John visited me for lunch when he returned and we talked. I thought about it briefly and phoned the nurse-coordinator in Toronto for MSF and talked to her, She said an Orthopedic surgeon was needed and would be valuable and agreed to sign me on as a volunteer if I thought about it. The pianist and I went out for supper and I told her what I had considered, but I couldn"t really tell her why. I guessed it came down to John was so enthused with his own experience that I wanted a taste of the same.
A family member of mine who was a policeman and had been a military policeman overseas told me I was too old to go and that my plan was silly. He said, "You are sixty years old and it's a war zone. You have rheumatoid arthritis and you can't run on a road with potholes of craters from explosives and carry a heavy pack and if there is conflict when you are in the operating room, no one is going to help you get out. You'll be on your own." It may be that what might have superficially appeared as altruistic on my part was a fraud but my age and lack of fleetness off foot was not fraudulent and he was right. The pianist had the good sense to let the matter drop as a momentary loss of reality and a return to reason.
However, I can remember tomorrow and lament the loss of the young, tomorrow and every day, and be grateful for those who do work to care for the injured in hospitals where there is war. But it wouldn't be helpful to get in the way of the young and competent. I guess it's still true, that your young men will have visions; your old men will dream dreams.