How lucky we are as doctors

I love being a doctor because it gives me a chance to meet people and learn about who they are and what their lives have been like. I never cease to be amazed by who will end up in the chair coming to me for help. While the doctor in me enjoys the opportunity in to help my patients get better, the rest of me loves the ability to talk with people and learn many aspects of the world and life that otherwise I could never see. I have had people who have traveled the world, run large companies, started small companies, served our country, come from other countries, and many who experienced history first hand. I am thankful to meet these people. These are just a few examples of the people I have been lucky enough to meet:

USS Indianapolis a Naval Tragedy

About 3 years ago in Tennessee I meet a very quite man who wore a shirt with the “USS Indianapolis Survivor” on it. This was the WWII ship that was sunk in the Pacific Ocean after dropping off the first atomic bomb to the island base. About 900 sailors went into the water before the ship sank. Over the next 5 days sharks and when rescued only 317 remained attacked them. This was in 1945 and here in my chair was a man who had made it. While he would not speak much of it, I could only be thankful to have the chance to meet a man who went through one of the scariest times in naval history.

Grease Lightening

Another patient in Tennessee would tell me of his adventures as a young man (he was in his 70s when I meet him) running moonshine. This was before the history channel started a show on this world. He would tell me of his car with 2 tail pipes, on for the engine and the other to pour the shine out. He would drive up to a customer and they would place their jar under the pipe, flip and switch and out came the white lighting. The first hand stories of running and hiding from the local police were better then any action movie.

German Jews Survive

Here in Florida I have had 3 patients who were German Jews in the 1930 and early 40s. While I have read many descriptions of that time and place, none could compare to hearing their personal stories. And while that time was one of the greatest tragedies of modern time, the fact that all three became successful people showed me how strong the human spirit can be.

Even a Car Can Not Stop the Smile

I have a patient that despite being hit by a car while bicycle riding has not lost her joy for living. She comes into the office in a wheelchair but her smile is from ear to ear when talking about getting out around people and talking with her friends. I wonder how when life hits you so hard can you continue to embrace it so but I am reminded that while you can not always control what happens you can control your outlook on it.

The Play Must Go On

I recently had the fortune of having a couple as patients that were involved in the local theater. My wife and I were invited to the theater’s celebration of their 80th year of existence. We had an incredible night talking with former performers, watching the current ones sing and dance in front of our table and be amazed about what our community has to offer. All because I was able to sit and talk to a couple that otherwise I would have never known.


These are just a few of the many stories and people I have had the privilege to hear. At this time of thanks and cheer I can be really thankful to share a small part in my patients lives. The ability to help in the treatment of their disease is a privilege; the ability to sit and learn from them is an honor.


Jody G. Abrams, MD


Sarasota Retina Institue

Sarasota Florida





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