Dr. Renato Guzman

Dr. Renato Guzman

On June 23, 1994, this man saved my mom’s life by performing emergency surgery. I got to meet him when my mom was in the hospital two weeks ago for a repeat of the same ailment. He was ready to save her life again, but it turned out that she didn’t need it this time. He didn’t strike me as a person who would enjoy this kind of accolade, but I feel compelled.

At the time of the surgery, I was 22 old and appropriately egocentric. I remember being scared that my mom was in the hospital, had a tube coming out of her nose, and seemed suddenly so helpless. (As far as I know, the only other time she’d been in the hospital was for my delivery.) It did not occur to me to seek out and thank Dr. Guzman. I never felt much gratitude towards him in the years since, either, possibly because of how long and arduous her recovery was.

This time around I was much more involved and met Dr. Guzman several times. This time it became very clear: This man allowed my mom to live twenty more years, and hopefully a lot more, than she otherwise would have. He allowed my mom to see my brothers grow up, meet their wives and children, meet my wife, and take part in all of our lives as fully as she has. He made it possible for my mom to do all the wonderful things she has done, with and for our family and community, for the last twenty years. I am grateful for him, his skill, and all the choices he made that brought him to be a surgeon in Joshua Tree. Thank you, Dr. Guzman!

(Read my mom’s account of her recent hospital stay here.)