“Never Give Up” *
I’ll never forget the day the Navy Recruiter came to our high school in Watertown, WI. It was a chance to get out of classes for a few hours and listen to a pitch about the V-5 Aviation Cadet program. It sounded good to me so I took the necessary written tests and passed. He told us we would soon receive orders to report to the Navy Recruiting Station in Chicago for a flight physical. During my physical I was informed, much to my surprise, that I was disqualified because I had acne on my back. The doctor told me I could come back again at my own expense and try again after the acne was gone.
So, I went home and talked to our family doctor who advised me to undergo UV treatment for 6 weeks. The acne finally disappeared so I reported back to the Navy Recruiting Station to try again. This time the dentist told me that I had an overbite that disqualified me. I asked for a second opinion and the head dentist agreed with me that I had a passable bite. However, when the doctor took my body temperature it read 99.1 F and he said that disqualified me. I told him about the UV treatments I had received and that they could have temporarily raised my body temperature. He wouldn't buy my argument, however, he said he would let me come back later for one last try. My cousin Betty was a nurse at St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago at that time so I visited with her and asked her what I should do. She said we should talk to a doctor friend of hers and ask his advice. He advised me to eat as much ice cream as I could before meeting with the doctor and hope for the best. He gave me a thermometer to check my temperature just before meeting with the doctor to see if that worked. Needless to say, I pigged out on ice cream that evening.
The next day I checked my temperature and to my dismay it was still 99.1 F. I figured the only way to keep my temperature at 98.6 F was to take the thermometer out of my mouth just before it exceeded 98.1 F and hope the doctor did not see me do this. I believe that my guardian angel was with me that day because as soon as the doctor put the thermometer in my mouth he was called out of the office. I could then carry out my plan with ease. When the doctor returned and looked at the thermometer he said, “I guess you pass". It was the best news I could possibly hear. From that experience I learned a lesson to "never give up" because if there is a will, there is always a way.
* Flying Midshipmen LOG, winter 2010; © 2010.