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Irregular Stewardess
Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 5:49 PM
Dear Crew Confessor,

The other day while going over receipts from the past month with the chef, there were several times, on multiple receipts that she had circled certain items and then noted that they had been reimbursed by the stewardess. Not terribly uncommon, if there is something in particular a crew member needs (that's not covered by the boat) they'll often ask the chef or chief stewardess to purchase it for them and then pay it back later. We were so busy the past few months this did not surprise me. What did make me scratch my head and get me to worry was what the item was: Ladies Correctol! At first I wasn't sure what it was, but the chef confirmed my guess that it's a laxative. What had me staggered was the quantity. Enough Ladies Correctol to fix a constipated elephant! I asked if the entire crew was having this, er, problem and she laughed nervously and said no, it appears to be confined to this particular stewardess. She was going through a box or more a day!

Then the chef, who shares a cabin and head with this particular stewardess told me that she has had some concerns about her eating habits. I've noticed that she doesn't eat regular meals very often with the rest of the crew, usually just salads without dressing, but we've been so busy I hadn't paid this much notice. The chef then told me that she'll often eat enormous amounts of desserts and biscuits. This I wasn't aware of. I joined the yacht this winter and kept most of the crew that was onboard as they seemed to all be doing their jobs quite well and the owner expressed his contentment with them. The laxative chomping stewardess is quite skinny but has always struck me as a high strung type with a lot of nervous energy. She has often gone above and beyond her normal duties to the point of absurdity. I've told her time and again that she need not clean my cabin or make my bed yet over and over again I find she's gone into my cabin and done just that. We've been crazy busy and even if we were not I do not, and never will expect a co-worker to clean my cabin and make my bed!

The chief stew had to tell her to stop changing the sheets every single day, it is not practical on this boat. She was found one morning at 3 AM ironing the sheets. Her behavior strikes me as being rather over the top. Now this revelation about the over the top laxative consumption and odd eating habits really has me worrying. She's a very hard worker and the owner and his family thinks she's terrific.

What say you Crew Confessor? Should I be worried? I've never heard of women eating all these laxatives, is it an American thing?

Just A Regular Captain with an Irregular Stew
Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 6:02 PM
Your stewardess has an eating disorder. These disorders affect  young women worldwide.  Laxative addiction is common and dangerous.  Your stewardess should see a specialist doctor before she hurts herself.
Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 8:28 PM
Joined: 09/01/2009
Posts: 21

My suspicion is that she’s using heavy drugs.

You have given several clues that are a dead give away. They are:

1.       Excessive use of laxatives. All Narcotics have a strong side effect of causing constipation. My son was prescribed narcotics and laxatives after a recent surgery. His doctor commented that constipation is the only side effect of Narcotics that the body doesn’t “correct” for, so narcotics users will always have problems with constipation.

2.       Very thin. This is a very common side effect on Narcotics. Look at her fingers, elbow and other joints to see if the skin around them is a shade or two darker. It may be hardly noticeable, but this is a tell-tale sign of narcotics, but be careful since other things can cause this too.

3.       Not eating full meals. Another common side effect, especially if they feel like they’re fat. The drugs make it so they don’t have to eat. But I suspect that at times narcotics interferes with eating for a while, which is why I suspect they binge eat later.

4.       Binge Eating. I know this is common with meth and speed. When they come down they are VERY hungry so they binge on what will give them the most energy quickly—sugar. In fact, the term "meth mouth" because so many meth users loose their teeth. They believe this is caused by 1) not eating for long periods of time and 2) when they do eat, they eat large amounts of sugar. Both these things can cause rapid tooth decay.

5.       Nervousness, Twitchieness. Another common tell-tale of long-term users is the “worms under the skin” sort of feeling, causing them to always be rubbing whatever area they get the sensation in. Observe her to see how often she is “itching” or rubbing some part of herself. If she’s always, hyper and doing this, she has been a user for a long time…like a year or more.

6.    Yet, tons of energy and OCD about her job. Where speed gets its name. But many other narcotics will do the exact same thing…like meth, (was once commonly used by truckers to keep them on the road all day and all night, also used by the Nazi tank crews during the Blitzkrieg.)



Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2009 2:37 AM
Whats the scoop on her poop?
Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2009 3:43 AM

What do you mean it's irregular to clean the cpt's room and make the bed daily or everyother day? I thought that was normal, darn bast***s.

This woman reminds me of a woman at a crew house in 2006. She was from the NE US.  Ate lots of fruit and salads with no dressing as well, went to the bathroom and had "irregular issues "which woke me up constantly.  She was the very reason why I and a Brit woman had asked Ginny of the Neptunes if I/she could switch rooms or move to another place. 

This woman was the very reason [content removed by moderator] that I was no longer welcomed at Neptunes after twice registering there with no problems.   I remember this woman very well. I don't believe was a part of the yachting community at the time. Her name started with an S if that rings a bell, but I'm assuming it's not the same woman. A very sad situation indeed.  Your stew  needs help, and if she's a good worker, then perhaps you the captain can have a talk with her about these concerns. Don't know for sure if that's no so swell advice. Good luck.

Posted: Friday, April 10, 2009 4:36 AM
The captain and everyones else should just forget about it. Hard enough to get a job when you're thin and gorgeous, have to do whatever is necessary. We've all been to intervews when we're told we only have uniforms in a size 4 or 6. IF get the job it's understood that you cannot ever ask for a larger size. I have a right to do what I feel is necessary to look the way I want, and the way this industry demands that I look. So if I have to make myself throw up (personally hate that method, bad for the teeth), or take eat a lot of laxatives it's no ones business but my own. Leave the beeitch alone.
Posted: Friday, April 10, 2009 5:55 PM
Joined: 27/11/2008
Posts: 3

Good lord, buy this girl a cheeseburger and make her take a disco nap! Seriously, she's most likely a speed freak, first and foremost. And she's probably using laxatives to prevent weight gain. You should definitely call her out on this stuff, for her own benefit and for that of yours. Because in the long run, if this behavior goes unchecked she's going to get so strung out she'll be useless. I speak from experience: in a land job, I used to have two employees who were hooked on meth and had to ultimately fire them. They went from happy, good, cool people (and great workers) to untrustworthy degenerates who showed up late, fell asleep on the job, started looking like crap and even robbed from the owner to keep feeding their habit. Sad.

Posted: Friday, April 10, 2009 7:08 PM
I think this stew definitely has some type of disorder or food issues but don't think you can jump to the conclusion she's on drugs. That's just assuming the worst with no evidence. I know it is very common to abuse laxatives have known girls who have done this as a way to control weight and in fact the lady of the yacht I work on has the same problem, also with the no dressing thing then bingeing on fatty foods etc. People with eating disorders usually have some type of OCD or control issues and I think this associated behaviour you describe doesn't seem that strange considering the issues. Oh and another thing, on 2 yachts I've worked on it was the job of the stews to clean the captains cabin daily and the sheets weekly, and make coffee, snacks and cut hair etc... maybe this is what she's used to and just aiming to please while she fights her own personal demons.
Posted: Saturday, April 11, 2009 2:47 AM
Joined: 09/01/2009
Posts: 21

No, saying the chef was on drugs would be blaming someone of drug use with no evidence. But to say there is no evidence to suggest that the stew is using illicit drugs is like saying someone is a virgin when they are pregnant. Sure you actually didn't SEE the girl get pregnant, but exactly how do you explain her current state of being?

Don't be so nieve.

The suspiscion is there but it's easy to get proof. She'll be getting a drug test soon and then there will be no doubt in anyone's mind why she's either on leave for drug rehab or fired.  

Amy van Loo
Posted: Saturday, April 11, 2009 2:36 PM
Joined: 08/09/2008
Posts: 1

I don't usually bother contributing to these forums but this time I just can't bite my tongue. I know all too well the stresses that come with being a busy stewardess INCLUDING bordering on work-a-holic and worrying about the way you look. I feel really sad that this girls emotional & physical well-being is being criticised so publicly and I would suggest to the "Regular Captain" this... Seek advice from a medical physician or someone who genuinely knows what they are talking about NOT a bunch of grotty yachties who think they know everything about everything. [comment removed by moderator]
Crew Confessor
Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009 6:35 PM
Joined: 20/11/2008
Posts: 94

Dear Regular Captain,

This is a very disturbing situation you find yourself in and I am very concerned about the well being of your stewardess. I am not a physician and thought it best that a medical doctor be consulted. I contacted Dr. Liana Clark, MD, MSCE, for her opinion and advice. Dr. Clark has special expertise in this area, having specialized in teenage medicine for a number of years, an age group especially prone to eating disorders.

This is what Dr. Clark had to say.

"This is a disturbing and dangerous situation you have here. Your stewardess has an eating disorder. Eating disorders can take many forms, simple starvation, bulimia (eating and then forcing oneself to vomit), and the use of laxatives are all methods and symptoms of the same problem.

Eating disorders affect a large number of women and an increasing number of men these days. And it definitely sounds like this woman has some degree of an eating disorder. Without more information, however, it is hard to tell whether she is truly an anorexic, a bulimic, or somewhere in the middle. When people think of women with anorexia nervosa they generally think of the restricting type: you know the ones who do not eat, overexercise and are thin as a rail but constantly believe they are fat. Yet there are groups of anorexics who will eat but will also use compensatory measures like laxatives or vomiting to get rid of the food they eat. This group is also considered anorexic, but the binge-purge type.

What many people do not know is the feature that defines someone as having bulimia nervosa is not the fact that she throws up or uses laxatives, but is instead her binging. Their binge episodes need to occur at least three times a week for at least two months in order to truly qualify as bulimia nervosa. Now how people deal with the aftermath of the binge episodes puts them into the category of either the purgers who use laxatives or vomit to get rid of the calories or the exercisers/restrictors that will either overexercise or restrict their intake to compensate for the excess calories.

Interesting differences between the two groups are that anorexics are generally exceedingly thin, have no menstrual periods and show other features of consistent with starvation. Yet bulimics, on the other hand, tend to be not quite so thin and are often normal-ish in weight. However, their binging is due to compulsivity. They just cannot seem to help themselves. As such, you often see many other behaviors in women who have bulimia nervosa. There is often a lot of risk-taking behavior, drug and alcohol use, and they could be sexually promiscuous. Mood disorders like anxiety and depression are also features of bulimia nervosa. They are looking for sensation in any way they can find it. On the other hand, the anorexic is more of the good girl, a little miss perfect. Sex, drugs, drinking, and risks are not her speed. In fact, she really dislikes close contact or intimacy. It may take her some time, if she has a significant other, to allow him or her to become intimate with her.

Now the other interesting thing about this young woman is that she is showing some signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder as well. This compulsion to get up in the middle of the night, clean up, and make the beds even when she is being told not to, speaks to OCD. While this OCD could be a separate disorder, many experts in eating disorders have considered eating disorders to be essentially OCD related to food.

The net of it is that this young woman has a problem. And the really hard part is getting her to acknowledge that there is a problem she needs to deal with. While someone is in the grips of an eating disorder, they are essentially delusional. With my teen patients, it was easier to work around them during their delusions because they were brought to my office by their parents. Yet, once you are dealing with an adult who has the right to decide whether she wants treatment, you are dealing with a whole other kettle of fish. In approaching these young women, I do not start by telling them how beautiful they are or how they are not fat and do not need to lose weight. These are the typical things we think of when we go to approach a person who has eating issues, but they are not very helpful to the person in crisis.

Instead, I try to approach them from two directions. First is to let them know how they are affecting their health. Now in my office this can be accomplished by showing them their abnormal heart rate or an abnormal EKG that they have, and suddenly something they are doing that they feel is not a big deal becomes a big deal. The other approach I will make is about the obsession. Those who are struggling with this disorder are constantly obsessing about food, whether it is what they cannot eat or what they should not eat or how to avoid eating... no matter what it is, it all relates to food in some way. There is never a normal moment where they can go to a movie, just relax and watch the movie because they are worried about whether they should have the popcorn but that would be too many calories, but if they do not eat it, will their date think that something is wrong with them and down the path they go. So I will ask them how cool it would be to enjoy the freedom just to be normal again around food. I ask them to try to remember those days, way back when, where food was not occupying every waking moment of their lives. I work to help them recognize that with treatment, they can get more and more moments where the food chatter in their heads is not so loud and they can get peace.

It is a tough road and not everybody succeeds. Twenty-five percent of those with anorexia nervosa have poor outcomes. People with bulimia nervosa tend to have better outcomes as long as they do not have many other behaviors that interfere with their treatment. But the key is that they have to get into treatment and stick with it."

Dr. Clark has made the seriousness of this situation abundantly clear.

It is obvious that your stewardess needs professional care. Speak with your management company (if you have one) the owner if you don't and discuss what the options are. If she has health insurance through the yacht I'd have a look at the policy and see if it covers this sort of treatment, and then offer her a "sabbatical" where she will be able to get the treatment she needs. The abuse of drugs may also be an issue as Dr. Clark pointed out. She may well resist such treatment, but the need for professional treatment is not negotiable and you will have little choice but to terminate her employment and sever ties with the yacht.

Lastly, and this may not be popular with some of my readers, if she is resistant to the proposal for treatment I would consider contacting her family and discussing the situation with them. It won't make you Captain Popular but it may just save her life.

Your Crew Confessor
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009 3:05 AM
Someone could actually die from doing this? I've known girls on boats who ate like rabbits and I'm pretty sure they might have been making themselves throw up after eating lots of leftover desserts. Didn't know this could kill'em. Do guys ever do this??
 Average 5 out of 5