I didn’t start off this way, though I did rationalize. Too much introspection, as usual. Live! Just live!
From August 28th through September 4th, Lin and I cruised aboard the Norwegian Star, from Seattle to Seattle with Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Victoria, B.C., all in between.
Lin has always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise. I didn’t like the idea of a large liner, having grown to love the Windstar Cruise Line and the always less than 250 passengers. This cruise would have 2,500 + passengers, including about 60 people on a CME (Continuing Medical Education) voyage as members of the Fountain Valley Community Hospital family, doctors and nurses and their families. This time, I would be one of the lecturers and I would be getting paid $250 to explain, “What the Primary Care Physician Needs to Know About Chronic Kidney Disease.” This vulture, circling above my head, was a self-imposed burden, when the warning came out that the CME program was short of lecturers and I, foolishly, volunteered. Of course, my spot on the program was at the very end! The lucky lecturers would be over in the first day or two. I had to wait until the very last day, the very last lecture. Well, I’m the expert, and no one has been in Orange County longer, and I could always pull rank, and I was reminded of what a fifth grade school teacher said about me. “You have the gift of gab.” I suppose that was a recommendation that I become a used car dealer, or a siding salesman, or maybe a comedian. I was then thinking about whether I should become a lawyer or a doctor, and I had an uncle doing each, but after a summer with the lawyer, I decided, by default, that I would be a doctor. I have been swimming upstream ever since, a lawyer in a white coat, looking for windmills to joust. Perhaps that isn’t the best way to make such a momentous choice, but that was the kind of thought going through my mind as I boarded the ship carrying notes, my laptop and a textbook, with little idea of what I was really going to say, but a wonderful indifference to whether or not I would impress a bunch of doctors at a hospital staff I rarely visited, and with a medical practice that was so small, and so poorly insured, that any prospect of gaining a referral by what I might say was dismissed as fantasy. I had nothing to lose, and a business cruise with my beautiful wife to gain. Furthermore, I had no expectations of the cruise. Too many people. Too big a ship. And, Alaska, superficially skimmed, when all I really wanted was to see Northwest Indian Art and bald eagles! No imagination, either.
Maybe it was remembering 2001 when another planned Alaskan CME cruise was cut short by Lin’s emergency laparascopic cholecystectomy, followed by a convalescence and a drive up Interstate 5 to Gazelle, CA, at the foot of Mount Shasta, and a stay with my medical school friend, Vic, our best man, and Carol. A very small group, and a very relaxed pace. And no lectures to give.
Lin and I have said, many times, that it hardly mattered where we went, as long as we were together, and we could enjoy the scenery, the people watching, the food, and the absence of responsibilities. The phone would not ring and the pager would not go off.
This was the setting for the trip. And I wrote this on Word and “saved” as I went, so this will be my re-entry vehicle.