Why I Didn’t Run in Hawai’i (part one)

Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian Islands

To be sure, I did run, and I’ll get to that, but certainly not as much as I had planned. Since we, being my wife and I, were already on the west coast for my daughter’s graduation, we felt, “why not extend our trip a few days, and have a real vacation”. We decided to take a trip to Hawai’i. Never having been there before, we decided to visit the “big island”, because of the opportunities for adventure. It took a bit of reading to find there are two main airports on Hawai’i, in it’s capitol Hilo, and in Kona. Yes, Kona, the home of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship. Kona is also the more touristy of the cities on Hawai’i, with more hotels, restaurants and bars than Hilo, and it is where we decided to stay. Our flight from San Diego took us eastward first to Phoenix, then we changed planes for Kona. We left San Diego at 6:30 AM, and arrived in Kona at 2:40 PM, a total of eleven hours travel time. It’s not a quick trip. The arrival in Kona, though, is other-worldly, though, as the plane descends over barren lava fields to the airport. Once on the ground, we we disembarked the old fashioned way, by a stairway rolled out on the tarmac. I felt like waving as I stepped through the doorway of the plane onto the stairs. The terminal itself is completely outdoors. No walls, just open air, with some overhead coverage for rain. Exotic looking plants and flowers were in abundance around the terminal. We collected our bags and rented our car without a problem. It was a short drive to Kona and to our hotel. We stayed at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. This hotel is built on grounds of the royal court from the time of King Kamehameha I. It faces a beach, a rebuilt temple of the royal residence, and a pier. The first room they gave us did face the water but was adjacent to a busy street and parking area. They were kind enough to move us to a different room which was much more what I had in mind, overlooking the beach and a grassy area surrounded by palm trees.

View from our balcony, King Kamehameha hotel

View from our balcony, King Kamehameha hotel

While we had investigated the various things to do on the island, we had not yet made any plans. So, once settled, we began making some reservations. This island is the home of the famous Kona Coffee, and we put visiting a coffee plantation on the list. Most dominant on the island are the two major mountains, both volcanos, and both reaching close to 14,000 feet high. The higher of the two, Mauna Kea, is the home of the largest observatory in the world. There are a number of zip line opportunities, through rain forests and over waterfalls. Hawai’i is known for the opportunity to see giant manta rays doing ballet on nighttime snorkeling boat trips. Of course, there is Volcano National Park. With five days to get this all in, it took a lot of calling, reserving spots, and adjusting plans when one tour was filled and we had to shift things around. While I had the job of getting us to the island and finding a hotel, my wife, Kat, handled most of the engineering of the schedule. I should add, all these touristy things do not come cheap. We anticipated that, and while there are plenty of free or reasonable things to do in Hawai’i, organized activities are expensive, but, as we found, very much worth it.

The next morning I awoke feeling frisky and ready to run. I got out at 6:00, which was no problem given Hawai’i is three hours behind west coast time. There are few roads on which to run, so I followed the path most of the runners in this area seem to take, which is along Ali’i road, which runs south along the coastline from Kona. The road is narrow, but does have a shoulder/bike lane, and there were other runners along the route. It is a beautiful route, since there are frequent areas where the waves crashing against the lava rocks are in view. Getting out early, it wasn’t too warm, about 74˚F, but it was very humid.  I ran out a bit past the 2.5 mile mark, then turned around and ran back.  The road is undulating, with a few hills of significance over that distance.

Ocean view while running along the Ali'i Highway

Ocean view while running along the Ali’i Highway

Another beach view along Ali'i Highway

Another beach view along Ali’i Highway

Big Island Running Company

Big Island Running Company

End of the run, quite sweaty.

End of the run, quite sweaty.

After running, I took a quick shower and joined my wife for breakfast at Honu’s, the hotel restaurant.  It is such a temptation to want to fill one’s plate with every tasty item available at hotel breakfast buffets.  I held the line at a made-to-order omelet, a mini Belgian waffle with coconut syrup and blueberries, loads of pineapple, and coffee.  I may have added a few other items as well….  After breakfast we headed out for the coffee plantation.  While there are several dozen on the island which give tours, we chose Mountain Thunder.  It had been featured on an episode of “Dirty Jobs”, and it was located high up Mauna Loa.  It also grows organic coffee, and seemed like a good bet.  We not only took a tour of the coffee growing and roasting operation, we arranged to roast our own organic Kona coffee.

Here is our bucket of 5 pounds of raw, organic Kona coffee

Here is our bucket of 5 pounds of raw, organic Kona coffee

Unto the roaster it goes.  This is a small roaster for the visitors.

Unto the roaster it goes. This is a small roaster for the visitors.

It doesn't take long to get the beans to the proper temperature.  There is a very narrow range between not roasted enough, and over done.

It doesn’t take long to get the beans to the proper temperature. There is a very narrow range between not roasted enough, and over done.

A wandering rooster with a tiki statue in the background, at the coffee plantation

A wandering rooster with a tiki statue in the background, at the coffee plantation

We found that growing and roasting coffee, at least here, is a very “hands-on” job.  The trees are very productive but take a lot of care and feeding, and as we discovered, donkey dung and the outer skins of the beans make for good fertilizer. The beans are picked by hand, since on one branch there can be many beans in different stages of ripeness.  The roasting, too, requires close attention to get the degree of roasting exactly right.  I’m sure at big operations this is all done without human intervention, but here, it was all done by well-trained and obsessive people.  In fact, we detected a note of competitiveness among the roasters, regarding who gets it exactly right.  Five pounds of raw coffee made four pounds and a bit of roasted coffee.  No doubt it’s the most expensive coffee we’ll ever buy, but looked at from the standpoint of price per cup, it still beats the local higher end coffee shop.

That afternoon, our next adventure was to head up to Mauna Kea, to go to the visitor’s center of the Mauna Kea (means “white mountain”, because it gets snow!) observatories.  The visitors’ center is at 9200 feet elevation, while the summit, with the telescopes, is at 13,796 feet.  We stopped at the visitors’ center and did not go to the summit, the drive for which a four wheel vehicle is recommended.  There are summit tours on weekends, when one can go inside one of the observatories, but during the week they are closed to visitors.  Many people do go up to the summit for the view of the sunset, but we decided to listen to the ranger’s talk at the center, and then do some viewing through the many telescopes they had set up.

Visitor's Information Center at the Mauna Kea Observatories.

Visitor’s Information Center at the Mauna Kea Observatories.  Note the winter coats.  It gets cold up here.

The ranger gave a laser guided sky tour once it got dark enough, and we saw the Southern Cross, alpha and beta centauri, and many other constellations.  We were able to get amazing views of Saturn and Jupiter through the telescopes, and a view of a star cluster called omega centauri, or “the jewel box”, because of the different colored stars.  After about two hours of viewing, and getting thoroughly chilled, we headed back to Kona.  The road to Mauna Kea is an adventure itself.  It is called Saddle Road, because it goes between Mauna Kea and Mauna Lea.  It is a very narrow, twisting, rising and falling road over bleak and dangerous looking lava fields, often with no shoulder, and with the occasional one-lane bridge.  There are signs posted regarding which car should yield when two approach these bridges.  It was challenging on the way to the mountain when it was still light out.  In the dark, it was scary.  We were told later that this road was built this way on purpose by the army, as a way to foil an enemy that might try to use it.  But, I have serious doubts about that story.

The next morning we planned to get in some snorkeling.  After another scrumptious breakfast at Honu’s (which is the Hawaiian word for sea turtle), we walked into town to rent some masks and snorkels.  Also, Kat was very interested in getting a henna tattoo.  She stopped in at Kona Henna Studio, where a delightful and artistic young woman put a very nice, temporary tattoo on her left shoulder.  I’m not sure if the side has any meaning, but it did look nice, and included a honu, which I requested.  Meanwhile, I went across the street to Boss Frog’s Dive, Surf and Bike shop to rent the gear.

The henna goes on at Kona Henna Tattoo.

The henna goes on at Kona Henna Tattoo.

Kat needed to let the henna paste dry, so she couldn’t go in the water right away.  But after a few hours she would be able to get it wet, once the paste fell off, as long as it was not in the swimming pool, since the chlorine would bleach it out.

We drove along the coast, looking for the passageways to the best snorkeling beaches as recommended by Boss Frog’s.  About thirty minutes drive down the coast we headed for Honaunau Bay.  We found our way to the bay, but wound up in a National Historic Park, where snorkeling was not allowed.  We were directed back to the road we came in on, but missed the turn for the cove.  Instead, we wound up on City of Refuge Road, a four mile long, single lane (that’s right, just one lane, not two, and traffic goes both ways), road along another bleak, sharp-rocked lava field.  Turning around was not an option.  I was starting to think that, aside from a few main roads, driving in Hawai’i is a huge driving challenge.  We finally reached the end of the road, where it joined with another which took us back up (about a thousand feet up) to the main highway.  It took looking back at the map later to realize where we had gone wrong.  Instead, we headed north, to check out other possibilities.  The walkways to the beaches are marked as public access walkways, but often there are no areas to park, and the hike out to the water can be a few miles.  We finally found our way to a beach near the Honokohau Marina, north of Kona.  The walk to the beach was a challenge, and the beach itself was tiny and rocky.  But, I was able to get in and see some beautiful fish.  No turtles, though, even though this beach is known for them.  The water was uncharacteristically pretty rough.  Getting in the water was no problem, but getting out, I needed to find my way to the least rocky egress in order not to get hurt.

Formerly known as a lifeguard tower, at Honokohau beach.  I think this was put up with tongue in cheek.

Formerly known as a lifeguard tower, at Honokohau beach. I think this was put up with tongue in cheek.

The sand and palms at the little Honokohau beach.

The sand and palms at the little Honokohau beach.

Testing the water, in a sandy spot.

Testing the water, in a sandy spot.

Our search for an ideal snorkeling experience did not turn out as we hoped.  The next time we are in Kona, we’ll know how to get to the “two step” beach at Honaunau Bay.  That evening, though, we had plans for another expedition.  Kona is well known for night time viewing of manta rays.  In fact, the guy at Boss Frog’s said if we see the Mauna Kea, see lava, and see manta rays, we’ve done the big three items on his list of the best of Hawai’i.  We arranged to go out with Sea Paradise tours, for the boat ride out to what they call “Manta Ray Village”, out of Keauhou Bay.

Awaiting darkness in Keauhoa Bay, before boarding the Hokuhele for our trip to see mantas.

Awaiting darkness in Keauhoa Bay, before boarding the Hokuhele for our trip to see mantas.

The boat trip is a short one, only about 20 minutes.  One checks in at their office about an hour before the trip, to sign the inevitable legal release and get fitted with a wet suit.  Everyone shucks their shoes before getting on the boat.  As they motor out to the spot, one of the hands on the boat gives a brief lecture about manta rays.  It turns out they eat only plankton, can be quite large in size with wing spans up to 14 feet, and will often turn flips as they eat up the plankton.  The plankton are attracted to the lights attached to a boom, similar to moths being attracted to light, which then pull in the mantas  The boom is a long contraption with floats and attached lights.  The thirty or so members of our party were provided  masks and snorkels, and led down a stair into the water.  We were directed to line up along the boom, with our hands outstretched on the boom and a “noodle” float under our feet to keep us suspended, so we wouldn’t touch the mantas.  It was a bit eery being out in the dark water, with only the light from the boom shining down.  True to our captain’s word, the plankton massed under us, their tiny bodies in constant motion as their cilia propelled them.  After watching and waiting for about thirty minutes, while all those delicious plankton cavorted like a Vegas stage show, no hungry manta rays wanted to show up.  We gave it another twenty minutes.  A woman opposite me on the boom had a very large underwater camera, the type professional divers use, but it was of no use that night.  Before the hour was up, we were all back on board the boat, stripping out of our wet suits, and trying not to be upset that we had not seen a single manta ray.  The captain and crew were very nice, and assured us that this is a rarity.  In fact, they had just seen several mantas the night before.  One let slip that their hit rate for mantas was 88%, so one in eight trips is a dud.  No matter.  Kat and I realized that these are wild animals and cannot be commanded to show up.  The company did allow us to sign up for another trip, which would be two days later.

After disembarking, we headed back to our hotel, then went out for a late supper.  We wound up at a Thai restaurant which was okay, not great, but did know how to make a passable green papaya salad, although the papaya was not really green, more ripe.  We then walked back to our hotel, passing along the sea wall where the waves splash over onto the sidewalk, tired from a very active, if not so productive, day.  The next morning, we needed to get up very early for the trip to the other side of the island, and our first encounter with a zip line, which will be covered in part two.  Stay tuned….

Daytime view of the sea wall and the Kamakahonu Bay

Daytime view of the sea wall and the Kamakahonu Bay

Character of the Torrey Pine

What makes the Torrey Pine so special? According to Hank Nichol, writing in “Nature Notes”, it is not the rarest, oldest, largest, or most useful pine. It is not even on the endangered species list. Yet, it stands out as a survivor in a particularly unforgiving environment. It grows on the sandy bluffs of the cliffs overlooking Torrey Pines State Beach, in dry, sometimes draught conditions. It withstands harsh sun, wind and storms, adapting to the conditions by growing bent and turned to protect itself. As Mr. Nichol put it, this tree, like some people, has character, developed during hard times.

A Torrey Pine, shaped by the forces of nature.

A Torrey Pine, shaped by the forces of nature.

We had the opportunity to get a close look at these pines, along with other interesting vegetation, along the hiking trails of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The reserve is just north of La Jolla, along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, in San Diego County. There is parking on the highway alongside the beach, but it fills up early with cars and vans of people out for an early morning walk on the sand, those going surfcasting for sea perch, corbina and other surf fish, and gnarly looking types who just seem to live at the beach. Other parking options include the lot to the south, closest to the reserve, and the lot to the north, off Carmel Valley Road , both of which require a parking fee of $10 or $12 depending on the day of the week. The hike begins at the south parking lot, and starts with an ascent up a paved road. It is a steep climb, and if the sun has broken through the morning fog, quite warm and dry. Prickly pear cacti grow in large bunches along the road, between other typical chaparral. I was happy to see the bee in this one’s flower, showing there are still wild bees out there in nature.

Prickley Pear in Bloom

Prickley Pear in Bloom

Also found on the land side of the cliffs are mojave yucca, which have a long history of being used by aboriginal americans. The long, blade-like leaves were used to shred for fibers for rope and sandals, the seed pods were eaten, and the roots used to make soap.

Mojave Yucca.  The fibers were used for rope and sandals, the flowers eaten, the seeds ground for flour, and the root used to make soap.

Mojave Yucca. The fibers were used for rope and sandals, the flowers eaten, the seeds ground for flour, and the root used to make soap.

Another form of the prickly pear, which I had not seen before, is the prickly pear tree.

Prickley Pear Tree.  A cactus on a tree trunk.

Prickley Pear Tree. A cactus on a tree trunk.

As one gets to the top of the road, and before turning onto the trails along the cliffs, one passes the Torrey Pines Lodge. It is a very nice hotel in a beautiful setting.  The hiking paths are well marked, and it is clearly shown on signs that straying off the trail is not allowed. The surface of the cliffs is very susceptible to erosion and the plant life is needed to stabilize the cliffs. Large fissures do occur from time to time, and huge slabs of sand and boulders can come down in a flash. Another interesting plant seen along the trail is the yerba santa, which has soft furry leaves and a very interesting aroma. Like yerba mate, it can be used to make tea, or as a seasoning. The leaves also can be dried and smoked.

Yerba Santa, or holy herb.

Yerba Santa, or holy herb.

As the trail winds it’s way closer to the ocean, the village of La Jolla can be seen in the distance, along with another of the eponymous Torrey Pines. The pine cones are very large, and the seeds edible, although one is not permitted to take anything from the trail.

A larger Torrey Pine with La Jolla in the background.

A larger Torrey Pine with La Jolla in the background.

There are some nice opportunities along the trail to get a great view from on high of the beach. Here, my daughter and I stopped to admire the view.

On a sandy rise, a nice view of the Pacific Ocean.

On a sandy rise, a nice view of the Pacific Ocean.

The last stretch of the trail is really the only tricky part. As one descends towards the beach, there are a couple of sets of stairs, carved from the sandstone and covered in loose sand. These are slippery when dry, and would probably be a lot worse when wet. The trail ends on the sands of Torrey Pines beach. It is a very interesting look at a sensitive and unique ecosystem which is constantly changing, due to the effects of nature.

On the trail down to Torrey Pines Beach

On the trail down to Torrey Pines Beach

The last segment of the trail is several stairways which finally end on the beach.

The last segment of the trail is several stairways which finally end on the beach.

The wind, sun and rain form interesting sculptures of the sandy cliffs above Torrey Pines Beach.

The wind, sun and rain form interesting sculptures of the sandy cliffs above Torrey Pines Beach.

This is my favorite beach in San Diego. It is easily accessible, stretches for a couple of miles, has great waves for surfing, body surfing or boogie boarding, and has nice opportunities for surf casting. If one walks south along the cliffs, eventually one reaches a narrow spit of sand which is often under water at high tide. Around here there are tide pools with small crabs and sea anemone. Beyond this spit is Blacks Beach, the infamous nude beach in San Diego. Walking north, one returns to the start of the hike, and where most of the visitors congregate. We spent the rest of our morning here doing a little fishing (caught some sun, no fish), throwing the Frisbee, and enjoying the sound of the waves.

There’s Better Days A-comin’

Been through some rough times lately.  Things were going okay, in fact I was looking forward back in April to running Phillie’s famous Broad Street Run on May 5 .  With only a week before the race, I was coming off a week of hospital call.  That always requires some recovery time.  But this week, which ended April 21, was particularly rough.  In a short phrase, there were a lot of sick folk.  The following week, I seemed to be coming down with a virus.  I developed shaking chills, fever, muscle aches, in other words all the typical viral symptoms.  Oddly, though, they also seemed to come and go.  One half of a day I would be in the grip of the ague, then a few hours later, I’d feel back to my normal self.  By the end of that week, it seemed to have passed.

That was just hopeful thinking.  The following week, the virus changed it’s tactics and decided to attack my intestinal tract.  While I no longer had the shakes and chills, I couldn’t eat anything without it seeming to pass through me in two hours, and not stop to get absorbed.  So, I stopped eating, took only tea, and managed to make it through the next few work days without cancelling anything.  At the same time, my trial was about to start.  As a physician, I was being sued by one of my patients for allegedly going outside the standard of care and causing her harm.  This trial had been scheduled originally last September, then October, then November, and then February.  Each time I was told I needed to cancel all my usual clinical duties and be present at the courthouse.  I would need to testify, but also be present to listen to all the other testimony of expert witnesses.  A colleague of mine was also named in the suit and would likewise need to suspend all his activities.  Each time the trial was scheduled it was cancelled for the lawyers’ or judge’s conflicts with other trials.  This time, starting Thursday of the week when I’m in the throws of my GI hullabaloo, I was told it was definitely going ahead, since it was the oldest case on the judge’s docket.  Thursday was jury selection day.  I presented to the courtroom as instructed, and jury selection commenced.  It took a full day, but a jury of eight was chosen.  Meanwhile, I was getting a bit weak, having no real food for two days.  Not wanting to run in and out of the courtroom, I didn’t dare try to eat something that day.  The actual trial was not to start until the following Tuesday.

By Friday, the evil GI virus seemed to have run it’s course.  I was able to take in solid food again, and start to rebuild my strength, which had taken a real dive.  By Saturday, I was still feeling a bit dizzy and washed out.  But the Broad Street 10 miler was coming up Sunday, and I really wanted to run it.  It’s a big event in Philadelphia, with over 40,000 registered.  It’s the largest 10 miler in the country, and a big celebration.  This year, it would also stand as a tribute to the Boston Marathon and the awful events that took place there a few weeks earlier.  So, Saturday morning I went to the expo to pick up my number.  Sunday, I joined my fellow club members at 5:45 AM to carpool to the race.  It is a point to point race starting at North Broad Street, and heading straight down 10 miles to the end of Broad Street at the Philadelphia Naval Yard.  The only turns are around the Philadelphia City Hall, which sits in the middle of Broad Street between the five and six mile points of the race.  It’s known for being a fast course, and many of the speedier, younger runners look for a sub-one hour time.  We parked near the end of the race in the sports arena parking lot, and joined our fellow runners on the Broad Street subway heading north to the start.  It is an interesting site to see several thousand runners cramming the subway trains in their running shorts and singlets, numbers on.  It is not the usual workday subway scene.

The organization of the race was superb.  It went off on time, the corals were well organized, and even the increased police presence was organized and really not intrusive.  I could tell though, that this was not going to be a record setting year for me.  I probably should have listened to my body, as they say, and not run, because of being so ill the week before.  I was never really able to get into gear and push myself, and as I was coming up to mile nine, one of my friends from another club passed me and said I looked like I was “hurtin’.”  I made it across the line in 1’23”, much slower than I predicted.  But it was a nice day for a race, and I joined my club members afterwards on the grounds of the naval yard, to drink water and have a nice, fat Philly pretzel.  Our goody bag after the race also included a couple of Tastykake bars and some Peanut Chews (designed to pull fillings and destroy dental caps), all products of Philadelphia.

Some of our SJAC club members at the Naval Yard after the Broad Street Ten Miler, 5/5/13

Some of our SJAC club members at the Naval Yard after the Broad Street Ten Miler, 5/5/13

The following day, Monday, was not a trial day, so I had cases scheduled all day in the OR.  At the end of the day that day, I noticed my hands and ankles seemed to be swollen.  I woke up the next morning with the swelling even worse, and I seemed to be having a hard time walking.  I went to our usual Tuesday morning conference at the hospital, then headed to the courthouse for the trial to start.  Everything felt tight.  My watch, which usually dangles a bit on my wrist, was stuck in one spot and making an impression on the skin.  My shoes felt tight.  When I made a fist, my skin looked taught over the tendons, and I couldn’t see them clearly as I usually would.  My co-defendant and I sat through the first day of testimony, paying attention to the plaintiff, taking notes, and discussing things with our lawyer.  That afternoon, though, after court adjourned for the day, I headed back to the hospital to make rounds.  I found my own physician on rounds, and told him about my week of GI bug, the race, and now the swelling.  He thought it could be some acute kidney injury, or a post-viral syndrome, and had me get a few blood tests.  I actually carried through with the tests, although as a doc, one must write one’s own prescription for these things.  The following morning I found out that my BUN and creatinine, measures of kidney function, were above normal, and my CPK, a measure of muscle breakdown, was on the high side of normal.  Texting this info to my physician, I was told it looked like I had suffered a bit of acute kidney injury, probably from racing after a week of little or no food, and that with proper hydration and time I would recover.  This is very scary.  I should have known better, and not run the past Sunday.  I was definitely foolish, but had gotten drawn in because of the commitment to run and the nature of the race.  I did as told, stayed well hydrated, and slowly recovered.  By Friday we had heard most of the experts testify, and it was now our turn to take the stand.  My co-defendant went first and did a good job answering sometimes difficult and lengthy, convoluted questions.  I looked forward to being able to give my story.  I hoped the jury would not only believe me, but feel I had done the best for the patient.  This is an anxiety producing position to be in as a surgeon.  I feel perfectly comfortable in the OR, but not in the courtroom.

That weekend was Mother’s day weekend.  My wife and I took a short trip to visit a friend in Mt. Kisco who is leaving for the West Coast, and a new job in Silicon Valley.  It was a very relaxing two days.  I got in a run on Sunday, in the hills near the Hudson River. We visited my younger daughter and son on the way back home, and drank a happy Mother’s day beer.

Kat and Dan at his house in Mt. Kisco.

Kat and Dan at his house in Mt. Kisco.

We were back in court Monday for the last of the expert witnesses.  Tuesday was the day for the attorneys to give their final arguments.  It took the judge about two and a half hours to give the jury their instructions, which were fairly complex.  They had to consider whether they thought my co-defendant and I had deviated from the standard of care, each of us separately.  If so, they would need to decide to what percent her pre-existing conditions contributed, how much her pain and suffering were worth in dollars, to what degree we had contributed to that, and several other issues of reward should we be found at fault.  As it turned out, they took about an hour to decide that both my co-defendant and myself had, in fact, done the right thing, and were not guilty of negligence or failure to perform according to standard of care.  I had already left the court because I needed to get back to the hospital.  When I got the call from my lawyer that we had won, I was elated.  I was not happy because we had beaten the other side.  I was very disappointed the patient felt we had not done well by her and that she needed to sue.  I was happy because we had successfully shown to a lay jury that we had done, at the very least, an acceptable job within the standards of care.  Was this a Pyrrhic victory?  This comes from the Greek King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered considerable losses in defeating the Romans in 279 BC.  He felt that if he had to fight another battle, he could not, as the toll extracted would be too great.  For me, taking the two weeks away from my usual work does not really harm me, other than the anxiety it produces.  The patients that depend on me have to wait, a number of surgeries needed to be postponed, and it’s not possible to make up for that lost time.

With a strange virus that took a long time to run it’s course, causing mayhem in the process, to a “touch” of acute kidney injury perhaps brought on by my own foolishness, to having to defend myself in court, it has been a tough few weeks.  I know I’ve learned a lot from the experiences of the last several weeks, I just haven’t figured out what I’ve learned so far.  Now, though, I can return to my usual schedule, get back to work and get things done.  That is, after I return from a trip San Diego to see my oldest daughter graduate from her MBA program.

Frank K.

 

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