I love doctors, I really do. I have all sorts of them. I have a general practitioner, an allergist, gastroenterologist, dermatologist, sleep therapist, I even have a psychiotrist to help me deal with some of the recent issues.
Ok, hypochondria does run big in my family. My cousin Jahan (lives in Paris) and I used to joke about how our relatives when they visited from Iran, first place they wanted to go after getting off the plane was to see a doctor. Hey, how about seeing the Eiffel Tower today? No thanks, I rather see a good proctologist instead! It’s not like they don’t have good doctors in Iran, they do. It’s like being from Napa Valley and wanting to go wine tasting in Bordeaux. Now there are some differences between doctors in Iran and US, main one being how they conduct physical exams. In Iran as far as I remember the doctors never performed the cough test. The legend has it that one of my older relatives punched out a doctor after the infamous cough test. “He was getting fresh with me” he said afterward.
Doctors in Persian culture hold the highest social status. All parents want their kids to become doctors. During my entire childhood my mother nagged my brother and I to go into medicine. This didn’t help since my childhood best friend Surush was a genius. His entire family were geniuses, setting the academic standards too high for my brother & I. Surush was gonna be a doctor, and gosh darn it so was Arash. Surush of course did become a doctor and now lives in London. His father was actually our pediatrician, a wonderful man that to my heartbreak passed away unexpectedly this year. I will write about our friendship with this nice family and the stories of us growing up in Iran later.
In college, in order to make my mother happy I tried changing my major to pre-med. At my university (Cal Poly) it was easier to pass a kidney stone than change majors. I spoke to the department head, and he agreed if I can pass Anatomy & Physiology he would let me change majors. It sounded like a good deal, Doctor Arash Golbon…Has a ring to it, ha? The first few weeks of the class weren’t too bad. There were a lot of memorization but it was doable. Then the lab came, and this wasn’t just any lab. This was looking at cadavers’ lab. Three days post looking at Uncle Oscar’s corpse I was out of there. That yellowish dead body still gives me the creeps. You see the department head was smart enough to know that medicine wasn’t just for anybody. If you can’t handle a dead body perhaps you are better off being a bean counter, which is exactly what I ended up doing.
My respect for medical field grew even more when we met one of our closest friends Diana. We met Diana and her husband kid’s ballet class. Their daughters were the same age as ours so it was a good match. Diana is a local neurologist graduated from one of the top medical schools in the country but you would never know this from her modest demeanor and down to earth attitude. Diana picked medicine not for its prestige or promise of riches, but because she wanted to help people. She became our rock during Molly’s diagnosis. She was there during the infamous November night when the surgeon told me sympathetically that my wife had possible Stage 4 cancer. What the hell is Stage 4? When we get to stage 5, do we get a do over?
While the surgeon was speaking to me, I grabbed my phone and called Diana. “Diana, I need you. I don’t know what he is saying but Molly is really sick”. She left her office right away and was at the hospital within 20 minutes. Diana talked to the surgeon, helped me get Molly checked out of hospital, and for the next few weeks she was there for us every step of the way. She looked at all the scans, and calmed us when we found out Molly’s cancer had spread to her brain. She was the one who insisted we have Heather Wakelee as our oncologist.
After diagnosis Diana took Molly out on frequent lunches and pedicures to keep her spirits up. She even invited us to joint her entire family on a Caribbean Cruise. Since she knew we would need a vacation but wouldn’t arrange it ourselves.
Diana is the reason I still look at doctors as rock stars. This blog is dedicated to Diana, Surush’s dad, and all of the other doctors who wake up every morning to help people.
Ok, That’s it…..I’ll start nagging Madison tomorrow to become a doctor :). She did say when she grew up she wanted to cure cancer. Doctor Madison Golbon….I really like that.