What a bittersweet time.
This was my last week seeing patients at the Integrations Health Center, in Tulsa, OK.
An end of an era.
I came here 7 years ago, lecturing with Eldred Taylor MD, on estrogen metabolism, to a conference of OBGYN and family practice docs. Dr. Jerome Block, an internist, was in the audience. A small but very fit bald well-dressed gentleman with huge thick black glasses. Dr. Block walked up startling close to my face and said, “You look like you belong in Hollywood but here you are talking on estrogens like a scientist well versed in the journals. Let me take you to eat.”
I was busy that night and the next morning I was leaving. So he talked me into breakfast. And then to even driving me to the airport. During which time Dr. Block explained his love of hormones and how their signaling is the foundation of heath. Well, all who know me know I have a personal love affair with the strategic use of hormones, not just for anti-aging and reproductive issues, but also for specific illnesses like endometriosis and inflammatory gut disorders.
We talked so animatedly; it was hard to leave for the plane. And there was birthed a friendship possibly destined and made in hormonal heaven.
Doc Block, as all call him, started to buzz me up. He kept cajoling, “You got to come shadow me. When are you going to come? Come on!”
Jerry called me so often I finally came back to Tulsa, OK just to shut him up. (My new drug patent was stalled for a while, my mother had died and I had spent much of the last year living with her in the lock down dementia unit to help out; so I was going through my own personal reboot)
But what I saw when I came to Block’s Integration’s Health center… was a game changer.
Block’s Integrations Health Center was a like a combo-job of cutting-edge ER and nutritional anti-aging clinics wrapped into one. Folks throwing clots on a table or in a room with an appendix or pertussis, but perhaps getting an apt with a hospital for acute care along with IV nutritional care, or figuring out the role of gluten and malabsorption in their inflammatory bowel disease, or getting their carotids ultra sounded to see if there was plaque, not just run a lipid test to guesstimate it.
A full time sonographer allowed “look-sees” into the liver, the blood flow into the kidneys, and even the vagina for some high-risk women on specific hormonal therapies. Analysis of folks’ blood work, diet, intracellular nutrient levels, digestive deficiencies, and on and on. Block was an exceptional genius at reading EKGs. I learned and learned.
On the walls and tables there are icons and sculptures of “blocks” all over the clinic. Doc block is double board certified with a PHD in nutrition. He has hosted a 20-year radio show (All Things Medical), which we often did together in person or over the phone (maybe 75 times). We did our last one on Sept 20 2105. Next week the show is ending. It was good-byes at the radio station as well as the clinic.
I started coming here to see patients 5 1/2 years ago. Some years I came one week out of every month, and other years less regularly. But I came often. There was no other place like this clinic except the first clinic I worked at in practice, The Center for Orthomolecular Medicine, in Palo Alto, CA. I worked here in the early 1980’s. It was the very first multi-disciplinary clinic in the US headed by the visionary cardiologist, Carl Ebnother MD.
We were a team of 22 practitioners. It’s the only other place that even echoes the healing empire Jerry has created. We had nutrition rooms, lecture rooms, chelation and IV rooms, Heidelberg analysis of stomach acid production, and early morning meetings of all the docs going over charts from diverse points of view. But no clinic had come close till I came to Blocks.
I love my patients in Tulsa but it’s the end of an era. This last week Doc Block came in explaining he was retiring. I shared that this was my last week, too.
Patients cried. They brought gifts. I am wearing this charming silver bracelet that Kimberly took off her wrist and pressed into my hand. We sat in prayer, and especially for Doc Block for his next steps forward whatever he may choose to do in his retirement.
Doc Block shared his healing pearls with me. We’d email journal articles back and forth and debate them for hours. He said I was one of the few folks addicted to the literature like he was. We had on-going love of connecting-the-dots of science and nutrition and hormones in newer and safer ways to get folks well at the cellular level, not just symptoms-free at a pharmaceutical one.
But Doc Block is truly integrative; using meds or nutrition or whatever the patient needed to truly be their best.
Doc Block opened his clinic to me. He shared his colleagues and friends with me. He opened his heart as a fellow life traveler with me.
I am a better, smarter and a more textured person for knowing him.
Many of my patients from elsewhere came here to get assessed, ultra sounded, nutritional IVs, or a second opinion; most of the care covered by Insurance, Medicare and even Medicaid. Dr. Block gave services like other concierge docs charge hundreds of thousands of dollars—he gave for co-pay.
But insurance companies don’t want you and me to have this.
And the regulatory arms of the medical world are a changing.
But I have been honored and fated to have such a gift. I am a zillionaire for it.
I am grateful to the Universe and to dear dear Doc Block. Thanks Jerry. Love Lindsey 2015