We had the good fortune of connecting with Dave Lemonick, M.D. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dave, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
The Remains of the Day, the 1989 novel by the Nobel Prize-winning British author Kazuo Ishiguro. In it, a butler at an English estate reflects on what he’s experienced at work and in life over several decades. He has been honest, industrious, loyal, discreet, and self-disciplined. His work and his reputation are exemplary. Yet, he has had to make several significant sacrifices along the way in order to achieve his acclaim and his sense of a job well done. Toward the end of the novel, he sits on a bench by the sea next to a stranger his age, where they watch the setting sun together. The butler shares with the stranger his joys, his memories, his life outlook, and his regrets and disappointments. And the stranger suggests that the butler not look back, but to look forward to what remains, “the remains of the day.” The impact upon me that this novel had, is the reminder to look forward, not to look back, As Wayne Dyer says, “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way!” We need to learn not to ruminate on things, but to look forward. Otherwise the inevitable setbacks and disappointments of our lives will distract you from what remains. Hope and gratitude.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Since I was a child, I have sketched and illustrated and cartooned. Many times I made pictures instead of doing my schoolwork, chores, and responsibilities. I was able, through my art, to daydream and fantasize. In college and medical school I loved to illustrate my writing and research. I was able to do amateur medical illustration that was published in peer-reviewed journals, and I was appreciated by the staffs of medical records department in my hospitals, for my illustrated medical records. And I’ve drawn hundreds of greeting cards and pet portraits, cartoons, and house renderings for friends, family, and charities. Through this all, I am colorblind. My pallet is mostly pen and ink, and pencil. But with a, “little help from my friends,” I have much work that is in color. Drawing has evolved into other media, like Matisse and Eric Carle-style colored paper cutouts. Art has sustained me and is my longest companion.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would show my best friend kayaking on the rivers and canals, bike-riding along the ocean, swimming in our pool and in the ocean which is a couple blocks from our apartment. We have a wonderful range of vegan food here, including excellent Thai, Israeli, Chinese, Italian, and Greek cuisine. We would visit the Everglades to take an airboat ride, and we’d drive down to the Keys and stay a night or two at a sweet, fun, pretty place on the beach.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate my shoutout to Linda A. Sauget. When I arrived in South Florida after a stunning and sudden divorce in Pittsburgh, PA, I was essentially catatonic. I was dazed and disoriented and grieving, and ashamed, and desperate. I prayed to God to let me die, or to send help. Within a couple of days, I was introduced to Linda. She was a recently-retired medical billing executive, and an author and lecturer on Positive Psychology. She opened my eyes and my heart to the concept of, “the remains of my days.” She fixed things that were beyond my power to fix, and she offered me hope, love, and survival. Further, my grown children and my dearest friends and extended family, were steadfast in their patience, their wisdom, their loyalty, and their love, during the darkest days of my ordeal. Finally, I am grateful to my Uncle Seymour, who urged me not to leave Pittsburgh without my artists supplies; they sustained the life force within me until my wounds began to heal.