“Tata, I hit my head really hard this afternoon…..yep, I think I was knocked out for a bit….my vision is okay, and my pupils look fine, it’s my head, it’s foggy feeling. I think I should see a neurologist.”
“Yes, I think you should. I’ll call you back after I get you the name of a Mayo Clinic trained doctor in Madrid.”
My father called back five minutes later, “Here’s the name of a neurologist…a year or two behind me….call when you get your results.”
I went to the neurologist.
“How did you get my name?”
“My father gave it to me – he found it in his Mayo Clinic Directory.”
He looked at my file and squinted, “Brzustowicz? Brzustowicz! I knew of your father of course, we all heard of him.” And the Spanish doctor chuckled.
“I worked with his mentor, too, you know.” He chuckled again.
“You see, the mentor’s wife ran away to Spain and took up with a bull-fighter – very cliché – they both died in a car accident.” He tapped my knee with a little rubber hammer. My knee kicked out obligingly but now I squinted at the doctor, my hands were frozen outward, palms up, shoulders raised, waiting for an explanation. He saw that I was hooked, and he smiled and continued.
“Your father. Yes, besides being a great surgeon, a man of such deep integrity, he was, apparently, very handsome to women. I had women come to me asking about your father, angry that he had turned down their advances. ‘Of course have you seen his wife?’ I would ask them. Your mother, now, she was a beauty with her jet black hair, what a face! It was your mother who was so spectacular, but these women, these women were just wild about your father – and the fact that he was so in love with your mother, well; it made them love him more. Now, let’s take a look at that bump on your head….”
That neurologist was good, at that moment my head was absolutely sharp, not a bit of fog remained as I caught a clear glimpse of my parents’ devotion, decades and an ocean away.