the vaccine, but with a rainstorm expected on the planned day, that was a no-go. They scrambled to contact the whole list of people and move the event ahead a day. This change required they get to and from Monhegan by boat Wednesday morning, up the peninsula and over to the airport in Owls Head, and to then make the trip to Matinicus by air to vaccinate roughly 30 grateful people in the afternoon — and to get off the island before being stuck here by weather.
Eva Murray lives, works and writes on Matinicus Island. Full story
‘Sunbeam’ crew photo not part of original Free Press Online story.
from Offshore: An Adjusted Holiday
by Eva Murray
Tuesday, December 29, 2020 8:16 AM
The Saturday before Christmas brought a calm day — itself something special — and the Maine Seacoast Mission vessel Sunbeam to our harbor. Recently sprung from a long stay at the Front Street Shipyard in Belfast, the Sunbeam had all sorts of nice interior refits and renovations, none of which were shown off to us on account of — well, you get it.
Instead, captain and engineer, nurse and chaplain (the steward being off that day) brought cookies and hot chocolate out onto the wharf, and those of us loitering around had what you might call a tailgate party with the crew. It was a nice chance to wish a happy Christmas through our masks to Mike, Storey, Sharon and Douglas, and indirectly to Jillian who we assume baked the cookies, and to acknowledge that holiday celebrations in the time of coronavirus might still be hopeful.
The Sunbeam, with its string of Christmas lights high overhead, started away before dark having four hours yet to steam home to Mt. Desert. They left their traditional white-paper-and-red-string-wrapped presents for the littles — a custom that has lasted a century.
L-R: Island Outreach Director Douglas Cornman, Island Health Director Sharon Daley
February 2020 Volume 25, No. 2
O U T H E R E I N T H E R E A L W O R L D
by Eva Murray
The history of nursing on Matinicus Island goes way back.
Sharon is on the island.
Even those of us who are pretty convinced that we don’t need anything are on Sharon Daley’s radar. She’s the registered nurse associated with the Maine Seacoast Mission—to most of us, “the Sunbeam”—and she’s the closest thing a few islanders have to a primary care provider. Checking on her island patients she’ll often just stop by to visit, or we’ll drop by aboard the Sunbeam when they’re in the harbor, to visit with her, even if we don’t need anything. That’s how health care ought to work.
At the moment the 75’ vessel Sunbeam is in the shipyard, so our pleasant visits aboard (focused largely on steward Jillian’s cookie jar) will have to wait. The ‘Beam’s telemedicine unit, where a patient on the island—in a private area aboard the boat—can interact in real time with a physician, counselor or other provider over a high-resolution video link, has changed the nature of “isolation.” Folks who don’t go to the mainland much can have greater access to medical care and advice than ever before. Still, a videoconference is not the same as a conversation with a human being, particularly when that human is a trusted friend, an experienced nurse who knows a thing or two about the real world.
Jillian (Photo courtesy Eva Murray/Pen Bay Pilot)
Pen Bay Pilot
Without an Agenda: Talking with the Crew of the ‘Sunbeam’ Pt 2
By Eva Murray – Tuesday, April 2, 2019
…Sunbeam steward Jillian…. [H]er domain is the galley, from where she feeds crew and visitors alike. Sometimes islanders are invited aboard for supper, but all through the day working islanders stop in for coffee break and to raid the famous cookie jar.
You don’t have to have an identified need to come aboard and be helped to feel good, and that’s largely the responsibility of the cook. The sense of community helped along by a good meal is not lost on Jillian….
“Seven years ago we started our regular community supper in Cherryfield, and for seven years every Sunday we’ve served a free meal. I just learned the value of just sitting with your neighbor and eating at a big table. People love to come together. Providing a meal for people is an honor and I love the simplicity of it.”
I said to Jillian, “Your role and the role of every steward before you has been larger than your bosses may know. You’re not just here to support the crew, but you’re here to support us all in an abstract sense. You provide the service that is the hardest to measure.”
She replied, with a grin “Not really—you cut a pie into eight pieces!”
Mission Island Health Director Sharon Daley, RN. (Photo courtesy Eva Murray)
Pen Bay Pilot
Without an Agenda: talking with the crew of the ‘Sunbeam’ – Part 2
By Eva Murray – Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 – 1:45pm
I brought up how March on an island has classically been considered the hardest time, and asked, “Do you see a seasonal impact on people in terms of depression?”
Sharon’s reply was particularly interesting to me, and it defied the stereotype of the “long lonely winter.”
“I see August as also being hard for people on all the islands.” (Hearing these words from her made me smile, as I personally feel the stress of the intensely busy summer much more acutely than any stress from a low population, even though that issue gets little media attention in Maine). “The population on every island doubles (or more,) and everybody’s working really hard, and having so many people around always needing a lot of things can be really hard. By August, people are ready for it to be quieter.”
I could have hugged her. We hear a lot about the impacts on mood and mental health of isolation and long winters, but less about the sense of being overwhelmed, overworked, or “always on call” during a Maine coast summer.