Friendly Re-Discovery

WhatsApp Image 2017-03-22 at 14.13.20

I had been working at my usual pace for the first few months of 2017 and I had to give up my Hong Kong marathon in February as a result of a bad flu. Giving up was hard in light of numerous miles of training that I had done to prepare for the race. However, my hospital colleagues told me the risk of cardiomyopathy was real and thus I decided to save my run for another time. Trust me, I tried and solicited opinions from geriatric doctors to cardiologists to oncologists – all of them said the same darn thing to me – “no marathon after the flu…”

I was hoping somebody would give one (just one was enough) resounding ‘OK’ for me to run so that I could justify it. It turned out the Hong Kong marathon weather was 99% perfect. As a result, the majority of the participants ran their personal best time. Sigh. I will do my sub-3 run another time…

Secretly I had been looking forward to March 2017 as I was supposed to meet friends and have some quality learning at a conference in Mexico with a multidisciplinary team of fantastic people.

After a little bit of exercise on the first day, Moon and I headed off for dinner with the conference crowd. As usual, my wife was busy making friends and she asked for the name of a good looking Asian gentleman who was walking alongside her friend. He softly said, “Wilson.”

I extended my arm out and before anyone noticed, I gave Wilson a soft punch in his stomach while we were crossing the road and said, “We know each other, old friend…”  (For old time’s sake, I did not really say ‘old friend’, but rather, some PG13 colorful adjective was used instead)

Wilson was the 2nd from the left (1984 Inter School 800m final)

Wilson and I went back a longer way than we knew!! Wilson was a second year medical student when I was a freshman in dental school at the University of Hong Kong. We met at the Sandy Bay running track. He and I had the same pet events: 800m and 1500m. We used to do some training together, and we raced with or against each other depending on if it was inter-faculty, inter-hall or an intervarsity event. I remembered that we ran the 4X400m relay many times.

He was one hell of a runner but there was one time that left me with a deep impression.  We had just finished a session of hard training and somehow we were talking about pharmacology. Mind you, my brains were terribly oxygen deprived and were probably shrinking while Wilson was effortlessly talking about ‘beta-lactamase’ …and I was on the verge of passing out.

I left Hong Kong in 1990 for the USA and I have always wondered what happened to this fine gentleman since our university days. I remember seeing him on TV once (when I visited Hong Kong) talking about surgeries.

Well, remember that we reconnected while we were crossing the road in Mexico City? That became the beginning of a night long verbal diarrhoea over dinner while we both ungentlemanly ignored our spouses. We had 30 years to catch up on. True to his sportsman nature, Wilson has been engaged in many sports (except running)! He even extended his personal interest into work – Sports medicine and Orthopedic surgery.

The next two mornings we were running around the park in front of our hotel chit-chatting away even though he said he had no proper running shoes.  Little did I know that we went to grade schools run by the same Salesian church. We certainly had a few common friends at university, work and running. After checking out some old photos, we realized that we actually ran against each other even before our university time!

Wilson and I raced neck to neck in the 1984 interschool 800m and 1500m. I think being the Head of Orthopedics in a major hospital in Hong Kong (and an old friend), Wilson did his professional part in cautioning me about the excessive wear and tears in runners but I think he also understands that it is the nature of my kind of people, in general, that give him productive clinical activities.

My friend said he had no proper shoes to run in the morning, right? He ran with a pair of slip on canvas shoes and he fared well at the 2200m altitude at Mexico City. Well, I think he needs ‘proper’ running shorts more than a pair of running shoes. Picking a colorful outfit like that pair of shorts does not cut it, IMHO 🙂

We certainly have the “boys” still in us.

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