Wednesday, December 3, 2008
In Memorium- Daniel J Kliman, MD
I found out some bad news today. My doctor died. He was 38 years old. It's strange because I was thinking last night as I fell asleep how those of us with a serious chronic illness and housebound are often isolated so our relationships with MD's can be that much more meaningful.
This was especially so with Dr Kliman whom I saw monthly. He was the one who referred me to someone who diagnosed me within 5 weeks of seeing him which is relatively unheard of with an illness like CFIDS. He took my symptoms seriously from the get go, did some creative testing, referred me to a rheumatologist (to rule out Lupus) and then prescribed Valcyte.
Each appointment we would spend at least an hour talking about things having nothing to do with medicine. Mostly revolving around his life outside of being an MD so I learned a lot about him. Medicine was his calling. He was devoted to Judaism and an active member of his synagogue on Oakland. So much so that he lived near there and biked to work every day. He was co-founder for a group called a Voice for Israel. Many of our conversations revolved around Israel. He told me about how his nephew's Hebrew name meant "tree". He loved learning languages and was taking Arabic.
The last time I saw him was 11/20. We spent so much time talking that the other patient was getting agitated and threatening to leave so I didn't get a chance to tell him that I thought he was a really good doctor. I had planned on sending him a card over the holiday's saying so. I had also planned on saying in the card how much our relationship meant to me and how much I enjoyed our talks. In fact during our last visit I said to him I felt inspired and realized that just because I was sick didn't mean I couldn't stop learning or studying.
He was eagerly looking forward to his two week trip to Israel starting Thanksgiving.
I always knew where I stood with him. He was vocal about not liking to work with CFIDS's patients because they made him feel helpless. He said he didn't mind working with me because I was so matter of fact about the whole thing-I wasn't trying to get him to cure me. I appreciated his honesty. In spite of his feelings he ran tests and was a good medical doctor. I had decided I was going to continue seeing him even though we were moving out of town and that I was going to have him follow me while on Valcyte since he was covered by my insurance. He was looking forward to seeing how Valcyte worked and told me I would be his first Valcyte patient.
It was also during our last visit that he shared some information with me that leads me to the conclusion that his death was not an accident. Something had occurred a week prior that he was puzzled and a bit rattled about. He shared it with me. I commented how it sounded like a spy novel and was puzzled as well.
He died by "falling" down an elevator shaft in San Francisco on Tuesday the 25th. There are too many questionable things about his death. He was too smart a man to walk into an open elevator shaft. His body was found on Monday.
I always knew Dr. Kliman was there in the background. I could get a same day appointment whenever I needed and he had a brilliant mind always surprising me with the details he remembered about me. I felt safe knowing that if I were ever hospitalized that the hospital would get accurate current information from Dr Kliman simply because he had such a good memory.
It was clear that though he loved medicine that he had many, many interests loved life, and lived it fully. He lived his life with integrity according to his values and wasn't afraid to stand up for what he believed.
It's been very upsetting. I will really miss him. My world is really small right now and he had a big place in it.
שלום עליכם shālôm ʻalêḵem or sholom aleichem Dan Kliman
Posted by me/cfs warrior at 5:05 PM