As I sit in a hotel in New Jersey next to the Newark airport overlooking planes full of people coming and going from all over while I convalesce from omicron, (which seems to be almost gone) I went back and watched, as one does, a talk I gave from two years ago…
It was in Toronto at an event called Porridge for Parkinson’s. As you will see if you jump to the 11:30 mark, I owe where I am today to more people than I can name. However, there are three people in particular that I still believe deserve special acknowledgement.
Dr. Alfonso Fasano, Dr. Alberto Espay and Dr. Tony Lang, a triumvirate of physicians largely responsible for my health and well being.
I thought to honor each with a verse of a poem, only to delete all record of it when none of the words felt right. I then looked for inspiration in what has been my favorite poem of the last few years,
Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy
Those three physicians have each played a role in giving me something which so few ever get, the opportunity once again to be my own music maker and dream again of what I want to do with the rest of my life.
But, there is a funny thing in being a physician, something which I believe the three of them understand very well. For as much as we patients rely on them for our care, they rely on us for their title and place in society. After all, what is a physician without patients?
One patient who time and time again has, in her own roundabout way, taught me that is Heather Kennedy. Heather, or Kathleen Kiddo as some know her, and I share one thing in common, we are both awful patients. We are very impatient and if we do not like our doctors we are prone to go and find another.
I was lucky enough to find a team of people who continue to be patient enough to put up with me and help me figure out what is going on in my own head, I only hope that she has since managed to do the same.
One other reason why I very much admire Heather is that she is the living embodiment of a modern music maker. A rarity indeed in these times we live.
Earlier this year, because of that exact quality in her, I felt compelled to write two poems for her, words I thought might help, for one reason or another.
And, well, here they are:
Thank you Heather. Alfonso, Alberto and Tony.
If my current plan holds I plan to write a few more of these kind of thank you letters to certain individuals I have come across along the way in my journey before this year is finished.