Borrego Sun - Since 1949

"Doctor Jaime Paris"


Last updated 6/15/2021 at 9:39am

Many of us who have been in Borrego for some time will remember a good man, my friend and doctor, Jaime Paris, a particularly special man. Next time you visit the Clinic, look for his photograph, and then ask about Dr. Paris. You’ll be regaled with a good story or two; his is a remembrance that deserves to endure.

I was seen by a specialist in a prestigious medical facility in San Diego. I like and trust this doctor, and will continue to see him. But I was reminded of how I miss my old friend. When I arrived at the facility, I was, for the Nth time, again asked to fill out a raft of forms. When I came to the question about how many drinks I consume per week, I decided to test the process and wrote in “50 to 100.” We all know nobody reads these things. I’m not expecting a call of concern. Predictably, not one of the five people who saw the form said a word about any of it. Perhaps COVID has brought on some serious imbibing.

However, Dr. Paris would have noticed.

Form-filling took 10 minutes, I spent 15 minutes in the waiting room, 10 minutes in the examination room, the PA took 10 minutes, then I had the briefest of visits with this modern doctor, and then was debriefed for another 10 minutes by another PA.

Dr. Paris alone took well over an hour with me during my intake interview. By the time it was over, he was intimately familiar with my medical history, and that of my entire family. Before ensuing visits, he reviewed my history carefully. I knew he cared about me and understood my medical situation more deeply because he cared.

Jaime was from Colombia. I am from Chile. He was a doctor in love with literature. I was accepted to medical school, but studied comparative literature. Our connection was inevitable.

During his last days, when we no longer were able to enjoy a fine lunch and a few poems at the Borrego Springs Resort, I had the privilege of spending time with him, in his home, reading to him. Some authors he’d loved for decades, and others he was coming to embrace. Jaime’s gift to me was the opportunity to revisit and share Neruda, Cervantes, Merwin, Stafford, García Lorca, Unamuno, and others who’d wandered away from me over the years.

One of my treasures is a signed copy of a collection of poems by the Italian Modernist poet I met in 1969; here’s a seven-syllable poem of Giuseppe Ungaretti’s Jaime was very fond of: “m’illumino d’immenso.” Read it aloud. Listen to it reverberate as you bring it to life. Wonder a bit. Chances are you’ll have met a fine man.

Gracias Doctor, te extraño.

Gary Haldeman

– Borrego Springs, California

You might be interested in:
Rendered 09/20/2023 10:13