When my daughter was about four years old, she went through a time where she was having frequent nosebleeds; I don't really know why; perhaps because, like most little kids, she picked her nose. Usually I'd have her lie down and be quiet, and the nosebleed would stop.
One day, though, the profuse bleeding would not stop, and I became worried; I called my mom and asked her to pick us up and take us to the local doctor, who had just opened up a clinic in Oak Grove. Once Rachel and I were in an exam room, younger-than-me Doctor DeBlase came in, asked what the situation was, and rather gruffly showed me where to apply pressure to my daughter's nose (up around the bridge of her nose, I believe). Then he stated, "Anyone can stop a child's nosebleed; it's not hard."
And he went on to another exam room to see another patient.
I sat there obediently holding on to Rachel's nose for at least forty-five minutes; when he finally returned, he said, "OK, you can stop. It should be all right now."
As soon as I took my hand away, the nose started gushing again.
"Ha," I thought, "that's what you get for being so short with me."
He cauterized a place inside my daughter's nose, which stopped the bleeding.
Down through the years after that, there were various doctors we patronized, but I always remembered that young smart-aleck who had tried to brush me off.
As old age approached and I realized I needed a regular family doctor, I went back to Oak Grove Medical Clinic, but I chose Dr. Deblase's partner as my physician. No way was I going back to that punk who had been so rude to me thirty years earlier.
It never occurred to me that the man might simply have been having a bad day.
Then my husband had a four-way heart bypass, and I said, "Cliff, I think you should use Dr. Deblase as your primary-care doctor now; he's had a heart attack himself, and I think that would make him more sensitive to your needs."
Oh my goodness, how glad I am that I came up with that idea, because Dr. Deblase was as sweet and caring a man as you would ever want to meet. On our visits, we'd swap motorcycle stories: the good doctor rode a Harley, we had our Honda. He regaled us with stories of riding to Sturgis, and told us of times he shipped his bike to the west coast so he could ride out there. His wife didn't really enjoy riding, he told us.
One time we were discussing Cliff's Lipitor (don't ever stop taking it, he said) and Doc talked about a new study that hinted at some possible new benefits of the drug; he looked at Cliff and said, smiling, "We're going to live forever!"
Unfortunately, he was wrong. A couple of years ago, he woke up one morning and couldn't feel his legs.
I never saw Dr. Deblase after he was diagnosed with brain cancer, but I inquired about him when Cliff and I visited the clinic; I could tell by the answers I was given that he was going downhill. Yesterday Cliff was scanning through a two-week-old copy of The Odessan and saw the obituary; even though we had expected the news for some time, it hit us like a ton of bricks.
guest book; he left his mark on a lot of lives. Dr. Joseph Deblase, you will be missed more than you'll ever know. You were a prince among men. Rest in peace.