I’ve decided over the last several years that there is a wealth of wisdom in my patients. They each have a story that is sometimes and example of how not to live. More often, however, it is one packed with examples of how to live well and live productively, even without much in the way of resources. How to live a life of value in this community while the odds are stacked against them.
Most of their stories are not of actions in the “cure for cancer” category, but of lives of principle lived quietly, which may have positively affected just a few – or even a single individual. If I didn’t take the time occasionally to stop and get to personally know patients, (despite the ever increasing medical documentation requirements placed on doctors), I would have missed a great deal of wisdom and inspiration. In fact, I sort of regret not starting sooner.
Many of these stories involve long term difficulties or illness. An almost excessively cheerful patient I saw a few years ago was a survivor of the Holocaust as a 6 year old. Her stories were horrifying, so it was hard for me to reconcile her joy with her past. She told me our attitudes are choices, while our circumstances may not be. She chose not to let her past define how she lived her life each day, other than to use the lessons learned effectively. One of my favorite preachers has said that most of us spend too much time listening to ourselves and not enough time talking to ourselves.
I asked her to come in at lunch to speak to our staff, to which she graciously agreed. I think that all of us benefited immensely. She gave us some history, some philosophy, some encouragement, and some advice. What I left with was that one of the most engaging people I’ve ever met came with a story that could have made her bitter, angry, and negative. She’s gone now, but I’m better for having known her.
Dr. Hatcher is one of the podiatrists at Raleigh Foot & Ankle Center. The podiatrists at Raleigh Foot & Ankle Center are able to help you with all of your foot and ankle problems and needs. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hatcher or one of the other doctors in our office, call our office at (919) 850-9111 or request an appointment on our website.