The Doctor And His Shakespeare

This post is about a person I respect very much.
He has faced a serious illness with strength and imagination.

The man shown in the photograph has dedicated his life to… the healing arts. He’s an internist specializing in cardiovascular medicine.

He’s a personable man but if you ask him about himself he’ll volunteer as little as possible. His focus has always been on his patients.

Then he got sick.

The people he had attended over the years couldn’t help but be concerned.

Without going onto great detail, he explained that he was suffering from a disease of the mouth and that his jaws would be locked shut for a period of time. His patients watched a large man grow small.

His team began referring his appointments to other practitioners. His absence stretched longer than expected.

That was some years ago. These days the doctor speaks with a certain difficulty, his jaws still a bit clenched.

People find miraculous ways to face tragedy. Although the works of William Shakespeare are steeped in murder, larceny, insanity and despair, the doctor has always delighted in how accurately the playwright diagnoses what makes us tick.

Last year he put together a cut-and-paste, photocopied invitation to the reading of a stage script he wrote in homage to ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ The performance was delivered by professionals with a wit the Bard would have applauded. The doctor was radiant.

During a recent appointment I told him I’d like to make a few notes about him and the sixteenth-century poet. He insisted that no one would want to read about him.

“You didn’t make an appointment to talk about me,” he added.

But here’s a man who had walked through fire, and I was hoping he would share a few pointers with the rest of us mortals who one day may find slings and arrows coming our way.

The coming flu season should give me an excuse to try him again.

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