I found out yesterday that the pediatrician of my childhood, Dr. Byron Kocen, passed away this past Saturday as a result of open heart surgery. He was 75.
A lot of people don't look back at doctor's visits as enjoyable memories, especially when they are full of shots and other unpleasant things, but visits to Dr. Kocen were always fun. He loved tropical fish and had many tanks filled with fish of all colors and sizes in his office. We loved to stare at the fish as we waited for our appointments. He'd check our ears for billygoats, ask us all sorts of questions, tell us jokes, and sometimes perform magic tricks. He was a jolly man who had a love for children and related easily to them. Most kids don't continue to see their pediatrician until they're 15 or so, but he was an extraordinary doctor who really knew how to make a kid feel better and was the kind of doctor I hoped my own children could see someday.
Through his personal experience and work with ADD, Dr. Kocen was instrumental in helping my family understand not only what ADD is, but to also see the gifts hidden within it. The way he described ADD as "Attention Creative Difference" was just yet another example of how this incredible man viewed life and a disorder that many people think poorly of. His compassion for all people and the drive to make the world a better place are indicative of the quality of his character. Another blog writer felt that the world is a little bit darker, colder, and lonelier now that he's gone, but I beg to differ. The world is a much better place from his time here and while he will be sorely missed, his influence will continue to grow and inspire more people to follow in his footsteps.
Until we meet again old friend,
K & Co.