Edges matter because the center has a hard enough time holding; without edges it just can’t. It just spins off and dissipates and nothing is clear. By the time I discovered Michael Keever and Terminal Tours, my center was crumbling, because I had ignored my periphery. The doctor said, “Onychomycosis.” I thought that sounded serious. Mine was the distal variety; maybe that’s why I didn’t notice it until too late, until it had become systemic, until I could barely walk and had heard the word “terminal.”

That’s how I found Michael Keever; I did an internet search on “terminal.” I know; I threw the net too wide. Boolean searches are too advanced for me. I got something like 1,462,389 hits on “terminal”. With just enough strength to sit at the keyboard, I started down the list and found Terminal Tours. The next challenge lay in deciding where I wanted to go. Keever could arrange anything to any place. I froze at the possibilities. I had had the same experience 23 years earlier when I read the book Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow. I gave up on the book because I was 42 years old and didn’t know what I loved.

At least with the tour destinations, I had lots of choices. I had no choices of treatment for onychomycosis…no surgery, no drugs, no radiation, no decisions to make that might lift the sentence of “terminal.” But tour choices? Those went on and on. At first I thought I’d go see all the people in my old address book. I found the book while cleaning out my office. As I leafed through it, I realized I didn’t remember these people. I couldn’t put a face with a name or put a name in context. Who was Pat J. in Davenport, and why was he (or she) in my address book? I had scores of entries like this, and decided that, even with Michael’s services, I’d lose my energy or my life before I got to all of them.

That’s when I decided to swim with the dolphins. Who knows where that decision came from? Here’s my best guess. Because I was immobile, I’d been reading some favorite books. One is The Phenomenon of Man by Teilhard de Chardin. If you don’t mind my saying, Teilhard isn’t easy reading. Every once in a while, I think I get his drift. He describes the origins of life forms, one of which my body was hosting to the end. Or I may have decided on the dolphins because I had been trying to get my family to go with me to the Baltimore aquarium. Then I saw the photo of Michael G. and Cooter on the Terminal Tours website. My choice didn’t matter to Keever; he arranged it all...the drive to the airport, the hydraulic lift up to the plane, all in-flight services. I only had to sit there and stay alive.

I had a lot of destination choices: Tahiti, Costa Rica, Oahu, Bimini. I guess dolphins in every ocean put up with this activity. I did get worried when I read that swimmers were not to touch the dolphins for fear of spreading disease to them. Maybe I shouldn’t take my onychomycosis into their water. The website for one location made me laugh out loud. It said, “Swim with Dolphins (optional) Bar-B-Q style Dinner.” I don’t even like grilled tuna.

Money being tight after all the doctor bills, I decided on a dolphin swim program in Key West. This program offered “dorsal tows and foot pushes”. The foot pushes intrigued me, given the locus of my disease. Theresa, my dolphin, did that and more during our two-hour swim. She seemed to know about my left foot and the disease that overwhelmed my system. She delivered dolphin kisses and caresses, skipping the dorsal tows completely. As Michael helped me from the water, we both watched Theresa as she watched us. This wasn’t the dead, cold eye of a shark; this look knew and seemed to like and not to mind my terminal disease. Balanced on her tail fin, she looked long, did some dolphin nods and clicks and slipped under the water.

Because Michael took me to Key West and to Theresa, I am still alive, and I am symptom-free. Maybe the salt water cured me; maybe Theresa’s touches. My doctor has no explanation. I did re-write my last will and testament; I’m sure I’ll be terminal eventually. I left a bequest to Michael Keever to underwrite the cost of another person’s terminal tour.