“A picture is worth a thousand words” or so the expression goes. We recently had the opportunity to meet Bob Fleming who is a photographer, a story teller, and most recently, a patient at Providence Care Hospital.
Despite having a few questions in mind that I had intended to ask, I found myself listening, captivated as Bob recalled an extraordinary life. Bob received his first camera as a gift from his mother in 1939. In fact, he credits a photograph as having changed the course of his life. When Bob was fourteen years old he received a photograph of a young girl in war-torn Warsaw. Though it has been 78 years since that day, Bob was able to recall the events vividly, and said that he carried this photograph in his wallet for two years after receiving it.
Bob’s life and his life’s work have taken him to every corner of the globe: China, Los Angeles, Russia and even Antarctica. Two years ago, Bob began writing a book about his life. To say that I was amazed as we flipped through the pages of the book would be an understatement.
I sat in Bob’s room at Providence Care Hospital with the book open across my lap; staring up from the pages of Bob’s life were Bishops, Prime Ministers and other dignitaries. Bob, who was sitting opposite me, viewed the book upside down and from across the room, yet as I flipped from page-to-page he could recall the exact photo (many of which he had taken himself) and the story that accompanied it.
Our conversation then turned to the present, and how his life has led him here to Providence Care Hospital. Bob said that what strikes him most is “the extraordinary openness, care and concern for the patients”. Bob praised his care team and the volunteers he has met, as he proceeded to recall each by name. We were then joined by Bob’s son, who spoke of the culture at Providence Care. Bob, a man of many words and many stories to tell said, “it almost defies description”.
Bob told us that he plans to write about his time at Providence Care Hospital and hopes to release his book later this year. We are grateful and honoured to be a part of Bob’s story, one that is 92 years in the making.