Sometimes you experience something in life that’s rocks your core and makes you take stock of the short time we have here.
Today was one of those days.
My wife and I took our almost 8 month old daughter to see a specialist. I say “almost 8” because at month 8, the doctor wouldn’t see her.
Our pediatrician told us that after month 8, it really doesn’t make sense to get your baby checked out for having “flat head syndrome.”
That’s what the check up was for…
We simply wanted to know if our daughter would grow to resemble her parents with decently shaped human heads or that of an alien.
In my case, maybe both!
We asked our pediatrician and he seemed to think it would be fine. After all, he’d seen countless babies over the years and had seen our daughter grow up since her very first day on earth.
He gave her the first check up, her first shots and vaccines, and so on.
He also shared with us a sort of “go with the flow” philosophy on parenting I could get on board with…and a “no TV policy” that was far less exciting.
“Her head is fine” he said.
“She’s perfectly healthy. But if you really want to get her checked out I have a good friend and specialist that you can see.”
A week goes by…
“Dan, our daughter is going to look like an alien!” my wife said.
I replied, “But aliens have big heads because their brains need the space.”
You can guess who won the debate.
So today we went to see the specialist.
“So what brings you here today?” said the specialist, Dr Peter.
“We are concerned our daughter’s head may becoming too deformed and could present some developmental issues. Our pediatrician said it probably wasn’t a big deal but we figured we’d come in anyway especially now that we think her head has gotten a little worse” said my wife.
He took a quick look and her head was fine.
He asked, “Who’s your pediatrician?”
“Dr. Cammerman”, my wife responded.
“O he’s great. He was my kids pediatrician their whole lives. They are teenagers now but they’ve been seeing him forever.”
As a new parent, it felt pretty great to know another doctor shared the same pediatrician as us. We told him how much we liked him and how great he was with our daughter.
“We saw him 3 weeks ago and will be going back soon for another check up.”
He asked, “you’re going to see who?”
“Dr. Cammerman,” I said.
And then another question….
I said, “Yes, the same pediatrician your kids use. The one that sent us here.”
“I don’t know how to tell you this but Dr. Cammerman died two weeks ago in a biking accident.”
“He was riding from his home on the upper west side across Central Park to his office, he slipped on a patch of ice and was hit by a school bus.”
He was only 50 years old with two kids.
But he really had more like hundreds if not thousands of kids over his career.
My daughter was one of them.
And now a good soul and good man is gone. In such a short period of time he imparted wisdom, kindness and care on me and my family.
I wish my daughter would have gotten to know him better.
I’m sure his family wishes for a lot more than that.
I do too.
I can only hope with time they appreciate and cherish the impact he’s made on so many children and families. His kindness and caring will stick with me forever and act as another reminder of how important it is to be kind and be in service of others, wherever and however we can. Life is too short to do otherwise.
He knew that and became a doctor.
He will be missed.
Please do something good today. Make a dent in the world in a positive way.