I needed cataract surgery. I read everything I could find about it, and my heart and wallet were in bitter conflict. I followed my heart and walked into the Daytona's office of Dr. Filutowski with the wallet in tears .
Filutowski is big name here in Central Florida. Besides Daytona Beach he has offices in Lake Mary and Orlando, and I, of course, did not expect to see him personally, however, it turned out Dr. Filutowski was available earlier than any other surgeon.
At consultation with him, he "fluided" in, young at his 56, tall, in envious physical shape, charming… Asked whether I was from Poland, and when I said I was from Russia, uttered several appropriate phrases in excellent Russian with a pinch of that sweet Polish accent. Konrad Filutowski was born in Poland.
I had surgery on January 29. I prepared, I greeted him in Polish, and he smiled. The surgery was relatively quick and uneventful and I bid him Do widzenia.
I had a post surgery consultation next morning, and then they scheduled another in one week. The office called me and asked to come one day later, because Dr. Filutowski was supposed to be in his Daytona Eye Center and wanted to see me.
I was surprised as they have other doctors, optometrists, who do the post op consultations, but hey, if the boss wanted to see me himself, I was flattered.
After all the check-ups and numerous drops, I was told to wait for Dr. Filutowski. He emerged, as always: nice, quick and efficient. I greeted him in Polish again, and he switched to Polish, probably thinking that I would have easier time with Polish than English. Well, I knew the subject, and I knew a few words in Polish, gestures also helped, so for a short time I was still following him understanding, probably not more than 20% and guessing the rest, and I did quite well, but then there came a moment, when I could not follow him at that pace, and with all the awkwardness of your chin and forehead tight against the equipment, I mumbled that I did not speak Polish, and he immediately said “Глаза широко» in Russian… (eyes wide open)
My wife later said with the authority that if I did not know Polish, I shouldn’t have provoked Dr. Filutowski. Of course, she is right. She has such perfect hindsight, the best in the world, that she doesn’t even need Dr. Filutowski to do any correction to her eyes :)
But I digress… It is really not about my cataract surgery. It is about the American dream. My American dream and Dr. Filutowski’s American dream. And American dream of millions and millions of others...
His family came from Poland 42 years ago, when he was only 14. He received his undergraduate from Columbia College in New York, then his MD in Ophthalmology from the prestigious Cornell University Medical College…
“Dr. Filutowski is the Founder, Chief Surgeon and Medical Director of the Filutowski Cataract & LASIK Institute, which he founded in 1990.
He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology at the University of South Florida, College of Medicine. He teaches other doctors to perform LASIK and cataract surgery”
His first office was in Daytona (it is still here). Why Daytona? I think being a racecar enthusiast and owning sport cars has something to do with it. After all, Daytona is the birthplace of SPEED and speed is sure something that Dr. Filutowski cherishes…
He is younger than me, and he came to the country not at 40 like I did, but at 14 (a credit to his parents), and we are in different weight classes in this respect. A multimillionaire successful doctor and a modest real estate broker specializing in beachside condos, but we are very similar. We are both success stories. One bigger, one smaller...
We came from different countries, but we both made it here, millions of other immigrants made it here on their own, we got on our feet, we are Americans, proud and happy…
Dr. Filutowski, if you are reading this, thank you. If you ever need a condo or villa in Daytona area for quiet moments away from your surgery centers, let me know. And I promise, I would not tease you with my terrible Polish. Except, maybe, for “Jak się masz, doctor", when I see you again.
I took this photo with my IPhone at our initial consultation. 2 weeks later at the surgery he did not have his beard, so he looks even younger now :)
P.S. Jak się masz? means How are you? And Do widzenia means Bye-bye.
P.P.S. Now, that I could see with my both eyes, it is even more reason to call me about beachside condos. You can also visit my site www.Daytona-Condos.com. It is under construction at this moment, but in just a few days you would be able to do all type of searches from there.
Added later: He is not from my home country. I am from the Soviet Union (Russia) and he is from Poland. And this is the beaty of America, where we all became Americans