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Not your average physician

Dear Editor:My time in ‘Nam finished, free of the clutches of my rogue government, I wandered around Asia for another 10 years before “coming home” to the States. I arrived in Aspen one month short of the end of the ’70s. About the only thing I was carrying was a monster 10-year opiate habit.My make-it-to-America stash ran out on a Wednesday. By Friday night, I was laying on a friend’s floor, convulsing, flopping around like a fish out of water, puking my guts out hoping to die. Things progressed, got worse and my friend dumped me in the ER at Aspen Valley Hospital. That’s where I met Dr. Whit.I’m sure in his parade of patients, he’d never met anyone like me, but he turned out to be everything you’d ever want a healer to be. (Get back, Marcus Welby, you couldn’t hold a candle to Dr. Whit!)At a time and place where one would expect the average physician to cop an attitude of “nothing to do with this flotsam, it’s his own fault,” the good doctor rolled up his sleeves, admitted me, and began a course of treatment that, at that time, was considered either cutting edge or “voodoo medicine” (which I later learned was how many in Aspen looked upon Whit’s ideas). I mean come on. What’s the average citizen going to think of a dude who has you take off your shoes and stand on a plate while he hits various points on your hand with a stylus attached to a beeping computer. Each of us that knew him had our own opinion. In my case, he pulled me through a horrendous jones that would have destroyed most people, and he did it with not much more that an IV of Ringers jacked up with vitamin C (à la Linus Pauling). I went in the ER on a Friday night and on the following Tuesday, just after my 30th birthday, I strapped on a pair of downhill skis for the first time in my life and took off down the bunny slope at Highlands. I was learning to ski! Thirty years old and recovering from a 10-year habit that most wouldn’t have lived through, and I owe all this to Dr. Whit.Thank you my man! You made no judgments, no right or wrong morality-based decisions. No, you did your best to heal this stranger who was washed up on your doorstep. Now that’s what a doctor should be. It didn’t stop there. He watched over me over the years. He wrote letters to my doctor in Thailand explaining his detox treatment, enabling me to get treatment when I needed it over there.The last time I saw Dr. Whit, he gave me a hug and told me to “keep on keeping on” and he’d be with me. What a loss to Aspen and me. Thank you Dr. Whit.Kenneth GourlyPort St. Lucia, Fla.


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