Here is another in the series on how I have been so blessed by God through my life. For this one I go back to the year that I was an intern in the pediatric program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. I was at St. Luke’s Hospital, and would often see David the “Bubble Boy” as I walked through the connecting passageway to the Methodist Hospital next door.
For those who don’t know, David had SCID, Severe Combined Immune Deficiency, a rare condition which rendered him incapable of generating antibodies to fight off even the mildest of infections. NASA later made a “spacesuit” for him so that he could go outside, but he eventually died of exposure to some normally benign germ.
One day, out of the blue, my attending Resident, Sandy Lewis, asked me if I wanted to take a ride in the Goodyear Blimp. Sure, I thought, fat chance of that! But he was serious. When I asked how he was able to offer this, he said that he had just purchased a new set of Goodyear tires. They must have been premiums!
Well, the day came for the flight, so Valo and I drove up to the Goodyear blimp base north of Houston and signed in. It was rather windy, and we were told that we might not be able to go due to the winds. After some time, though, we were allowed to board the rather small capsule below the huge envelope, and there may have been one or two other people besides us as passengers. I believe we were on the “America”.
As we slowly lifted off, I counted 16 guys holding onto ropes below us! We climbed on up above the base, and I recall a small airplane (like a Piper Cub) zooming past us! It really was like an airship, as we slowly pitched forward and back with the winds. After maybe 15 or 20 minutes we turned around and had not gone very far at all. The landing was a bit bumpy due to those winds.
So, why did Sandy choose to ask me to go? Why didn’t he go? I really don’t know the answers, but I give God the credit for the experience. It was certainly a unique form of flying!
Next: dining in the halls of Parliament in London!