The Day My Doctor Died

My family has been lucky enough to have been adopted many times over our lives.

It was 1977 that I first remember hearing the name “Zane Kime.” He was a medical doctor in California who was researching the danger of refined oils.

My parents were very interested in his work. We were all Seventh-Day Adventists and fervor about a healthy vegetarian diet is a religious value in the church.

Upon moving to the Napa Valley in May 1977, my parents and I got to hang out a lot with the Kimes at their home in Penryn, California (near Sacramento). They were so good to us.

When my father was dismissed from the Seventh-Day Adventist in August 1980, he received many job offers. He decided to take up the one extended to him by our friend Zane Kime. We moved to Auburn, California, and we set up the non-denominational evangelical Christian Good News Unlimited foundation.

It was a Saturday night at the Kime’s house that I learned to kiss.

January 1, 1983. Sugar Bowl night. Penn State defeated Georgia and Herschel Walker 27-23. The Kimes hosted a party for us kids. I was in my junior year of high school. I was introduced to this freshman girl. A blonde. Great body. Acne face.

The blonde, her friend and I went up to a loft at the Kime’s. I think I was charming. I think I was a good conversationalist. And about an hour after meeting this girl, while lying around in the loft, I leaned over and kissed her.

I had only kissed one other girl at this point in my life. That was Alice, who was on my high school newspaper staff. A. had convinced me to throw away the rest of my cheese sandwich at lunch and then she leaned over and drove her tongue down my throat.

I was scared to death. I had never french-kissed before. I feared I wasn’t very good. The whole thing lasted about ten minutes and afterwards I was so traumatized that I basically didn’t talk to Alice again.

Anyway, this freshman girl was very gentle with me. And that was exactly what I needed. I wanted to learn how to kiss, I wanted to learn how to be with a girl in a gentle way. She taught me.

Every girl I’ve kissed since is in her debt.

I learned more from her that night than I did from reading the teen advice book, “How to be a Confident Kisser.”

She on this great lip smacker which made her lips shine. She smelt so good and she knew just what to do.

She was just what the doctor ordered.

She glided her lips over mine and nibbled with her tongue. I responded, a little too violently at first, but within a few minutes, I was the great kisser I am today.

The Kimes had two daughters. One was my age and the other one was two years younger. The eldest, Faun Kime, went to my high school my senior year (1983-1984). She was already working as a model. It seemed like everything she did was classy. She was a good student. She was a good athlete. She was popular.

After high school, she worked full-time as a model and then went to USC, eventually receiving an MBA.

From 1985-1988, I worked in landscaping while going to Sierra Community College and reporting the news on the weekends for KAHI/KHYL radio stations (until September of 1987). I used a lot of chemicals in my construction work and didn’t think much of it.

One day in February 1988, I woke up with what seemed like the flu.

Whatever it was that hit me that month, it has never gone away.

I went to see Dr. Zane Kime and he treated me for free from 1989-1992. He had these theories about environmental medicine that seemed to fit with my experience. Unfortunately, I did not get any better. I was bedridden about 20 hours a day from 1988-1994

One day in 1992, I got the shocking news that my doctor was dead. He had fallen in a climbing accident near Yosemite.

I rarely left the house at this time, but I did go out for his funeral that following Sabbath.

It was such an extreme and shocking loss that I felt numb and didn’t know what to say to the Kime family.

The youngest Kime daughter told me that one of her first thoughts upon hearing that her dad was dead was, “Luke won’t have a doctor.”

The funeral was outdoors. It was hot. I was shaky. I didn’t say much. It was hard for me to look into the face of death. This family had given so much to my family and now Zane was no more. I felt inadequate and weak.

So, tonight, I’m leafing through my Placer High School yearbook for 1984. I look through the 300-plus photos of my senior class. I Facebook friend request half-a-dozen.

I see Faun Kime’s picture and look for her on Facebook. I can’t find her. So I Google her and find this information about a documentary she released in 2004 about her father:

The Tomato Effect begins with my personal quest to climb the mountain where my father, Zane R. Kime MD, was killed in 1992. Local authorities had ruled his death an accident, but the circumstances were mysterious. I wanted answers to many questions; beginning with how a seasoned, careful climber like my father could have fallen in the manner described by his climbing partner – a man he’d just met.

While I start by exploring the questions surrounding his death, I am soon unraveling a controversy in his life as a physician practicing environmental medicine. It seemed that the diagnosis and treatment of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), as recognized by my father and other environmental physicians, threatened several entrenched interests, including the powerful chemical industry – the largest business consortium in the country.

This is a powerful documentary and you can watch the whole thing hereI Remember Me — about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

From the product description: “Fueled by the same rage at an unresponsive system that has inspired many a great social documentary, filmmaker Kim Snyder has taken up the fight for the more than 800,000 people living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in the U.S. today. CFS has recently received much high-profile media discussion due to SEABISCUIT author Laura Hillenbrand

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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