Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The last word.

Annals of Internal Medicine, July 5, 2011

There was the most wonderful soul I had the chance to care for in the winter of 2010.  He was one of the loveliest human beings I've ever encountered, and he touched me deeply in my soul. Definitely an F.P. all-star of legendary proportions.

Anyways.  Although he passed away  from complications of cancer shortly after I cared for him, he left an indelible imprint on my heart.

My patient had immigrated to the states from Guatemala several years before and as it turns out, had earned both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in his home country.  He never had the chance to continue practicing in the states, but still. . . he was kind of a big deal.

I called him "Doctor." Because that's who he was--even though he wasn't in practice here--he was still a doctor. Two times over.  Doctor was the best. I'm talking the best of the best. He was wise and brave. . . .and scholarly. Would you believe that before he died he said, "I wished I could have had just one more publication in a medical journal."  Say what?

His health wouldn't allow him to write but I asked Doctor if I could write about him someday. He obliged.

Later on, I did write about him. Then I contacted his family and asked their permission to submit what I'd written for publication. I was so happy when they obliged.

So I aimed high and I sent it to the most high profile Internal Medicine journal I could. Hell, why not? And something beautiful happened next. . . .

The journal obliged, too.

And so. "The Lucky One" --the story of my experience caring for my dear, dear F.P., has officially been published. Right there in the most recent issue of The Annals of Internal Medicine.

Talk about feeling over the moon.

Man, I just know he is somewhere smiling. I just know he is. . . because this publication was his publication. And me? All I did was show up. 

Thank you, Doctor.

P.S.  The link to the story only gives an excerpt. Unfortunately I can't reproduce it full text right now, but will get a link to it as soon as it's authorized. If you have access or know any nerdy internists, just ask them to let you see their July 5 copy of the Annals and check out the "On Being a Doctor" section!


  1. That is so awesome! Not, of course, that he passed away - but everything else.

  2. You are just a good, good soul.

  3. I will contact our librarians (second smartest people at Fox Chase next to the pharmacists) and read the article tomorrow. I cannot wait. You go girl!

  4. I wrote this in an essay for one of the med schools to which I was applying a few years ago - the school didn't grant me an interview, but I still believe in these words:
    -- Success should be measured by how much we give, not how much we get or take.
    (I phrased it a bit more eloquently for that essay, but I can't go digging for it now.)

    You are success personified. Thank you for everything you give in the real and the virtual worlds. (I just erased a paragraph because my super-saccharine gushing was starting to sound embarrassingly stalkerish/groupieish...)

    P.S. Many of your entries leave me hopelessly gushy/mushy and/or completely speechless for quite some time, preventing meaningful commenting. I hope you can feel all the positive thoughts and emotions directed at you, even when no actual words are being posted on your blog.

  5. What a wonderful tribute to your patient. You have a beautiful gift for communication through the written word.

  6. What a beautiful, heartfelt piece. Congrats on getting it published in Annals!

  7. I just read the entire article. Beautiful. His family will treasure it I am sure.

  8. I am so proud of you! Which feels totally bizarre to say to such an accomplished woman that I've just met, but I am.

    So impressive, and I'm so happy to hear that medical journals publish more than just epidemiology and whatnot.


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