What I Never Really Understood About My Father

If you know me at all, you know that my father was not only a doctor of medicine, but a surgeon. I am the first to give this information out. Pride for sure directs this pronouncement, but also because the title was who he was to the world around me. His hands had that careful attention, that steady strength, a surety that I and his patients could rely on. His journey to achieve his professional status was a place of pride too. I grew up hearing stories of how his family all worked together to fund his college education, his long hours of study that earned him scholarships to medical school, his dedication to master his craft: all of it rolled into that one title added to his name, Doctor Donovan. There were odd days here or there when I’d accompany him on hospital rounds or visit him in his office at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, but regardless of everything I thought I knew about what his professional responsibilities were, last Friday afternoon it struck me, I knew nothing.

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