Dr. Pierre Bland
By DR. PIERRE B. BLAND
Myself, my family, and many of my friends have been fortunate to make it to the latter stages of middle age. With that blessing and privilege come the occurrence of diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain and other equally serious maladies. The first time I became aware of this was during my 30th veterinary school reunion. About 25 of us were seated around a table and a document was shared with the group. Practically in a synchronized motion, each of the classmates pulled out their reading glasses. Unfortunately, at that point, we had lost our first classmate. Though we persisted in seeing ourselves as the young Class of ’85, we were deluded not to realize time marches on and it dragged us along with it.
I guess it is a natural occurrence for people of a certain age to discuss their maladies and treatment seemingly as an initiation and affirmation of a shared life experience. I am no exception, but I tend to take it a step or two further. My inquisitive nature as a medical professional results in me asking questions, as if I were taking a medical history or developing a case study. Amazingly some people either know very little about their condition or are more than willing to share. I think the ones who readily share do so as a therapeutic method. Often when a person has a serious medical condition, they are isolated and need someone to talk with and share their thoughts, feelings and fears. I recently experienced just such an incidence.
Last Saturday afternoon I was hanging out at my favorite dive bar, wasting a perfectly good sunny, late winter afternoon. The place was so dark, that when the door opened anyone in the bar or entering the bar was temporarily blinded by the light from outside. As I regained my vision I could see a gentleman on a cane gingerly making his way down the bar. One of the few remaining seats at the bar was next to me. As he struggled into the seat, I offered assistance which he accepted. A conversation ensued and he shared he had end stage kidney disease. I quipped “So much for that glass of wine!” and he laughed.
We talked and I asked questions about his treatment regime, how he was doing, and the inevitable. After a second glass of wine he shared he was impressed with my knowledge of his disease process and treatment so obviously, I was a doctor, and he thanked me for the conversation. I was the first understanding person he found he could talk with other than a therapist. He then toddled off through the entrance into the blinding bright light of the afternoon, no doubt a metaphor of eternity for us all.
Once again, you never know how your presence and words may help someone, including yourself.
Dr. Pierre Bland is a small and exotic animal practitioner in Oakland Park, FL. He can be reached at 954-673-8579.