Dr. C has the sort of bedside manner that helps to put you at ease.
Despite the high volume of folks that come from far and wide to see Dr. C, the consultations are never rushed or hurried. One feels in the presence of a good friend. There’s an equality and capaciousness in Dr. C’s style of care: there’s space to speak, to be heard, space for different approaches and alternatives to be weighed.
Dr. C is often found at the clinic after hours, long past closing time, in order to make sure each person is attended to. Dr. C comes out of the office to greet people individually by name in the waiting room. Dr. C will offer a warm hello or an apology for the wait.
When the weather is perilous, or a patient is too ill to come in, it is not unknown for Dr. C to drive cross-city to make house-calls – a practice known in the heyday of doctoring, but uncommon these days in the places I’ve lived (even more so considering that the house-visits might be made off-hours, at the end of Dr. C’s already full workday).
Where other doctors maybe can’t help but treat patients, symptoms, and illnesses, Dr. C is conscious about treating people. Simply put, Care is Dr. C’s career and calling.
I made Dr. C a hat as a way to say thank you for the many hours of mindful care. This knit is a 2nd go at Melissa LaBarre’s Icehouse hat. Knitting it for the second time, it was easier to anticipate and get around the crown decreases (my new strategy was to position the markers, where the decreases occur, roughly in the center of each DPN rather than at the edges as I’d done before).
During one consultation, Dr. C shared 2 things:
First, he imparted a few proverbs from Buddhist/Chinese philosophy. At first, I found this sudden and unsolicited turn to ethics a bit odd. He wrote these principles down in Chinese, translated each one, then handed me the paper – a kind of prescription for the soul. I think the principles are at the heart of Dr. C’s own medical and ethical practice, and bear repeating.
Second, Dr. C. reminded me of a Chinese poem that I hadn’t heard since I was a child: “Quiet Night Thoughts” by Tang Dynasty poet, Li Bai. Taught to school children in China, and widely recited, the poem expresses the homesickness of a scholar who has to leave his hometown (back in Chicago, I suppose I relate). 🙂
Both “Quiet Night Thoughts” and Dr. C’s prescription are below.
To your health.
Quiet Night Thoughts, Li Bai
Before my bed
There is bright-lit moonlight
So that it seems
Like frost on the ground:
Lifting my head
I watch the bright moon
Lowering my head
I dream that I’m home.
(translation by Arthur Cooper. 1973. Li Po and Tu Fu: Poems Selected and Translated. London: Penguin Books).
Dr. C’s Prescription
To understand and to forgive is great wisdom.
To accommodate others is great wisdom. (in the doctor’s explanation: to approach differences not with the will to quarrel, but to pave the way for understanding. One accommodates not to submit, but “to be able to educate”)
The greatest value is to remember those who have helped you.
Contentment is the greatest wealth. (“This one’s the most important,” Dr. C explained).