I took the Spouse to a routine doctor’s appointment the other day. This doc has seen me before as well, though it has been a while. Spouse and I both got our annual flu shot, from the doctor himself. (rare.)
While being examined, the doc chatted with us and asked me several questions about the recent hurricanes. As we talked, I mentioned that…
…I was recruited by several response organizations to go to Puerto Rico to work in providing disaster relief. I know the people, speak the language, and have been there many times before.
The doc stopped cold and said, “are you kidding? No way, José!”
I explained that I was not recruited for Hurricane José which was out in the Atlantic. But the doc didn’t get it. He went on to lecture me about how hard he and other doctors have worked to stabilize my chronic intestinal condition and that I cannot tolerate the environment and hardships there.
Yeah, I understand. I am disappointed, but not surprised. I am no Spring Chicken. My intestines flare up at the slightest provocation with change of diet, water, and stress.
And trust me — having worked in Puerto Rico after two other major hurricanes in 1989 and 1998 — I completely understand what the hardship assignment would be like. In fact, in 1989 after a month of only rice and beans to eat, I suffered a severe intestinal blockage that had to be relieved by a surgical intervention in a hospital. So yeah, I get it.
Anyway, I calmed the doc by explaining that while my heart was saying one thing, my reality was that I understood my situation and declined the requests to work on a hardship assignment.
Then he began to relax and chatter some more. I happened to mention my Crazy-Awesome motorcycle adventure in Utah this summer.
Woops… he freaked out again.
Life is short: apply the old adage “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to beg for permission.”