There and Back Again

It was cold that day. I stepped off the train and said to myself, “Here we go again.” While I spent most of my time in Sasebo, I frequently found myself having to travel to Yokosuka to augment the hospital with my optometric services. I walked down Blue Street as tiny snowflakes blasted my glasses and clouded my vision; I didn’t know it got that cold in Japan.

It was at least a forty -minute walk before I would reach the hotel and check into my room but it would all be worth it soon enough. I was looking forward to the grand prize at the end of the journey which was a Chile’s right next to the hotel I was staying at. I kept telling myself I was one step closer to some hot buffalo wings and fries. When I finally reached the Inn, I took a hot shower, put on some clothes and rushed over to Chiles for my reward only to find out that it was closed for renovation. I traveled over eight hours looking forward to eating Chile’s only to be denied by some construction work. Disappointment was the only word that came to mind while I sat on my couch eating a bag of beef jerky as a consolation prize.

My stints in Yokosuka were generally about two to three weeks and I would go every one or two months. While the free ride to Tokyo was appreciated, the constant traveling and inability to get settled in at home in Sasebo was both physically and mentally taxing. I always felt bad having to go to Yokosuka because all my patients down in Sasebo would have to wait before they could be seen since I was the only optometrist down there.

Not only did it make me feel guilty, it made me salty.

I spent the majority of my time in Yokosuka alone which gave me a lot of time to reflect. I thought I was doing a good thing by going up there to help out, but every time I got back to Sasebo, I seemed to be greeted by angry patients who were upset they had to “wait two weeks to be seen because [I was] on leave.” Not only did it make me feel guilty, it made me salty. Why were these people getting mad having to wait two weeks to be seen while I’m working hard to make sure these other people didn’t have to wait four weeks to be seen? This might have been the beginning of the end for my desire to remain an optometrist.

Disclaimer: Some, most, or even all of this story may be completely fabricated. The only truth is Paul Pierce.


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