You never know how many tomorrows you’re going to get.

I have a post about my littlest cat all written and ready to go, but something happened this weekend that has taken precendence. A shining light in the veterinary community has gone out.

Dr. Roberto Poma has died, suddenly and unexpectedly.

Dr. Poma was one of my teachers throughout vet school. He was a great lecturer, a patient teacher, and definitely one of the reasons I made it through vet school alive. He was funny, and he made neurology make sense. After every lecture, lab or rounds discussion with him I felt like I really, really understood something about neurology. . . it didn’t always stick, but in those moments I had clarity!

The highlight of my experiences with Dr. Poma would be our neurology exam in Clinical Medicine II. . . a multiple choice exam with maybe 6 questions, I scored a fantabulous ZERO. Dr. Poma had me come to his office and chat about the test, and basically talked me into a passing grade. He went through every question, discussed why I chose the answer I chose and why another choice would be more correct, until he was convinced I really did understand and I was convinced I was not actually an idiot. I was going through a lot that year, and it affected my school work a great deal, and it was a handful of teachers like Dr. Poma that got me through it.

Times like these I feel so far away from my family, and the friends I left behind when I ran away to Newfoundland. Dr. Poma has a wonderful, young family who have been left behind. It really makes you think about how fragile and fleeting life can be. Everything can change in the space of a moment. I’ve made an effort to visit my family over the holidays, and I am now properly appreciating how important that is.

I can’t wrap my head around an OVC without Dr. Poma, but I know the community there is banding together and supporting each other in this time of loss.


About dottiemaggie

A veterinarian living and working in St John's, Newfoundland. I love my job, and I love my home. Professionally I am passionate about critical care and client education. Away from work I am passionate about enjoying life, spending time with friends, enjoying hobbies of all sorts, and exploring this wonderful province I call home.
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10 Responses to You never know how many tomorrows you’re going to get.

  1. linlah says:

    I’m glad you had the opportunity to have such a wonderful teacher and that you really appreciate your family, some people never figure that stuff out, or just take it for granted.

    • dottiemaggie says:

      it’s funny sometimes how life works – shortly after Dr Poma’s death, I actually also got some bad news about a family member. I would do anything for my family, and in light of the way Dr Poma’s death really highlighted how short life can be I didn’t hesitate in offering to help out however I can. I’m sure I would have offered regardless, but it seemed interesting to have the question come up just when the importance of family was on my mind. . .

  2. omawarisan says:

    People like Dr. Poma who recognize and nurture the talent in compassionate people like you are sorely lacking in our world. Kudos to you for recognizing his gift and accepting it, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  3. Susan says:

    The way we keep people alive is by being like them.

  4. Kate says:

    Great teachers make all the difference. When the teacher that most affected me passed from cancer I knew there was a hole in the world.

    • dottiemaggie says:

      One of my greatest teachers from high school passed from cancer a few years ago, and “hole in the world” was definitely a good description of that feeling.
      It’s hard to imagine students going through the program without those mentors that shaped us the most. . .

  5. frigginloon says:

    Really sad to hear a young life cut short.

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