death of my doctor

i just called Tamarin’s office about an old old appointment.
i was told by the young woman who answered the phone — in a somber tone rather than the typical harried one — “Umm i don’t know if you know, but Dr. Tamarin passed away last week.”

he was the only primary care physician i have been to in the last five years. maybe the only one that i’ve known in NYC.

whenever i had to go — when i did have insurance — i learned to schedule my appointments early in the morning. the earlier the better. because, any afternoon appointment at the offices of the esteemed Steve Tamarin required an hour-long cushion. there may have been a time that i sat in his waiting room for two-plus hours before passing through the little white door to the inner hallways of his practice.

yet, with those long hours and lags, i didn’t doubt Doc Tamarin. he had a bedside manner — jovial, concerned, patient, straight about health and sincere, [as well as critical of over-prescriptions and the pharma-consumerism of what passes as U.S. corporate-medicine] — that i haven’t known since i had a chain-smoking British doc at 13, or my pediatrician from my 0-6 years, Dr. Ginsburg. Tamarin was running late, but i learned that i could read the magazines (and rarely, take one home with me) if i had to spend half a day in his office. his hands, stethoscope and, more than anything else, his demeanor set him apart from any quick-operating office. i’d rather have the patience for healthy and loving medical attention than have my doctor’s check-up or diagnosis happen like it was a business meeting or transaction.

the delays and the indifference that Tamarin and his exceptional staff (who always had to endure the whinny of a chorus of patients) exuded was always worth it to me. a few friends derided the inefficiencies of the office and nonprofessionalism, but i learned that there is no rushing good care.

i googled him, and learned a few more bits about him, his impact, and (dare i say) his legacy:

hmm, is there another doctor in the house who can fill those shoes?

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Writer. Humanitarian on the long slog to freedom. Baker with many a sweet teeth. Outdoorsman who is a kid at heart.

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