Do you know anyone who is just so genuine, so nice – beyond nice, is just incredibly kind, compassionate, caring, and considerate? I think most of us can think of at least a few people who fit that bill, right?
Any of you have your surgeon fit that bill?
Meet Dr. Aniceto Baltasar:
Nicest guy you’ll ever meet.
When I met him the first time face to face – it was late June 2002 – I weighed 365 pounds, was in a wheelchair, it was hotter than hell in Spain and I was sweating like a pig! I was sick – you know – I-have-a-BMI-of-66-and-every-co-morbidity-in-the-book kind of sick. We met in the hallway of the hospital (we call it the Clinica – which is short for Sanitorio San Jorge – it’s a small private hospital). He’d just come up the stairwell to the floor he spotted me – his eyebrows raised – a big smile came to his face, he came right over to me, knelt down on one knee, took my hand in both of his, and said, “Dina – I’m so glad you are here. I am Dr. B.”
I was a little taken aback. THE MAN WAS ON HIS KNEES IN THE HALLWAY INTRODUCING HIMSELF! I was embarrassed.
He looked me in the eye – then he took one hand and gently patted my cheek. He said with a level of compassion and empathy that I have no idea how he came by, “We are going to make you well. Everything will be better.” Then he laughed a little laugh and said, “Some things will feel a little worse right after surgery – surgery hurts! But soon you will be much better.”
We stayed that way – him on his knees, me in my wheelchair – essentially taking up a pretty good part of the hallway – for maybe 10 or 15 minutes, and then he suggested we move into my room and continue our conversation.
I could go on and on about how amazing and fantastic he is. I have the benefit of over 8 years of having corresponded with him, and many, many, many face-to-face conversations, shared meals, walks and talks with he and Mrs. Baltasar through Alcoy late at night after dinner, countless telephone calls. I’m still trying to talk him into texting – LOL!
We all (okay – most of us) have a certain level of awe and admiration for our bariatric surgeons. They’re the ones who have saved our lives, started the transformation that we could only barely get a glimpse of in our imaginations, and had the compassion to take our “risk” on.
I just get so proud when I say to someone, “My bariatric surgeon is Dr. Aniceto Baltasar.” And their eyes light up and they say, “Wow! That’s impressive!”
Imagine my pride at getting this news!
Of course there have been other awards over the years – I was trying to find a concise listing of them – but it’s just too much work!
It’s so cool to be able to go out and look at a body of published work and find my dear friend and surgeon listed – over and over again. It also makes me thankful that he’s so dedicated to continuing to refine his understanding and skill – and share the results with others – so that other patients can benefit.
Congratulations, Dr. B! Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!