Go Ravens

by michael fingerhood on January 28, 2013

I often discuss sports with my patients.  For me it is an easy and genuine way to build rapport.  Over the last few years, the Baltimore Ravens have been a frequent topic of conversation.  When it came to Brian, the Ravens were a true passion.

I met him in July 2009.  He was retired from a career in the military and now was leading a business venture.  He was a master story teller and loved to chat.  We always made sure he had the last appointment of the morning, because return visits lasted up to an hour- fifteen minutes for medical concerns and forty five minutes for chatting. 

Then disaster struck in October 2011.  A new complaint of dysphagia turned out to be esophageal cancer with liver metastases.  He elected to have chemotherapy in Florida, where he had a condominium, so he could gaze out his window at the tranquility of the ocean each morning. We talked on the phone weekly for an update on his health and to talk about the Ravens.

In January 2012, the Ravens won their division and received a first round bye with a home playoff game for the first time in years.  Brian called me with a request to join him at the game in Baltimore.  He was weak from chemotherapy, but was flying up to Baltimore on a private jet to go to the game. 

At the stadium, he greeted me with a hug.  He appeared frail, but of course was his usual jovial self.  The entrance of Ray Lewis brought a huge smile. We watched the game together, rooting for the Ravens as they won to advance to the AFC championship game (what happened the following week was a different sad story).  We parted after the game with another hug as he was flying back to Florida later that night.

Brian passed away about two months later.  A few days ago, I received a message that his wife had called.  When I called, she was not home, so I chatted with his daughter for about fifteen minutes.  She could definitely chat like her dad.  Of course, much of the conversation was about the Ravens.  For sure, as I watch the Super Bowl this coming weekend, I will be thinking of Brian. Go Ravens.

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