“Thank You, Father”

Mrs. McCann greeted me at the door. “Thank you for coming”, she said in a hushed voice. “Gerry thinks I’m a worry-wart, but I’d feel better if you looked him over again. He sounds a little congested and I’d like you to see his wounds again.”

Gerry McCann sat in his favorite chair in the sunny living room. His wife handed me a piece of paper with his recent weights, blood sugars and blood pressure readings.

I checked his heart and lungs without finding anything unusual, and then Mrs. McCann proceeded to expertly change his dressings, so I could inspect his diabetic ulcers.

“They’re coming along great”, I said, and added, “You are doing a superb job”.

“I do my best”, she answered, beaming.

I wrote some new prescriptions and we agreed on the timing of my next house call. She followed me to the door.

“Thank you, Father”, she said, and then quickly corrected herself.

“I mean, thank you, Doctor. Father Harris was here yesterday to see him.”

It struck me that Father Harris and I had come on similar errands, giving our blessing to the care and commitment we see in that house, neither one of us delivering much more than reassurance that the McCanns are doing their part and whatever happens next is in God’s hands.

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Osler said “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis”. Duvefelt says “Listen to your patient, he is telling you what kind of doctor he needs you to be”.



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