Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.
My 88-year-old friend was very excited.
First of all, her beloved doctor had just confirmed that she is in excellent health. The doctor had gone out of his was to reassure her that, despite her challenges, things are going very, very well.
Second, and just as importantly, she had found some real bargains while shopping. “Tell me what you found,"
I wanted to know.
She was beaming. “I just love the post-holiday sales! I found a half-off price on all of their boxed Christmas cards. Just look at these! Now I am all set for next year! Look how much I saved!”
I checked the receipt. Indeed, she had hit the jackpot.
My friend’s happiness reflected much more than the remnants of her Depression-era childhood. Her enthusiasm reminded me of a recent JAMA editorial
written by Dr. James Harris and Dr. Catherine DeAngelis.
Drs. Harris and DeAngelis remind physicians that a sincere emotional engagement between the patient and the doctor is a powerful tool for adressing fears and restoring hope. A “confiding relationship” — one that provides the patient with the support needed to deal with illness — can keep people out of the hospital and improve outcomes.
My friend’s physician had clearly provided her with a renewed vigor with just his words. He had fulfilled Drs. Harris' and DeAngelis' admonition that “… no patient should ever leave a visit with a physician without a sense of hope.”
As I congratulated my friend on the purchases, I realized that her physician had given her a remarkable gift. What reflects optimism more clearly than an 88-year-old woman who is fearlessly making plans for her holidays eleven months in advance? Despite everything she faces, thanks to the physician's simple words, she is able to approach her year with confidence and hope.
Harris J, DeAngelis, C, The Power of Hope, JAMA
2008 (Dec 24/31) ; 300:2919-2920
||The following is feedback received for this blog:|
Hi Dr Campbell -what a beautiful post. She has a terrific doctor. Sounds like a neat lady herself. :)
I was struck by her planning for next Christmas too.
I read the article too and could very much relate. I have a couple of docs that are terrific with me and they make all the difference. Particularly, my urologist..because I have been through so much over the last few years and still not sure where it is all ending up. He and his staff make it all bearable. Knowing how well he takes care of me has caused me to feel safer... even though my condition has been chronic and there are concerns.
I keep hoping for the miracle. :)
You docs are very special to us patients and I thank God for the good ones. :)
If it is alright with you ..I may do a post about this and link back here and to that article..
Thanks for sharing it.