The man who saved my life three times never struck me as a good person. One of those three times he even went inside my brain, with instruments, but still, it was a generous way for him to spend thirty-eight minutes of his life. He died at sixty-one. My mother found the obituary and showed it to me. It was over two columns long. She said, “What an impressive obituary.” I said, “He didn’t have a good bedside manner.”
When people die young, people say it’s sad or tragic. When people die at sixty-one, people say things like, “Oh no, but what an impressive obituary.” The living think of death as an invasion. Death would say, “What did you expect?”
That dead man approached my bedside at the lowest moment in my life and before I could turn off the TV and turn to talk to him, he was gone. He was a rich, busy guy. He died at sixty-one.
My doctor argued with another doctor in a foreign language over pictures of me, and when my doctor came over to me he said, “He thinks this is something to look at more closely but I’m sure it’s nothing. You can go.” I bolted across the parking lot to my car. There is no feeling in the world like escaping a doctor’s office. I only make follow up appointments at the dentist.
One time I came to him prepared and he rushed through his exam and then nodded at my paper. “Go ahead with your questions.” I asked him, “If I break again, how long will it be before I need you?” He said, “Four to eight hours.” I said, “Forty-eight hours?” He said, “Not that long.”