Thank You, Doctor . . .


There was a time, oh, not so long ago that friends Michelle and Peter and Nick would remember that I sat in a chair in a public forum and wept because I never became a doctor.  Friends recommended nursing, but on my first day my instructor, wearing one of those origamitized hats mentioned the adjective caring in hundreds of examples.  By the end of the day I’d grown so weary of the word caring I returned my shiny new mules and knew I didn’t have the dedication to the lives of total strangers simply because your unyielding care and uncompromising affection for humanity seemed as close to grace as most of us will ever know.

I’ve been very lucky to have been able to continue my 20 year relationship with my primary care physician.  In 20 years we’ve both learned a lot about each other: he more so of course, especially with those physician distributed x-ray glasses (and we thought they were some manifestation of a cartoonist’s imagination) because how else could doctors have the degree of insight simply by engaging in an innocent conversation.

I’ve been thinking lately that all these men and women who voluntarily step up to education and raise their hands so strongly, so surely, and so hopefully that witnessing that depth and degree of service to strangers must be one of the most moving examples of humanity stepping into a life where their life is secondary.

Why they do this happily, proudly, compassionately in order to be in the presence when most of us aren’t gussied up for prom astonishes me and thanks God for loaning humanity a few hundred thousand angels to leave Heaven and come to earth (by way of unimaginable hours pouring over manual after manual after manual and I can’t even remember 3 things to buy at the grocer’s), then share their own type and degree and experience of the comfort they know to be true once we let go and become fine examples of colorful balloons rising higher and higher and out of sight but not out of mind.

To all those selfless and defenders of the weak or ill or mentally compromised or children or any other of the millions of disenfranchised a mere thank you will never repay your kindness. But maybe God’s set up a 401(k) for you in heaven.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Thank You, Doctor . . .

  1. Medicine is a calling and I suspect that you would have served beautifully in this profession. A real physician does not have a job as a doctor, he or she becomes a doctor.
    In the process of medical training, one takes on a new life… well, that’s the ideal. Much of the challenges of our healthcare quagmire result from medicine becoming instead a business.
    It’s as if church and state combined into a disaster. So it is with healthcare becoming a business. No one begrudges a well paid physician, our community supports that concept. It is instead the focus on business: the margins, marketing, middlemen, and entrepreneurs (some of whom are doctors) that has poisoned this noble profession. Those physicians that are still true to the calling are swallowed up by the toxic agendas and often not seen except floating below the surface.
    Please continue pointing to those brave souls. They need the attention and a lifeline.

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    1. Dear Dr. Culpepper, it’s nearly impossible to practice a passionate profession. Your “calling” metaphor is a perfect reason why men women pursue professions requiring their abdication of some degree of human expression. But it also provides a pathway to genuine propriety and inclusion in the most respected and recognized global profession. A profession which treats humanity not borders, not insurrections, not dictatorships. Physicians transcend the pettiness of the human condition to treat the miracle of humanity. To those who hear the calling, follow it; it will never quiet; will always empower doubt; and eventually cease calling and became an impossibly quieting roar! If it’s fear that stops you, consider the patients fear and strength they see in your eyes.

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