A Tribute

9:20 AM Edit This 13 Comments »
The snow is coming! Which means I'm most likely staying put for the weekend. That further means I can sleep in tomorrow, go to the gym, experiment in the kitchen, cuddle with my cats, and READ! On a snow day! I think that's a fantastic plan, don't you? What should I cook, internet? Something interesting. Something I've never tried before... There will be some googling today.
 
I want to tell you a story about The Good Doctor. He hates being on call. Mostly because plastic surgery emergencies are not really emergencies and do not require middle of the night calls from the ER docs, but he gets them anyway. For instance, if you get in a fight and someone shatters your eyesocket? You can't have surgery right away because the swelling has to go down. Basically, we see them in the office the next day and then send them home to ice it for a day or two before we schedule the surgery. But orbital fractures are pretty serious. You can lose your vision if it's not fixed. And I imagine bone fragments making their way into your brain and stabbing some vital portion of your functioning, but The Good Doctor just rolls his eyes at me and draws me pictures to explain why that can't happen.
 
I digress.
 
One morning, he calls me to tell me we're seeing a patient from the ER. They must have called him the night before. And his answer is always, "Tell them to come in at 10 a.m." And this man walks in right at 10 a.m. He's very polite. Scared and with an obvious facial fracture of some sort. I pull up his CT scans for the doctor and only because he's taught me how to read them, I can tell this is a pretty dang serious fracture - his eye socket is in pieces and shoved under one another and his cheek bone is shattered. "That must have been one heck of a fight" I say. He says, "I didn't see it coming. It was dark and I was trying to go to sleep." It's obvious that this man is homeless. He doesn't smell clean, he is bundled in all kinds of shredded clothes, and his shoes leave a lot to be desired for the snow. And in walks the doctor. He sits right next to him in the waiting room and starts talking to him - where are you from? Why are you homeless? How did this happen? Basically getting his whole life story. Because that's who he is. And because I know the doctor, I know that he will tell the man that he will not charge him for the surgery and not to worry about the hospital bill - that he will take care of that. And also because I know the doctor and that he can't do his surgery right away, I'm on the phone while this whole exchange is taking place, trying to find him a bed at one of the homeless shelters in town. So when the doctor asks me to find him a place to stay while the swelling goes down, I tell him I've got a bed for him. Because I do. The only caveat is that he has to stay sober. I ask him if that's possible. He tells me he's unsure, but he will give it a try. Off he goes. Two days later, he has his surgery, the doctor asks him if he's willing to work because if he is, he'll talk to "some people" about getting him a job at the hospital. Turns out the man was from Minneapolis and wanted to go home, but still.
 
That's the kind of doctor I work for. A person in need is the best kind of person in his book. And he will do anything for them. He will sit right next to them and make them feel like the human being that they are, giving them respect and dignity and gentle care. And that is why I love The Good Doctor so very much. He has taught me many, many things over the years. And I will miss him dearly when I go.
 
I've been told "not to cut the umbilical cord" and to "Come back. Often." Because, "I need psychotherapy." Which is what he calls our discussions about life and meaning and what it means to be a human being in this world. And I hope this relationship lasts for a lifetime.

13 comments:

Helen said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Doctor and what an awesome blessing to have someone like that in your life! You have much to be thankful for indeed.

Enjoy your snow day, it sounds divine!

melissalion said...

Lovely. I like the good doctor and I'm going to miss him too.

CatKrny said...

I am making a squash/potato/cauliflower casserole. I made pumpkin faux-sotto on Sunday. Yummy winter vegetables!

clearness said...

This particular snowfall makes me unbelievably sad. I wanted dry ground for Christmas Eve. I need to go see my parents. I need my mommy! They live too far away for us to take the risk and travel in the snow. I'm praying it misses us...somehow, someway.

Sparkling Red said...

I am in awe of the Good Doctor. He is saintly! I work with doctors, more than a dozen of them, and while some are very sweet, none would go to those lengths that you described. Some are obviously only in it for the money, and that is saddening. I'm glad to hear that such a man exists. Thinking of him has made me happier today.

Malaise Inc said...

A nice story to share before Christmas. Thank you.

The Good Cook said...

Kate,
I think you just gave The Good Doctor a wonderful Christmas gift. What a lovely tribute and how blessed are you to have worked for this man?

Please print this out and leave it for him before you move on to your new job. Put it in a card. He'll find it and he will remember your words for the rest of his life.

Linda

carrster said...

Sounds like a wonderful man. Thanks for sharing. :) Sorta restores one's faith in humanity.

Merry Christmas!

MsDarkstar said...

K8,

You cannot fathom how much I needed to read this particular story today.

Thank you and big love to The Good Doctor.

Shelley said...

Very sweet tribute - good to know there are doctors like him out there.

Have a wonderful snow day!

Ink Spiller said...

The Good Doctor is rare but then Kate so are you and I suspect that he would have something like that to say about you too.

mel said...

I love this story. It reminds me of what makes life worthwhile. Thank you for writing it...

Jen said...

Now that's a really GOOD Doctor! I wish we had more of those.