How lucky am I? In the last two days, I have been the extremely lucky, though presumably random, recipient, of not one but two unsolicited phone calls offering me FREE accommodations at any number of Marriott and Hilton hotels, fairly reputable brands, I'd say. All I have to do is transport my wife, Dina, and myself to the agreed-upon hotel during the designated window of opportunity and voila, a semi-unencumbered vacation for two awaits. And believe me, the offer couldn't have come at a better time. Let's be honest, what more than a cure does a "terminal" cancer patient need than a reasonably priced, stress free get away from his every day? Need I even characterize that previous question as rhetorical?
Now since I hung up rather quickly, I don't have all the details, other than their phone numbers of course. Because, as you might imagine, I still have a few questions I'd like answered - you know, to optimize the benefits/coordinate the timing of our vacation. But the 'unsolicited' nature of the call didn't enable me to organize my thoughts and ask all the appropriate questions. Nevertheless, the opportunity seems worthy of a follow -up phone call.
Ideally, what I'd like to do is bracket my vacation/air fare and the miscellaneous travel expenses I'm undoubtedly going to incur around the respective properties' availability. Meaning, I'd like to fly once and stay twice; staying in their respective properties in the same city/location switching out of Marriott after my first free weekend stay and then booking into the Hilton for my next free weekend stay (and I'd be willing to pay for my mid-week excursion during the transition). In effect, making the trip a two-for-one as opposed to a not-going-at-all. And in so arranging, using as much of corporate America's largess and marketing budget as is cleverly possible for a non-corporate America employee to exploit.
Not having pursued this possible presumption quite yet because I've just had chemotherapy on Friday and I'm not really in the mood to tangle with a fast-talking, smooth operator, who though he/she may have my best travel plans at heart, may not exactly be feeling my strain. So I'm going to wait a few days until I regain my bearings - and patience, and tolerance and call them back unsolicited at a time convenient for me but possibly not so for them and see if we can make a deal.
Because, to tell you the truth, if I could coordinate two hotel reservations - along with all the amenities with which I'm likely to be showered for accepting these extraordinarily generous offers, combined with some free air miles I've accumulated with United Airlines/their travel partners, this indeed could be the trip that my oncologist encouraged us to take when he first delivered the life-changing/life-ending prognosis: "13 months to two years" back in late February, 2009. Further adding that, before starting chemotherapy, was as good as I would likely feel for a long time. And as I have come to learn, the quality of my life is very important to my oncologist.
At that time however, I didn't feel the need and/or wasn't motivated my oncologist's suggestion; I wanted to get started on my treatment. Now, eight and half years later, perhaps the timing is better, especially given that it presents itself at the beginning of a new Redskins football season. And if I may quote the late, great, former, head coach of the "Over the hill gang," George Allen: "The future is now." So let me sift through the offers this week and see if can indeed take the "trip we've always dreamed of." I know it's often said that you can't go back. Maybe we can still go forward.
Mr. Lourie’s columns can be found at www.kennywithcancer.com
"This column is my life as one of the fortunate few; a lung cancer anomaly: a stage IV lung cancer patient who has outlived his doctor’s original prognosis; and I’m glad to share it. It seems to help me cope writing about it. Perhaps it will help you relate reading about it."