Conversations with a Physician

My father had a diligent team of physician, cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon and a cardiologist specialising in arrthymias. They were all top of their game; they excelled in their profession.

But before them he had a only physician, in the days when most people had general practitioners. He was top of his game; he excelled in his art. We shared the same first names.

Dr Basil looked like someone out of Zorba the Greek. He was a character. His wife was a model, Spanish dancer and dress designer. They made a handsome couple.

They were special guests at many of the community, federation and school functions. They were both respected and admired, and participated in the festivities, adding a touch of class. I remember whenever my father took him to a table and sat with him, there was always a bottle of whisky, ice and water in between the plates. Don’t get me wrong, any Greek function worth its salt in those days would have had a bottle of whisky in between the plates of meze. Dr Basil smoked, and my father had tried but we three children had blackmailed him into stopping within a few months. We all detested it even in the years of great adverts.

My father and Dr Basil were great friends.

Sometimes a few days after the functions my father would appear at Dr Basil’s consulting rooms for a physical, occasional for an insurance policy.

“Do you smoke?”

“No, my children made me stop.”

“Good.”

“Do you drink?”

“Eh, you know, a glass here, a glass there, like you.”

Dr Basil looked up over his horn rimmed glasses hanging low on his Roman nose, still weak after the last party. “Hmm, socially. OK, so you only drink a glass or two of whisky on weekends.”

“Exactly.”

Signed, stamped and handed over the form over for my father to apply for insurance.

Shortly after my marriage to Ines in 1993, he stopped at the roadside to assist at a motor vehicle collision. He must have been in his late sixties by then, and was a true Samaritan. After helping he got back into his car.

As he was placing the buckle of his seatbelt a truck drove into his stationary car at full speed and killed him.

My father was lost for a long time without him.

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