Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the wonderful fathers out there who gift their children with their whimsy, passion, and thoughtfulness.

I lost my Dad 10 years ago, but I'm still enjoying his gifts ever day because he touched so many ways I look at things. My dad was Harry Chao-hung Fang, neurologist, teacher, family storyteller extraordinaire, and great friend. He entered neurology at a time when it was a new field, having trained under Ray Adams (Principles of Neurology, later chairman at Massachusetts General Hospital) when Adams was serving as missionary doctor in China. Dad left China with only "a violin, the Bible, and a copy of Longfellow's poems", intending just to pursue his clinical training in the US, but that move became lifelong when the Communists took power. He was fortunate to train under some of the giants and founding fathers of neurology - Ray Adams, Derek Denny-Brown, and C Miller Fisher.

There so many memories I have of my dad - he definitely inspired me to become a neurologist. I brought a plastic model of the brain to show-and-tell in kindergarten and remember practicing how to say "medulla oblongata", but I loved being able to follow him around on rounds in the hospital, to see how kind he was with patients, how he took time to listen, and solved patient cases like putting together pieces of a complex puzzle.

So a special salute today to the fathers out there who share so much of who they are to help their children become who they are meant to be. One of my favorite quotes about a dad is from Ansel Adams:

"I trace who I am and the direction of my development to those years of growing up in our house by the dunes, propelled especially by an internal spark tenderly kept alive and glowing by my father."

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