Dear Dr. Pittman:
A little birdie told me you read these little epistles. It may surprise you to see your name at the top of this one. There's a reason –
I've been in counseling, grief counseling, with two folks who lost their spouses in the last few months. In the course of my conversations with them, I've been shocked at the utter lack of compassion on the part of some. Such as one relating her doctor told her, “You'll get over it in time.”
I just wanted to write this to let you know you're a special breed. You probably don't remember my visit for my regularly scheduled checkup a couple of months after Ms. Parson died. I'll never forget it. When I arrived at your office things went as they normally do. I sat down in the waiting room to read on my Kindle and to listen to the religious music you always have playing on the speakers. (We need to talk about that sometime.) After a short while, a very short while in doctor's office minutes, they called me back. Your nurse took my blood pressure and asked me if I was still taking the same meds. I told her I was. And she took me back to the examination room. That's when it got different.
You walked in. You sat down. And you said, “Let's talk. Some things are more important than your blood pressure or cholesterol levels.” And you talked to me. You talked to me for forty-five minutes. You invited me to tell you stories about Ms. Parson. You shared your memories. And you know what, Doctor? I left there much more whole than when I walked in.
It's been about two years to the day since that visit. Funny, the pastoral counseling with the others would bring that day to memory right now. But I just wanted to thank you for that time, that day. You know what I mean – the extra time; you never take forty-five minutes with a patient unless it's serious.
There's a difference in you and some other doctors I know. You as well as them have the initials “M.D.” behind your name. You as well as they are physicians, licensed by the state to practice medicine. The difference, Dr. Pittman, is why I drive twenty-five miles one way to see you. The difference is you are a healer.