When David Arnesen reported that the other men were so sick they were cutting their shrimping trips short and heading home, his wife knew something strange was happening. Shrimpers work through illness, she says, because a trip cut short can cost a shrimper thousands of dollars.
She says the men had all the same symptoms at the same time — vomiting, dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath. Could it be a coincidence?
“I don’t believe in coincidence. It would be one thing if one of them got sick. It would maybe be OK if two got sick,” she says. “When everyone’s getting sick all at the same time, that’s not coincidence”
When asked at a news conference Sunday about people getting sick while out on the Gulf, BP CEO Tony Hayward had his own theory.
“Food poisoning is clearly a big issue,” HE said. “It’s something we’ve got to be very mindful of.”
Arnesen says there’s no way her husband and the men on the other boats had fallen victim to food poisoning, noting the men were on eight boats and didn’t eat the same food.
The night her husband became ill, Arnesen says, she tried to get him to come home like the other shrimpers, but he refused. He stayed out fishing from 6 p.m. until 9 a.m. the next morning, and came home so sick he collapsed into his recliner without eating dinner or saying hello to her or the children.
“It’s a nasty cough. I literally woke him up over and over again,” she says. “It didn’t sound like he was getting enough air.
At first, David refused to see a doctor, but after three weeks of coughing and feeling weak, he agreed to go. His wife says he was diagnosed with respiratory problems and prescribed medicines, including an antibiotic and cough medicines.
She says while he’s feeling better, he still doesn’t have the energy he used to have.
“Here we are over a month later and he’s still not completely well,” she says.