"What my doctor doesn't know..."

By Steve Hirby

When Ben and Sage were married in Madison over Labor Day in 2001, Dad and Dixie came to the festivities. Even though Dad was a dialysis patient, and needed supplemental oxygen most of the time because of his weakened heart and lungs, he and Dixie were able to fly from Cleveland to Madison on Thursday evening, the day of the rehearsal. John had made arrangements for oxygen in transit, and Tecla travelled with them "just in case." They arrived just in time for the rehearsal dinner, which was held at Luigi's restaurant, just off the capital square in downtown Madison.

Dad was seated next to Paul Goellner, Sage's dad; Paul is a physician. Especially after Mom's death, Dad had developed, and probably even nurtured, a skepticism about the medical profession and the motives of doctors. But Paul is an amiable person, and his friendliness together with Dad's natural gregariousness allowed an easy camaraderie to develop between the two of them.

As we were waiting for dinner to be served, we nibbled on appetizers that had been set out on the tables in advance. These appetizers were all quite tasty, but several, like the bruschetta, were characteristically salty. Dad was a person who enjoyed good food, and despite the limitations imposed by his dialysis regimen, he helped himself to some of most everything on the table.

Watching this, and being aware of Dad's condition, Paul said to him at one point, "Does your doctor know you're eating things like that?"

To which Dad replied, "What my doctor doesn't know won't hurt me."

(Thanks to Paul Goellner for recounting this incident to us.)