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This memoir details Rob Barbee’s sudden, surreal transformation from tourist to patient, eight thousand miles from home. Rob and his wife, Kathy, both seasoned travelers, are just two days into a month-long cruise when their course is abruptly diverted—to the realm of cancer. When Rob’s alarming symptoms land him in a hospital bed in the Middle Eastern country of Oman, the couple faces a wholly different kind of exotic adventure than the one they had planned. As they desperately await an emergency evacuation to the US so that Rob can begin treatment in familiar surroundings, what they learn here about the compassionate practice of medicine and the love of strangers leaves them forever changed. This is an astonishing, inspiring, surprisingly humorous story of one couple’s navigation through terrifying unknowns, and a celebration of human connections that transcend nationality, politics, and religion.
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Rob Barbee has traveled throughout the world, to almost seventy countries and all seven continents. In 1967, he flew fifty-one combat missions in Vietnam as a B-52 navigator. He is also an award-winning watercolor artist. Now retired from a long career in civil engineering, he lives with his wife in Greenville,South Carolina.