Friday, November 22, 2013

France Day 9: Fare Thee Well Dr. Mackenzie

Most of you will have no idea who Dr. Mackenzie is, or was, to be more accurate. But I would like to write about him today because he represents so much that is good about humanity.

He was recommended as the consummate dermatologist that might help a persistent radiation burn beat a retreat. After waiting over an hour in a small examination room, he sauntered in with a ziplock bag full of ginseng roots. "Take a handful," he said, generously offering the precious substance.

Most doctors would not greet a new patient with a bag of goodies to munch on, let along a Chinese herb of eastern medicinal origin. But Dr. Mckenzie was no ordinary Los Angeles dermatologist, although he had his fair share of "A list" celebrities getting their wrinkles removed in his private operating room. He never afforded himself the plethora of treatments at his disposal, as at 77 years of age, his bright blue eyes and imposing physique more than made up for a few folds on the face.

He had an encyclopedic knowledge of Chinese medicine, naturepathy, homeopathy, shamanistic healing traditions, as well as a sprinkling of landmark scientific studies to his credit.
After the usual western recommendations and herbal remedies, we would have lengthy metaphysical conversations; his mind spread like a vast web over time and space to tie together a multitude of insights based on seemingly endless references.

These treasured meetings often went on for so long that I began to pity his other patients that were scheduled after me. But he seemed delighted to share his inner thoughts; considered offbeat by fellow in-the-box physicians, he was happy to find a kindred spirit with whom he could converse freely.

The last time I saw him, he mentioned that he needed some tests, vaguely referring to a possible dire report. His bright blue eyes dimmed to gray as he looked up at the ceiling, and then his nurse popped in for the fourth time to insist that he was needed elsewhere.

And indeed he was being called elsewhere. Dr. Mackenzie passed away on November 1st, All Saints Day. Humanity will miss him.

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