Kindra Arnesen was granted security clearence from BP to attend meetings and this is her report of what she witnessed...
Fisherman's wife breaks the silence
By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN
June 3, 2010 7:49 a.m. EDT
Venice, Louisiana (CNN) -- Kindra Arnesen's husband often calls while he's out on a shrimping trip, so she wasn't surprised to hear her cell phone ring the night of April 29 while he was on an overnight fishing expedition.
However, this time, her husband, David, wasn't calling to tell her about the day's catch or to wish their children Aleena and David Jr. a good night. He was calling to tell her he was sick, and the strange thing about it, so were men on the seven other shrimping boats working near his.
"I received several calls from him saying, 'This one's hanging over the boat throwing up. This one says he's dizzy, and he's feeling faint. Everybody's loading up their stuff, tying up their rigs and going back to the docks,'" Arnesen remembers.
Arnesen believes it was vapors from the oil and the dispersants from the BP Gulf oil disaster that made her husband and the other shrimpers sick. She says they were downwind of it, and the smell was "so strong they could almost taste it."
en 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"
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.
"Am I scared? Yes," she said. "Anything that ever starts, starts with one. And if I have to be the one then I have to be the one," she says.