How many times, as a young woman, I was told to go to a certain doctor because the clinic or hospital with which the doctor was affiliated are conveniently located? How many times was I told to see a doctor because he or she was a friend’s friend, or had a short wait list, or no wait list at all?
The concept that a doctor is a doctor, is a doctor, could be compared to the idea that I could paint as well as Salvador Dali, or sing like Adele or act like Sally Field, and the list goes on and on…The truth is, I cannot! I wish!
After the publication of my Memoir, ‘The Gypsy Saw Two Lives,’ a High School friend from Romania, asked me: “Where did you learn how to write in English?”
He truly didn’t understand why having had the same teachers of English, I ‘learned,’ but he didn’t! He, on the other hand, was an architect. Geometry and drawing and the gift of design came easy to him.
How could I explain to my friend that each person enters the journey of LIFE with a gift. We all do, but many have difficulties finding ours. It does not mean we don’t have a gift, it only means it is hard to detect it, or we don’t try enough, or many times those responsible for our development and choices of careers direct us forcefully in the direction they wish. Many times, a parent couldn’t follow his or her dream and forces the child to fulfill the dream of the parent. This could result in confused or even worse, unhappy lives. Many times, at the end of the journey, a person looks back and has to admit in horror that nothing was accomplished of what they would have liked! Their dream turned to dust!
Such sad endings don’t mean the person wasn’t born with a gift. It only means the dream was lost somewhere on the way. The possibilities of lost dreams are many. There are cross roads and dead ends, and clearings with lakes or running rivers, or oceans and seas …
A brief description would be: TEMPTING!!! to get lost, easier to take a short-cut.
Yes, it is tempting to take an easy way, or to avoid taking the responsibility of a path. When one makes a choice, there is the possibility to win, to be happy, successful, but there is another possibility we all fear: to fail, to be sad, unhappy, to feel one failed!
Who would wish such an ending: to have lived and to reach the end and look back to see nothing… or even worse, to only see scenes one dislikes, or hates or worse… feels ashamed of!
How do I know so much about the winding path of life, one might ask?
The answer is simple:
I was one of the manipulated, I was pushed ( read forced) to wonder on various paths which weren’t mine. They were my mother’s. Today, as I approach the stage of life when soon I will have to look back and draw a line and the sign = ??? I see my mother who was a doctor, a good but unfulfilled doctor, simply because to be a doctor was not her dream! Her dream was to be an Architect and she projected her dream on me!
Today, I’d call what she did, “manipulation.” At the time when it happened, I called it motherly love. It was such a warm, comfortable feeling to feel loved by my mother. However, the price for that feeling was a confused youth. Changing careers so many times, I lost count…
Ultimately, after my mother died with her dream of me being an architect unfulfilled, I re-positioned myself, took off the blindfold and started to try various paths which were hidden from me. Soon I discovered my love of writing. It is true, one could ‘learn’ how to write business letters, essays for school tests. This was not the type of writing my architect friend was asking me about. He wanted to know how and where I learned how to write so that many others don’t get bored and throw my writing away after reading the first two lines. That answer was simple: A gift from God and work!
Late in life, I also discovered that my dream, not my mother’s was to be in the helping profession. This was how after I finished my B.A. in English and Romanian, I went to graduate school, and earned my Master of Science in Counseling and Clinical Psychology.
I am sure, by now, the readers of this article might ask themselves, Why is she telling us all of this and how does it connect to being a good doctor?
If you made it so far into this post, please bear with me a little more…
It is only human, by my standards, to look back and contemplate my life and accomplishments before I have surgery, especially when it requires general anesthesia. This was what I experienced yesterday, a fairly difficult surgery which triggered the thoughts I share with you now.
My kind neighbor dropped me off and picked me up from the hospital. I entered the hospital alone. I walked the long corridors alone. I pressed the button in elevator D, alone. I was in the waiting room alone. I made the mistake to check around me and I was the only person unaccompanied by a family member. When I realized that, I felt not only alone, but LONELY and SAD!!! I promised my readers to always tell the truth: My heart was broken, what was left of it.
The staff at Pinnacle Hospital made up for my lack of family. I cannot speak any higher of their kindness. Perhaps they felt sorry for me, but the well of tears had dried already.
After having been asked a few times, my age, why was I there, and the question I like the most, on what side will I have surgery, I was wheeled in the operating room.
My surgeon, Angela, Soto Hamlin, M.D. came close to me, as the intravenous, general anesthesia medication started to flow towards my fearful body. Then the miracle happened. Dr. Hamlin reached out and held my hand! In a fraction of a second, my sadness, fear, but especially loneliness disappeared! Her hand expressed a million feelings and one more, but in one sentence, I would describe how I felt as a GIFT FROM GOD!
The last thing I recall before I fell asleep, was her touch which spoke to me: Don’t worry, I am here, I am with you and everything will be fine. You are not alone or lonely.
When I woke up, two hours later, I could still feel my surgeon’s wonderful touch on my hand.
I could still feel it NOW, because her touch will be in my heart forever, a gift from God, when I needed His reassurance the most.
Is Dr. Hamlin a good surgeon? She is an exceptional surgeon, but what would make me follow her no matter where she’d work is her sensitivity as a human being. Her Godly touches from all points of view, when I needed them most.
P.S. Late at night, after reading tens of reassuring messages via Facebook and texts, my friend, whose love and purity of feelings have supported me all my life, wrote after she called first, to tell me, my daughter, a M.D. and OBGYN, sent my friend a brief email upon learning about my surgery:
“I will pray for her.”
I felt so lucky, with her busy schedule, my daughter had found the time to write the email and pray for me, her Mom. What I truly hoped was that she would hold a stranger’s hand, just like Dr. Hamlin held mine. I hoped that stranger, because of my daughter’s reassuring and honest touch would feel less lonely.
There is a price we pay for everything in life…
Is that good or bad? It depends on our deeds.
Thank God for Dr. Hamlin’s Heavenly touch and her heart of gold!
Love, as deep as the Ocean,
The bottom of which no one sees.
Yet I trust
I close my eyes,
Breathe in slowly
And question my feelings:
Is there an end to Motherly love?
Layer upon layer are being peeled,
To reveal the Infinite.
“You MUST HIT ROCK BOTTOM
Of all Motherly Loves,”
The Wise One says,
“Then, you will understand!”
Words are being thrown
Into the Mother’s heart!
They disappear slowly and
Leave no trace!
The knives are swallowed,
The heart closes.
Millions of knives are being felt,
Locked in the darkness
Of a confused, devastated,
“LOOK!!!” says the Wise one,
While the shinny coins overflow her pockets,
“Look, we could see NOTHING!!!”
Therefore nothing exists…
Aim knives at your Mother’s heart…
The one who birthed you,
And nursed you days and nights on end!
If the wound is smooth and the knives no more,
The chapter ended…
A magnifying glass reveals
Invisible, who cares that
Your Mother’s heart is in
May be the coins in her pockets didn’t overflow fast enough
To show the world her value.
May be the proof of the superficial wasn’t demonstrated clear enough
To make an unquestionable, immediate difference.
Thankfully, the mission was accomplished after all:
The pockets were filled to the brim, and that was all it mattered:
For the world to admire her riches,
Her undeniable assurance of perfection,
Peace of mind, happiness, and
Ultimately, the magic of turning tarnish into spotless, and more…
As if nothing ever happened!
Is this the end of a dream…
Eyes wide open, heart racing…
Could love be bought? Whose love? Whose pockets? Somebody’s, anybody’s,
Mine, yours, ours…
Love as profound as the Ocean,
Its bottom so far down,
I can’t see it,
But I know it exists.
Faith assures me it does,
Yet I test!
Eyes wide open, holding my breath,
I question my own love…
There is a beginning to motherly love,
But is there an end?
I think I reached the bottom,
Yet, I didn’t!
More time goes by, less pain I feel.
The million knives which penetrated my heart,
Have been absorbed.
My heart closed and locked them forever
In the darkness of my confused, devastated
‘Look,’ the Adviser whisperd, while pressing down into her pockets
The shining coins, to make space for more…
‘Look, how smooth your mother’s heart looks!
It is completely healed! A perfectly smooth heart, not even a scratch!’
Later, upon the dissection of the
Perfectly smooth heart,
A million sharp knives were extracted,
Cleaned and reused on other motherly hearts!
The adviser smiled;
The satisfaction of a job well done!
After all, it’s about shinny coins, not
How one earns them!
Tomorrow is trash day,
What’s left of this Mother’s heart will disappear forever… or will it?