The Good Dr. Bob

I met DrBobFredrickson when he was in his last year of internship at a party at EmileTheriault?'s (not my T) house in Dartmouth (my hometown.) He was the most likeable and jocular man I had met in some time. He appreciated a good joke at almost anytime. When Bob opened his practice, I of course became one of his many gay, lesbian and str8 patients. I was always made to be at ease in his office. Laughing would always be heard coming out of his inner sanctum as he saw patient after patient. An appointment was never needed and Mary-Lou (his nurse/clerk) was a shining face (like an angel) to behold when entering the office. Bob was my family doctor for countless years and I never thought it would ever end.

In the year 1998, I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis (in my case a lung disorder.) I came to find out that it is quite common in the Maritimes. The treatment for this in the beginning was a steroid called prednesone. I was on that for a year and then a combination of inhalers. At some point my weight went down to 120lbs and I had to hold on to the wall to walk down the street. Dr. Bob said it was time to go to the hospital for a pneumonia test and also a test for HIV. The pneumonia test came back positive (walking pneumonia). I lay in the hospital for 2 days before they let me out because I almost drove the staff nuts pacing the halls. A couple days later and what seemed to be an eternity waiting for the other results; my worst nightmare had come true; they told me that I was HIV+.

A few days later I went to Dr. Bob's office to discuss the next steps. There was still laughter in the room but it was mixed with nervous tension that you could feel bouncing off the walls. I was told that I had some time to make up my mind how I wanted to proceed. At the end of our meeting Bob gave me a hug and I felt that he needed it more than I did. I could feel his pain of having to deal with yet another patient of his that is "Positive."

Sometime after that session notices were put up on the impending dissolution of his practice. When it finally closed I was somewhat lost. I never ever thought of not having Bob around as my doctor and doctor/friend. I have a new doctor now and he is a good doctor in a different way and I am starting to like him. Although the sterile walls of his waiting room do not make me feel as welcome and you don't see the smile on the clerks face hidden behind a half wall and glass.

I never want to have anyone say that they are sorry for me. I am alive and doing as well as I can (better than most.) I am lucky that I am doing so well. I fought hard to get myself back and I am not about to give up yet. I must also give a shout to the people at the infectious diseases clinic who have been most patient with me as I am not the easiest to get along with.

I have not seen Bob for a few years but I have heard he is still practicing.

Dr. Robert Fredrickson... I hope you are doing well my friend. May the Almighty (whomever that may be) watch over you and Mary-Lou and keep you well and thanks for being there when I needed you the most.


I'm Going Home

On March 6, 1984, my mother passed away after being in a coma for several years. I don't know how my father dealt with the pain of being there almost every day and not having her talk to him but he did. My sister's and brother's told me of how my dad tended to her as she lay in that hospital bed for all those years. I made a visit before she died. When I arrived the nurses all seemed to recognize me and as I entered the room I saw why, my picture on the wall above mom's head. I felt empty inside when I saw mom laying there, so close but so far away. I needed to talk to her alone but dad was there. I am not mad at him for that because he needed to be there too. I never got to say the thing I wanted to say " I Love You MOM! " .

When mom finally passed that day, it was like I had lost her twice, once when I heard the news of her stroke and again when she passed.

I had no money at the time to arrange to go to Ontario for the funeral so I asked GAE for a loan for plane tickets and time was short. I was told that I could have enough for one way and I would have to hitchhike or whatever to get back. I figured that after all the years, time and energy that I had put into The Turret and Rumours Clubs (free and paid) that the a loan was the least the organization could do. I took the loan for a one way plane ticket and instead I rented a car to get up and back. John Marr would come as company on the trip and did not have a drivers licence but I just needed someone to make the trip. After reaching the other side of Montreal, I could drive no more as I had been awake for at least 24 hours and my eyes could not stay open. We stopped at a little truckstop and got a room for a couple hours to rest and shower. John had a shower while I slept and then he went to the coffee shop and came back a while later and woke me and went back to his coffee. The shower felt great and I almost felt human again. When I stepped out of the shower the floor went squish squish and when I looked the water was all over the room and out in the hall. There was a leak in the wall and I had a long shower. I quickly put my clothes on and put my socks and shoes on outside so I would'nt get them wet and raced over and gave the keys back; turning to John and saying "Let's GO!". John had a puzzled look on his face but responded and we got in the car and drove away as John and I laughed down the highway. The people at the stop were nice and I felt bad about what happened but I had no time to waist. Finally arriving in Toronto, I dropped John off at Clyde Richardson's place and I had to sleep again because I had another 100 miles to go and was still tired and could not make that one my own.I missed my mom's funeral by a couple hours but I was HOME and my family was there. This is one of my few regrets in life, not getting there on time, not getting to say my last..............

I never did pay that loan back out of spite and never gave it a second thought until now. Thanks John Marr, for being my friend and being there, it meant more to me than you will ever know. Just being there sometimes is what being a friend is all about.

Another friend that needs to be mentioned here is John Hurlbert. When I made the first trip home to see mom in the hospital, it was John Hurlbert who gave me the money to go. I think that he thinks I forgot but I did not. John Hurlbert and I have not spoken to one another for many years now (even 3 feet away) as he decided that he does not want to talk to me anymore. He is still my friend even in his silence as far as I am concerned and it hurts when he does not speak.

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