Southwest Florida Yachts


Dream On. Really.
y Barb Hansen
February 1, 2006

Isn’t it funny how you can be on top of the world one day and as low as low can go the next?  Actually, in real life it’s not so funny.

Late in 2004 Dave Jossi came to our offices at Southwest Florida Yachts and told me his story.

In 1997, he was on top of the world. Not only did he have a great job with a fast-paced, high-stress (and top-dollar) firm in Washington, DC, he also played as hard as he worked. He rode horses, raced down ski slopes, dove on reefs and wrecks, hopped mountain bikes down rocky trails. You get the picture.

Although not a boater, Dave was interested in boating. “I really wanted our family to get involved in boating but my wife was opposed from the beginning. Every time the subject was raised she would laugh and say that it would never work since, she claimed, she got seasick walking across a wet lawn.”

That summer, however, Dave’s life changed forever. In mid-July, he came down with what seemed to be a bad case of the flu. But he also noticed a rash on the back of his leg. Not one but two physicians assured him that it was caused by a simple spider bite.

A month later, in Houston on business, he awoke and realized that the left side of his face was paralyzed. Worried he might end up hospitalized far from home, Dave took the next flight to Washington. Now the diagnosis was Bell’s Palsy.

His condition continued to deteriorate. He began experiencing excruciating back pain and double vision. This time Dave’s physician accurately diagnosed his condition as a severe case of Lyme disease and put him in the hospital. Tests showed that the disease had spread to his central nervous system.

Industrial strength IV antibiotics helped alleviate the worst of his symptoms but his struggle really had just begun. With unrelenting back pain and severe fatigue Dave found the demands of the job he once found so challenging to now be overwhelming. Determined not to give up without a struggle, however, he hung on for an entire year before it became obvious to everyone, even himself, that he simply wasn’t up to the task.

Once on disability Dave focused all his remaining energy on finding physicians who he hoped might resolve his mounting physical problems. His initial efforts led to an expert in pain management who was able to bring the excruciating pain in his spine under control using an intrathecal pump. Implanted in the abdomen, the pump supplies a steady and strong stream of pain medication to the base of his spine.

He continued to seek medical help for his condition. Expert after expert told him that his symptoms were beyond their experience and that there was little they could do for him. He did his very best to maintain a positive attitude despite these setbacks until the truly crushing blow came. His wife of 28-years announced that she was “running away from home at age 47.”  She could no longer handle the pressure of watching him deteriorate day after day.

His life collapsing around him, Dave was desperate to find something positive to help him regain some sense of hope. That was when the dream of owning a boat came back to him.

Despite being bed-ridden for long periods, Dave had no problem learning more about boating through books, magazines and the Internet. He discovered our website and set up an appointment.

When he visited, Dave told me about his boating dream. I explained he would need to gain practical experience through courses, boat clubs, chartering or purchasing a small, easily-managed boat. With that base of knowledge plus a firm idea of what he wanted, it would be time to seek the services of a broker to help him find the right boat.

First things first. In December, 2004 Dave completed two back to back courses, a six-day liveaboard session with our Captain Greg Corsones, Powerboat 101 and Powerboat 102 at Florida Sailing & Cruising School. Through the course Dave got practical docking, handling and cruising experience. He loved it and he was a star. His dream was transforming to reality.

My star student visited us again late in 2005. He was even more hooked on boating than before and we talked about taking his boating dream to the next step.

There’s more to Dave’s story, and his boating dream, which we’ll bring to you in another View from the Marina column. Will he stay hooked on boating? Will he buy a boat? Stay tuned.

Click here to visit out Sailing School website!

Southwest Florida Yachts
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W

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