Friday, June 3, 2011

до свидания Dear Doctor

Dr. Dmitriy Nikitin

Dr. Dmitriy Nikitin, clad in green scrubs and a puffy green surgery cap leaned into my hospital doorway at three a.m. and said, “How are you doing?”
“I could use a big shot of morphine and someone to get that beeping to stop.”
He came in, left the lights off as he remembered I was sensitive, and snuffed the infernal I.V. alarm.
“You’re up late, Dr. Dmitriy…”
“Emergency surgery. All done now. I am tired…” he said in heavily accented English. Dr. Dmitriy was of Russian origins. “But since I was here, I check on you too.”
“Go home! Snuggle your wife. Kiss your kids,” I said. “I’ll get by.” He smiled a weary grin, waved, and slipped away down the hall. Nurse was there in minutes with a new I.V. bag and pain relief. I knew Dr. Dimitriy had a hand in the rapid response. It took an act of congress and a bribe otherwise.
I remember running my fingers across the immaculate row of staples that perfectly knitted up my stomach. I don’t hate my osprey feather scar at all. It symbolizes the many more years I will have in this life because someone knew how to give me that gift. Chin and Nikitin knew how.
The mysterious vocation of the surgeon provokes awe in me. The courage to hold the organs of another human in their hands, with a purpose to heal, is perhaps the closest to the divine as I can comprehend.

Florida Hospital Transplant Team
I was dealt a royal flush, hearts, when the Florida Hospital Transplant Center took me as a patient. I had a big invasive benign tumor in my abdomen that needed to come out immediately before it put a strangle hold on my vena cava and eclipsed a kidney. Dr. Lawrence Chin was the lead physician on my case and Dr. Dmitriy Nikitin partnered with him.  They gave me life beyond what I might have been dealt had I been born 200 years earlier.
Dream team doesn’t adequately describe.
Angel men might.
All my major surgery drama took place during the holidays, so I was a little blue as carolers made their way up and down the hospital halls. I bumped into them as I was taking my laps to the nurses’ station and back. You don’t walk around after abdominal surgery, you don’t poop. One must jump start the intestinal mill before one is deemed well enough. No poop, no go home. So I was walking, well, shuffling, with a purpose most days.
Finally the blessed event manifested, I flushed, and I lobbied passionately to be sprung from medical gulag. Dr. Dmitriy was on call, so he gleefully did the honors.
“Do your people celebrate this holiday?” he said as we bid farewell.
“Yes, indeed we do!” I responded.
“MEDDY CHREESMUS!” he bellowed, laughing. And, with that, he was gone.
Shot and killed in the hospital parking lot by a man to whom he had transplanted a liver and a kidney.  It has been reported that Dr. Dmitiry's fellow surgeons tried so hard but failed to save his life. 
I can't write any more now.
More in-depth background on Dr. Dmitriy:
And more -


  1. One of those times when life flat-out doesn't make any sense and we're left to struggle through as we wonder why.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Linnnn, and his family...


  2. This is SO sad... so heart breaking... someone who is out there working and making a difference in the lives of others... *sighs*

    God Bless him...

    I trust that you are ok...



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