50 Years, 50 States, 50 Stitches


I don’t feel my age, I certainly don’t act my age, and I’m delighted when people tell me I don’t look my age. But the 35,000 air miles I’ve logged since the beginning of the year have taken an unexpected toll that a younger me might have been able to simply shrug off. It’s in these circumstances that a Medical Doctor overrides an Ocean Doctor, and my orthopedic surgeon was clear with me that if I was going to be able to shed my wool suit for a wetsuit for our next Cuba expedition in June 2009, I would need to listen, obey, and lie still.

Though I wish I had a tall tale to tell, like single-handedly wrestling a giant squid, as a friend suggested, the rather serious injury to my left arm — that makes it painful to lift even a glass of water — is due to the deadly menace of the heavy carry-on bag and the countless overhead bins, taxis, curbs, rental cars, stairs, and elevators it has had to negotiate. My 50-year-old tendons are stubbornly refusing to reattach themselves to the bone without the intervention of my orthopedic surgeon. Thus, tomorrow at 10am I will submit to his knife and skill and begin a weeks-long recovery period.

Yes, this means the Ocean Doctor is grounded for at least a month. My sincere apologies to the many schools I had planned to visit this month which have had my visits postponed ’til late spring or fall. I’ll use the time to catch up on my correspondence, blog, and whatever else I can achieve with my right hand and a keyboard. I want to assure you that I remain committed to making all of the visits I’ve committed to and will make my appointed rounds as soon as I’m able. Meanwhile, your support for the Ocean Doctor’s 50 Years, 50 States, 50 Speeches Expedition has been incredibly heartwarming. It’s no wonder I don’t feel my age.

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