Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back to Work

Monday the 8th of November was my first day at work in 4 months and 1 week. That's 130 days of not wearing a pager. The time off was valuable in many ways and has provided memories that will last the rest of my life. I had 2 major goals in taking the time off; prepare for the US National and World Championships and, just as important, to see if I could not work. Historically, I have not done well with down time. I probably have some element of ADD. To my surprise, I had no problem whatsoever not working. At no time did I feel antsy about not doing something. I did not feel guilty for not accomplishing something. Trish and I stayed busy with lots of travel and obviously exercising, but still, there were times with nothing to do. I loved it. I read 6 books, had time to connect with friends and spent lots of time with my dad. All in all, a spectacular time off.

My first day back to work was a bit of a shock. I was a little out of sync and inefficient. My first operation, a pacemaker, happened on day 2. It all came back very quickly. I guess after 30 years of doing something it is fairly ingrained. By weeks end I had seen nearly 100 patients and done 6 operative procedures. Friday night after seeing my last patient I had the familiar deep fatigue I had not felt for 130 days but have known far too many times in my career. Despite that, I am happy to be back at work. It is a gift to feel wanted and appreciated and I felt both on my return. I felt it from patients and colleagues, alike.

My training will drop off substantially over the next month but will then pick up. I will start to train for the Argus Cycle Tour, a 110 KM road race in CapeTown, South Africa in early March, 2011. I have high hopes of winning my age group. Hopefully, things at work will stay at a dull roar and allow for quality training.

This may be the last entry in this blog for a while. I don't want to bore people with the mundane happenings of my work life. Looking at the stats section of the blog, I note that the blog has been looked at more than 1500 times. Truly amazing. Someone from Germany read it this week. How does that happen? I don't know anyone in Germany. Anyway, to all of you who have read along, sent good wishes and just been there with me throughout this epic, I am truly appreciative.

Thanks for reading.

Larry Wolff

Friday, November 5, 2010

Heading Home

Driving in Lisbon is notoriously difficult. A week ago, Mike Brodsky, a good friend from internship and residency called me from Lisbon. He had been in Anadia watching my races and then headed south with his son, Merrick, to Lisbon. Shortly after arriving there he was arrested for making an ilegal left turn. The cop spoke no English and he, no Portugese. Ultimately, he was let go. He phoned me to warn me. Armed with that info and that of our guide books advising not to drive in the city, we parked the car at the hotel on our arrival and took cabs for the rest of the week. I could write a short book on Lisbon. Fascinating city with great views and culture. Spent an enchanting morning in the Gulbenkian museum, a wonderful private collection of art. This vies with the Borghese museum in Rome as my all-time favorite.

But what I want to tell you about is returning our car after dropping off family and luggage at the airport. I was alone, fortunately, and had 2 + hours till our flight for London left. The drop off point for the car was no more than 1/2 mile from the airport. Though I had the paper explaining (in English) how to get there, I could not fine the place. Time is running out. I have made the circuit around the departure area in the airport 3 times. I stopped a cabbie in the middle of the street to ask directions and finally a cop who was giving some poor guy a ticket. He explained I needed to go across a bridge and then head back as I was on the wrong side of the highway. So, I finally find the place and am now 45 minutes later than I had arranged. The person to whom I was to give the keys and title to the car (This was officially my car as I had leased it) had already left and gone home. I left the keys and documents with the doorman and asked him how I get back to the airport. I understood his universal shoulder shrug and headed out on foot. Crossing several major throughways I finally made it to the departure area, having sweated through my shirt and sweater. Not a problem. It's only about 24 hours till I get home.

But I've told you about the end without relaying data from the Points Race. The race was Sunday 10/31 at about 2:00 PM. We had gotten to the track early and I felt confident as I had found .25 Euros on the street walking into the velodrome. Maybe confident isn't the right word. I was no longer nervous and was so tired from everything that had gone on before that I decided this was just another race against a bunch of 60 year old guys. I ended up 3rd and got the Bronze medal. It was a good race. Very fast. I could not use my tactic of gaining a lap on everyone as the speed was just under 30 mph for the whole race. No way I could get away. So, I had to sprint for points and was able to eke out 3rd.

Standing on the podium was a thrill. I can't imagine what it would be like to stand there and hear the US national Anthem. Looking out into the crowd of spectators (maybe 40 people) I saw Trish and my Dad and they were beaming. That was really all I needed.

I will be back next year. I learned a huge amount and know what I have to do to win. We'll see what happens.

To all of you who have been reading along and sending your good wishes and Karma I say thank you.

Larry Wolff