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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

“Being President above All Is a Humbling Job” ....(B Obama)

For the last month, I have been exposed to an unusual measure of personal anxiety.  A routine blood test revealed the presence of a protein that is a possible indicator of bone marrow cancer.  An oncologist directed that I take a battery of test including a complete bone survey using imaging technology.  On completion of this survey, a presiding technician who had been viewing the images as the examination progressed showed so much compassion—putting on my shoes, attaching my necklace, even correctly positioning my eyeglasses—that I was certain that the x-rays must have revealed an obviously abnormal bone condition.

Last Thursday I returned to the office of Dr. Ahmad Shaker, the oncologist, to hear the results of all the tests.  As is often the case, the congenial work environment of the staff was plainly evident.  The graciousness, authenticity, helpfulness, and cheerfulness of the staff was a sure signal that their boss was not a Hitler.

Connie was with me for the appointment in case I should need the buttressing of compassionate empathy should the news be bad.  Soon we were summoned from the waiting room.  Connie was in her transport wheelchair.  I was wearing sandals.  On maneuvering through a tight area in the waiting room, my left big toenail caught on wheelchair apparatus. It hurt, but the pain was not significant.   Waiting for the doctor in the exam room, however, we looked down and a large pool of blood surrounded my sandal.  The doctor came in as I was using paper towels to wipe of the blood.  He at once said, “That’s OK I will take care of it.”
He put on gloves, and with paper towels finished wiping up the blood.  Then he asked me to raise my foot.  He carefully cleaned the injured toe and bandaged it.  He then wrapped my entire foot.  His readiness to help and his congeniality and humility greatly impressed me. As a fully accredited oncologist and hematologist, surely staff could mop up blood and bandage a toe.  While he had my foot in his hand and was carefully wrapping my toe, a strong and warm feeling of being cared for, even loved, came over me.  (When I was a kid and Daddy would buy me shoes, he would always bend down and press the tip of my shoe to make sure that my toes had room.  He would look up directly at me and ask “Is this OK?)”.  (By the way, as for the tests, no cancer was found.)

Sometimes it is necessary for a leader (for example, an American President) to lay out facts in a forceful and even somber manner.  But it is also surely the role of a leader to faithfully communicate to others the compassion and willingness to serve (the care, the love) of the those he represents.

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