the story of the man who beat himself twice

He discovered his love for medicine “being on the other side of the counter”, being patient. He was about to turn 5 when he was diagnosed with acute leukemia. From there nothing was the same.
He spent his childhood, and much of his adolescence, walking the corridors of different hospitals and by the time he recovered, he finished high school, there was not much to decide when choosing a career: “Medicine is my life, my vocation. . I grew up with this, ”says doctor Pablo Nakaschian.
But healing others is not an easy task. Stress and bad news are common. And to de-stress he found a very particular way: to fly.
This is the story of a doctor who wears white during the week and puts on a pilot’s suit on weekends to relieve tension.

His childhood, and part of his adolescence, were spent in hospitals, clinics and surrounded by doctors. Nothing common were his first years of life. “I grew up between blood transfusions, chemotherapies, vomiting associated with chemotherapy, because at that time there was no medication that we currently indicate to patients so that they do not suffer these symptoms. So after each chemotherapy induction I ended up at home for 48 hours, lying down, vomiting in a bucket with my mother. That it was the one who was close, the one who was in charge. And that’s how all those years passed, “he said.

He confesses that the disease, without a doubt, was the kick to study medicine. And remember that his own hematologist, Alfredo Guzmán Verón, who diagnosed him, years later was to become his mentor and second father.
In ’88 – at the age of 11 – he was discharged, but nothing was going to be easy. “The resocialization took me a long time. I had not had a normal childhood, I had not had a normal adolescence and finishing high school cost me a lot, “said the doctor. He was fortunate that the Faculty of Medicine of the National University of the Northeast was two blocks from his native house in Corrientes. There he studied. “I studied in one of the oldest medical schools in the country. With a lot of medical tradition. It is said that in Corrientes you lift a tile and a doctor comes out, “he said with a laugh.

He made his residency at Fundaleu, in Buenos Aires, and when he had to look for work, fate brought him to Alto Valle. “They were looking for hematologists in Cipolletti. It was through the website of the Argentine Society of Hematology that I found out and that’s how I got to the area ”, he recalled.
In Neuquén he settled in February 2008, a few months before he had done so in Cipolletti. He worked at the Castro Rendón hospital and also in different clinics. He earned the respect of his colleagues and patients for his unwavering character: “He is a lion defending his patients,” the nurses rumored, between the corridors of a well-known clinic in the Neuquén center. His job is 24/7. Few days off. So when he has a moment to relax, he chooses the heights as his destination.

Bye stress!

The passion for flying came when he was already a doctor and after having overcome a plane crash that miraculously did not cost him his life. He remembers that he was returning from Buenos Aires to Corrientes after having had one of the chemotherapy sessions. His father accompanied him. The first image that comes to mind is the storm.

“The plane left Aeroparque in a storm and, at that time, 30 years ago, the planes did not have meteorological radars as they do now. So it ended up getting into the middle of a “cumulus nimbus”, in the middle of a storm, which caused it to plummet, we fell about 10,000 feet in altitude (3,400 meters), it depressurized, the masks fell, the rear internal door of the plane caught fire, ”recalled the hematologist, who at that time was just a boy, 8 years old, seeking to heal his illness.

The scene looks like something out of a movie, but it was real. “I remember that the same commander of the plane was the one who left the cabin with the fire extinguisher in hand when the plane had already leveled off and put out the fire,” he said.
It was a 45 minute flight that ended up being two and a half hours. Ambulances and firefighters came to the rescue of all the passengers when they landed at the Cambá Punta airport in Corrientes. All safe and sound. But she was going to leave footprints on him. For years he could not fly. “I was very scared,” he said.
By the time he received his medical education, everything changed. “I had to start flying to go to congresses and move to other cities. And when I did, I discovered that I was no longer afraid of flying and that I liked it, ”he said.

All his experience and curiosity led him one morning in 2013 to the Aeroclub de Gliders of Neuquén. “I did the glider pilot course and 3 years later I became a private plane pilot. It’s my ground wire. It is what allows me to remove the tensions generated by the complex pathologies that I deal with on a daily basis. That is a passion different from medicine but one that complements me because, ultimately, it helps me to be a better doctor. I release tensions, ”Nakaschian explained.
He is currently an airplane pilot, private and has already passed the commercial pilot theory course.

For him, flying in a glider is the closest thing to being a bird. “It’s just silence, there is no environmental pollution. The experience is unique and more so when you fly with a partner or a friend, circling in the air. Or go out and fly and see that a jote sticks to your wing and begins to fly with you, see how it follows you. On the other hand, motor flight is a flight with a different requirement. It is something else. The glider is almost a bird. They are completely different loves ”, he concluded.


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