Saturday, November 5, 2016

a needy character

I've been off the grid for a couple of weeks because I've been downsizing and moving. This process taught me a couple of things I'd like to share with you.

I learned to ask for help…putting furniture together, setting up a new internet server, installing electrical fixtures, lifting and carrying…the list goes on.

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But, asking for help isn’t easy for me. I don’t like to inconvenience people or burden them when they already have more to do than they can handle. I feel better about myself when I know I can manage on my own. And, I’m never sure who to call. Who’s reliable? Honest? Thorough? Nevertheless, because I’m pretty helpless when it comes to hi-tech changes and to mechanical and electrical upgrades, I had to ask for help.

Then it struck me.
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For over thirty years, I met day after day with people who had turned to me for help. I was a healer, a pillar of hope for them.

If you’re a health care provider, you know what I’m talking about. Our patients’ health and well-being are at stake. Sometimes their survival is in our hands. They come to us with heart disease, cancer, broken bones, depression…unable to care for themselves. They need the help of an expert, someone who is careful, compassionate and wise, but they don’t always know who to turn to. Imagine what it must be like for the woman who discovers a lump in her breast. For the parent whose child can’t breathe. For the trucker having dizzy spells. Imagine not knowing what to do or who to call. Who you can trust. Who you can depend upon.

When I moved I was anxious about calling for help just to install a kitchen fixture, assemble a desk and repair an appliance, trivial matters compared to one’s health. Nevertheless, it was a huge relief when family members, friends, and friends of friends responded promptly. Every single one of them was happy to lend a hand. Total strangers treated me with respect and kindness.

I would consider myself a success as a physician if I could be as cheerful, as skilled, as attentive and as considerate as the people who helped me when I needed them this week—the plumber, the electrician, my new neighbors. My friends. My family. All of them ordinary people acting with extraordinary character.  

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