HEARTS AND HANDS THAT HEAL
When my firstborn was perhaps five or six years old, he asked me the inevitable question: “Mom, how did I get in your stomach?”
Not wanting to tell the whole truth just yet, but not wanting to lie to him either, I took the easy—but true—way out: I responded: “God put you there.”
Without hesitation, he responded emphatically, “No she didn’t!”
Initially, I was confused at his response. With a little probing, it became apparent that he was confusing our female family doctor—the one who delivered him as well—with God. If she took care of me while he was in my stomach, delivered him, and then took care of both of us after that, then surely she must be the God I was speaking of.
In a way, she was. And, even though she is no longer our doctor—she moved away several years ago–she still is a god(dess). Like the doctor I now have, both women are goddesses on this earth—now, more than ever before.
Tomorrow, March 30th, is National Doctor’s Day. It is a day designated to celebrate the contributions physicians make to our society, and their dedication to our personal and community well-being. It is a day we should all have heightened awareness of how fortunate we are to have these earthly gods and goddesses among us.
The first Doctor’s Day was celebrated on March 30th, 1933. Eudora Brown Almond, the wife of a physician in Georgia, wanted to honor her husband and all other doctors, so she began the tradition. She urged people to send thank-you cards to their doctors, and to place flowers on the graves of deceased doctors.
On February 21st, 1991 (Gail’s 31st birthday, by the way), President George H.W. Bush proclaimed National Doctor’s Day to honor the nation’s physicians for their dedication and leadership.
Now, 29 years later in 2020, this annual observation couldn’t be more important.
I don’t have to expand on the important role doctors—and nurses—are currently playing in our country, and across the globe. You already know all this. They are the heroes and heroines of this seemingly unreal saga that continues to intensify as it plays out more intensely every hour of every day.
We all know what to do in order to stay healthy, and to keep everyone around us healthy. I don’t need to repeat any of that.
I do, however, want to use this platform to encourage you to celebrate Doctor’s Day tomorrow. If you already have sent a card to your doctor, or any doctor you know, kudos to you. Aside from saying thank you, I don’t know of anything more the general public should do for our doctors and nurses, besides following all the precautions, safety rules and restrictions upon us. We all must do our part to keep the spread of the virus as minimal as possible.
On September 11th, 2001, we watched in horror—on television, safe in our homes–as the terrorist attack victims ran out of, and away from the sites of the devastation. We also watched as the firemen and other first responders ran into, and toward the devastation. It was their job, and they didn’t hesitate to do it.
Soldiers run toward the battle, while we are safe at a distance.
Policemen don’t think twice before putting themselves in the line of fire in order to protect and serve all of us.
Now, in this war against COVID-19, doctors and nurses are on the front lines. They sacrifice their own safety, health and comfort to treat the sick. Many of them have tested positive for the virus; some have died. It is likely that many more will become sick, and more will likely die.
Doctors and nurses know they are placing themselves at potential risk when they first sign up for the job. I doubt many of them envisioned the kind of risk they are facing today; none of us expected a pandemic like this one. Yet, they don’t hesitate to rush toward the devastation, run toward the battle, and put themselves in the line of fire. They are the front-line soldiers in this war; they are in the trenches of the battle.
And yet, they don’t hesitate to go to war. It is their job; their calling. And they do it not for themselves, but for you. For me. For all of us.
The least we can do is to say thank you.
My small city has yet to identify a case among its residents, but it will likely be a short matter of time. I live in a rural area in the neighboring county, and there has been one resident identified. The numbers will inevitably grow. My family and I are staying home, getting out for essential matters only. My husband and I have jobs that are considered essential, and we are still working, but the decline in business for both of us has already begun. We will continue to respond accordingly. We are thankful for our health.
I rarely have dreams about my parents. After they first died, I longed to dream about them because, even though I knew it wasn’t real, it made me feel they were still with us. In these rare dreams, it is as if they never died, and it is not out of the ordinary that they are here when I dream about them.
I dreamed about Dad last night. It was in the midst of a series of other dreams, and he made a very brief appearance, then he was gone. He simply laughed his memorable belly laugh. He looked like this in my dream:
I have been thinking about Dad a lot lately, because his birthday is tomorrow, March 30th; the same day as Doctor’s Day. He would have been 86 years old.
If you knew our dad, you know that he didn’t know a stranger. He loved to talk to people, whether he knew them or not.
If you knew our mom, you knew she was the quiet one. Dad expressed himself verbally, and while she wasn’t a writer per se, she did love to write letters and notes. She knew the power of the written word, and she left us an incredible gift in a written letter to be found after she died, and read at her funeral. While the letter itself remains a personal treasure among her seven children, I detail the message in Peace, Sister (July 16th, 2017).
Mom’s birthday would have been January 22nd. She would have been 84 years old. On that day this year, the meaning of this calendar didn’t escape me. A co-worker who displays this calendar graciously agreed to grant me this page after I told him the story about Mom’s letter. I now display it on a frame, placing it in front of me as I sit at my table to catch up on my thank-you notes.
Listen to the wisdom of our mother. If you haven’t already, send your doctor a thank-you card in honor of Doctor’s Day. It won’t matter that it may not arrive on time. Don’t underestimate its power.
Listen to our dad’s wisdom, too. Be sure to laugh like he did in the above picture, and in my dream last night. Don’t underestimate the power of laughter, especially at a time like this.
Listen to your doctor. Never underestimate their power. They should be considered gods and goddesses on earth right now. And, if you haven’t already, take the cue from Dr. Almond’s wife and send your doctor a card.
My dear friend Shari is an engineer extraordinaire at Hallmark Cards. She has informed me that they are helping to share the love of handwritten notes at this crucial time by offering three free cards to anyone who signs up online. Simply go to http://www.Hallmark.com to get your free cards, and write on!