Saturday, March 29, 2008

One way in which the Tibetans and I are blessed

While having Dr. Lieberman as my doctor has not dispelled my fears about the future of my eyes nor altered my healthy distrust of his kind, I recognize that as his patient, I have lucked into a new state of medical grace.

When one has a chronic illness there is always the uncertainty, not about the condition itself about how one should be living their life in response to the condition. I mean that even when one feels decent and is having no major problems there is the internal dithering. Could I feel better than this? Should I be trying to divert a side effect that will crop up eventually? What if I only think things are OK because I have complacent doctors or doctors who have not thought through my situation fully? Should I take up scouring the world over—if hypothetically, there were no financial limitations—to find the best doctors? To do this almost without thinking, as a kind of preventive measure become tic, like biting my nails? What if I don’t do this and I regret it when I am not well? Or, what if I do and I waste my whole life on that kind of gnashing and casting about?

I've quit thinking this way, at least when it comes to eye doctors, since I moved to San Francisco and met Lieberman. He doesn’t have the answers but he certainly makes me feel better. He tells me the truth. “Go home, do what you do, sacrifice some goats—maybe your pressures will be better next time” then he kisses me and we look at each for a moment. He makes me laugh by saying the sort of thing that, if it had been said by another doctor, would have sent me home in tears of worry. This article does him justice, presents him a way that doesn’t gloss over his real character by making him seem overly beatific. Or rather, the reporter gets it right by conveying that his beatitude comes from his ability to be just one hair’s breadth away from jittery or neurotic. Dr. Lieberman succeeds in being human when so many doctors do not and somehow, manages to seem less fallible for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what a great article... i know you always spoke so highly of him, and described him very well, but it was neat to read that article and esp about his work in tibet.... you are definitely very lucky to have him : )

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