A highlight from Stories from a Pandemic: Part II - Ep.2: Covid Hits Home

The Nocturnists


The day after christmas in twenty twenty. I got an email from a medical student named jackie. She was writing on behalf of her partner. Neil also medical student. Neil's father a gastroenterologist and colorado had died of covid nineteen just two weeks prior and neil and. Jackie wanted to tell his story okay. I'm recording according all rights. Are you in your childhood home right now. I am yeah and you're in pueblo. I'm in pueblo. I listened to quite a few of the recordings today. And i'd like to just rewind a little bit back to that day where you and. Jackie emailed me so about a week. After my dad passed away. I think it was some time in the afternoon on a saturday. Maybe we decided to you that email. I just wanted to feel like. I had tried to do something to honor him. Because i felt like we had been so cheated and robbed of some of the traditional grieving rituals. And i it just it just ate at me. I felt gutted by that. I wanted to talk about what my family and i had gone through during that period. What i went through during that period you know being and being son. It's sort of hit me in our conversation that this could actually be pretty good arctic process for me. It was like the first time. Actually that i didn't feel am. I allowed to curse dickerson. This like it was like the first time. I didn't feel like shit unlike weeks over the weekend. Public county moved into level. Three which high risk that means. We have two weeks to competitive. We are now driving and downtown twelve blow. Were passing by the courtyard marriott. My dad's fran told me that. They stayed here when they first came out here to see if they might wanna move your together and he told me a story or he said that him and my dad were smoking cigarettes in the stair wall and when they left to go meet with the an administrator at the hospital and as they came back they saw that the fire trucks any outside the marriott and they started freaking out because they thought maybe something that they did. That was the reason that That there were fire trucks out there. That maybe wanna one of their cigarette started a fire. Finally they walked into the marriott and they found out that is something to believe unrelated but that was my dad's first or second in pueblo. That happened so it's kind of an interesting city because when you think of colorado the image that everyone has is he snowcapped mountains and sitting inside chalet or something like that drinking hot cocoa after. You're finished skiing. That's not really what plo as A couple of nicknames one of them is steel city because pueblos kind of old steel town or steel manufacturing is to be the primary source of jobs here. Those days ended a while ago. There's a lot of pride here. I feel that. I think that's something that's really special about this this place. This is jackie neal's partner. So this is the downtown. We're driving on union street and it's super old when i think of colorado on from california i definitely thought of like hippies from boulder but this is like old lake water towers still mills everywhere and dust royal brick building. No frills no nothing. This is like this is a heartland. I did your dad. She has level. Do we had just come from a really small town in oklahoma. About twelve thousand people and well over ninety percent of that town was was white. And you know my dad deal with a few racial incidents as result particularly after nine eleven. We felt a lot more comfortable here. I don't think we've felt sort of that sense of being different as much as we did in oklahoma so it was a fresh start then almost never happened because apparently my dad almost burned down the marriott d- we are now at the hospital in town. There's a medical office building right across the street. I remember my dad extremely busy. We would come do our homework. There's so many patients there. It was it was crazy. You know he would work until eight. Nine o'clock at night go check on any patients that he had that needed to be admitted. We got to know the staff really well. Some of them are still still around today. The union all right. Can you please state your name your job and how you need dr phil. My name is sandy. bijon. I'm a general surgeon and i am chief medical officer for parkview medical center. I knew dr a hill through my surgical practice. Pueblos citizens are among the most vulnerable in the state if not the country. It's a very challenging patient. Mix to deal with losing. Dr hill is a huge loss for the community and his patients. We are going to struggle to fill that void with someone of such calibre dignity and influence. Neil's father tool. The hill was born in nineteen fifty. Three in new delhi india. He was introduced to neil's mom lily through mutual friends and they were married on january. Fifteenth nineteen eighty-four soon. After that they moved to the united states in pursuit of the american dream they lived in a small apartment in queens complete with a mattress on the floor and small television on a cardboard box. Neil and his brother were born here during their dad's medical training and that first year doctor of a hill took on various odd jobs to make ends meet he. I think he sold newspapers when he first game insurance. No i think he. I like when door to door in the valley and sold newspapers. Yeah so got here. He couldn't work as a doctor and he had to try to get a residency spot but no one would take him and so he needs to make money with quote punks like a derogatory way but in like actual they had spiked mohawks in the valley in the eighties. Always told me this story like every time he's like one of the girls like fainted or something. It was so hot outside and are going door to door trying to sell something and she passed out and so your dad was helping her checking her polls but he didn't tell anyone that he was a doctor. He had his accident everything he's like. I'm not gonna tell you. What actual doctor. Because i am selling newspapers right now or whatever he was selling in the valley. Dr phil went to me route university in india. And then did his internal medicine residency in new delhi but it wasn't licensed to practice in the united states and he knew that in order to do so you would to redo his residency from scratch

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