by Frank Beresheim
I went to my Doctor's office for my usual visit, taking the back way to get there. It is a nice view of the scenic Catskills, with it's beautiful evergreen trees, hills and small streams. I finally get to town, make a right turn, and find a parking spot in what appears to be a small house, but is my Doctor's office. I struggle to get out of my car and walk a small pathway, huffing and puffing to his office. I walk through the doorway to the sliding glass window to speak with the receptionist, Mare. She greets me with her usual, hello, followed by, "you made it on time this time, with a smile. She then said has a seat. Alfie will see you in a few.
My Doctor, Alfie is laid back, never appears stressed, and wants to be called, Alfie. So I go to my favorite seat, an old leather seat with wooden arms which next to a round table filled with magazines, and try to pick one out. He always has some runner magazine, or a bicycle magazine, or some sports magazine, along with women's magazines. As I was looking. Susie, his nurse came to the door and called me in, "Frank, please follow me" and I struggled to get up out of my seat, but nonetheless, I followed her to the first office. I would probably follow her anywhere I sat down in the chair where she took my blood pressure, pulse and temperature. I asked how it was and she said it looks like your blood pressure is a little high, 150 over 90, but Alfie will talk to you more about it.
I always thought Suzie was beautiful with her black hair and nice smile, but she lost weight and became a knockout. I always found myself asking her how do you do it, and she always responds with,"I tell you all the time, watching my diet, and doing some aerobic exercises". She then left the room, closed the door, and that is when I noticed the full length mirror on the back of the door. I got a good chance to see my self, and heard myself say, wow that what you will look like in 10 years, then I realized that is how I look now.
I glanced around the room, looking at the art work Alfie had in the room, he had posters of runs he had been on, NYC Marathon, some bicycle rides he had ridden and a poster from the local theater of a dramatic play that he performed in. My eye quickly went back to the mirror, and again I found myself looking at myself and how much weight I had put on.
Alfie walked in, and he kind of startled me because of my gaze in the mirror. He closed the door and put his hands crossed behind him, and smiled. You could see happiness behind his glasses, and believed he was a very happy person. He had greying hair, but had pulled back in a long ponytail. He was mature, but had a very youthful appearance. The way he dressed reminded me of my high school gym teacher, gym pants, sneakers, a shirt and a tie with some cartoon on it.
I got your lab work back, and you know how it reads. He smiled and said, life is short, but it is filled with many memories, and for some it is but a memory. He then said "is this how you wanted to be remembered?". I squeezed my eyebrows together and looked at him with my puzzled face, he had always been laid back and this was uncharacteristic of him. He said too many people they have good and bad memories of others, some are remembered for their personalities, some for their intelligence, and some for their healthy appearance. "Do you like how you look when you look in my mirror?" I was speechless, and couldn't believe he was saying this to me.
"It is kind of like cars, do you want to be remembered as the lemon or the sleek four hundred and fifty thousand racer cars?" He noticed me sinking lower in my seat, it was then he said "you can be like the race car if you want it". "If I bought you a four hundred and fifty thousand dollar European race car, how would you take care of it?". I said I don't like foreign cars and he laughed, as if it were so funny. He then turned to me with a serious face, looking me dead in the eye and said softly, " if I bought you that race car, would you check the oil daily?" I said yes, to which he added "would you keep it clean?" Again said yes. He then spoke a little louder and said if you had that race car you would take very good care of it right?" "In fact you would probably take better care of then you take care of your self, wouldn't you?" I thought about for a second before saying yes.
He went back to the door, crossed his arms behind him and put his foot on the door, tilted his head down, and said " isn't it amazing that you would take care of a car better than your self?" He went on to say, I have given you medication, sent you to a nutritionist, but you have chosen not to take care of your self". "Frank you can be like that race car, you can be physically fit, you are worth it!". I want you to start taking care of your self like you would that race car, follow a diet, work out, you owe it to your self!"
I walked out of the office, and didn't check in with Mare, or say goodbye to Suzie, and just flew out of there. As I left the building, I was flooded with raw emotion, first anger, then I came to realize that he told me all that because he really cared.
That was a year ago, since then I worked on my race car, I ride my bicycle 2 hours a day, I do weights a half hour daily, and I eat a near vegetarian diet. I have lost over one hundred pounds, my blood pressure is textbook, I don't need to use insulin because my diabetes is better than a person without diabetes. I keep a small metal toy race car in my pocket, to remind me that I need to take care of my race care instead of eating bad foods, and to remind me I need to go to the gym. I love my race car!
copyright Frank Beresheim, 2012