We left Heathrow this morning, delayed several hours. Our plane was just behind the one whose engine caught on fire. I suppose there are few things in this world that are more disconcerting than being alerted that takeoff has been aborted because “the runway has been contaminated by engine debris” of a flight whose engine has caught fire.
Except, maybe, being on the flight whose engine has caught fire.
Thankfully, the affected flight returned safely to Heathrow, and we later took off without further incident.
I landed in Amsterdam at mid-day and had a full day of meetings. But in the tiny gap between them, I slipped off to the newly-opened Rijksmuseum.
But as the day wore on and I again had to be a grown-up, my strength flagged.
I admit that I was…overwhelmed. And by the time the drinks portion of the evening came, I gratefully accepted and guzzled the half-pints of lager like they were going out of style.
I’d been down with a tenacious respiratory infection in my weak lungs for two weeks, and my rheumatologist had been on my case.
Why didn’t you come in sooner? he’d asked in his Doctor voice.
You’ve lost weight, I countered. [A beat.] Oh my God. You’re not sick, or something, are you?
He laughed. No, I’m not. I just…I decided I needed to be healthier. This is, like, my normal body.
I looked at him, hard, for a moment. I knew he was turning 50 this year — he’d let that slip during an appointment last summer when I was off to a festival in Portugal with D, N, and R. Also, I knew his college roommate, through a random series of events that ultimate found me working for him at my last law firm.
Anyway, I said, I’ve been stuck in the office during the day and unable to leave, and you don’t make house calls. But we live right next to each other!
He shook his head.
Then we moved on to the physical portion of the exam. We talked about my joints; we talked about running and sport; we got to talking about baseball — a topic that I know less about than possibly anyone else with an American passport, but something very dear to my doctor. He has long run a youth baseball league, so baseball is something we sometimes discuss.
It was then that it was revealed that the league was in need of legal advice and he joked that he’d swap housecalls for my pro bono expertise.
Without thinking much about it, I agreed.
Then the phlebotomist drew my blood, and I left with the script for prednisone, and I didn’t think about it again, until I was in chilly Amsterdam, and pissed off about everything else, and my lungs started to cloud up again. At that point, I was blaming the steroids for hurting me and not helping me.
It was then that I remembered that I had agreed to be the general counsel of a youth baseball league.
It was apparently more than just my lungs that were clouded.