I am usually overwhelmed by all the news we are bombarded with day in and
day out. So, I am always glad to find some reading which inspires and uplifts.
I found this article in the January '09 Catholic Digest "How to get
everything you want!" by William J. Bausch. It is a story about how two
doctors changed the world for two of their patients.
He starts with a story of a particularly sensitive and caring eye surgeon. Six
year-old Tony was referred to him with the hope that the new surgery which
had been developed at Massachusetts General might help to correct the eye
problems he had since birth which made him almost totally blind.
The tot had a favorite teddy bear which was always with him. Linus had his
blanket and Tony had his bear. By now the bear was way past his prime- missing and eye and one ear had been chewed off. Several holes revealed the stuffing was slowly but surely trying to ooze out.
His father -thinking it was time to replace the bear with a new one was told by Tony in no uncertain terms - this was the bear he loved and wanted to have with him for his operation in Boston. So this pathetic little teddy bear was with Tony through all the X-Rays, tests, and consultations. Only when the anesthesia put him under was the little bear released from his grasp.
After surgery -what wonderful news for Tony, his parents, and his teddy bear.
Tony could now see. When it came time to be discharged- the surgeon "friend" said he expected to hear from Tony because he now owned stock in him. I doubt Tony understood what he meant, but the one thing he did understand was gratitude. Because of this kind and gentle surgeon, Tony could now see the
world around him -including his parents and his precious bear. He looked at the surgeon and then handed him his most prized possession- his beloved teddy bear and just simply said to him - "I want you to have this."
The surgeon's first impulse was to refuse this gift which he knew meant so
much to his small charge, but intuitively decided that he would instead accept
this heartfelt gift with a hug and a thank you. He also promised to take mighty good care of his friend.
If you are ever in Boston and happen to visit Massachusetts General Hospital,
you will find this teddy bear on the 10th floor in a glass display case. Among the various plaques and artifacts on display you will find Tony's Teddy Bear. In front of it is the surgeon's card and beneath his name he wrote this caption: "This is the highest fee I have ever received for profssional services rendered."
The second doctor is one I am sure we all have heard of before and he is a favoriteof mine. Marion Hill was his contemporary and she seemed as different from him as any two people could be.
Born into wealth and privilege - having beauty, wit and charm- she became
known as an international hostess. Sadly, too much too soon and too much to to handle, everything came apart as she turned to alcohol, drugs, and sexual exploits. After a divorce, she tried suicide three times. Where Tony had been physically blind, Marion was spiritually blind. But she too would have her "vision" restored by another great and compassionate doctor.
The doctor she turned to for counseling was not just any doctor. He was Dr.
Albert Schweitzer, and he made such an impression on her that when he went
to Africa to serve the poorest of the poor, she went with him. This woman of
wealth and prestige had forsaken everything to spend the rest of her life as a
She later wrote a book called "All I want Is Everything." The title was inspired
by Dr. Schweitzer who had told her on one occasion "There are two kinds of people. There are the helpers and the non-helpers." And one day Marion could happily say: "I thank God that God has allowed me to become a helper, and in helping, I found everything."
How lucky Tony was to have gotten his sight back by the healing powers of
a sensitive, kind surgeon. Marion Hill was just as lucky. Blinded by wealth and
fleeting pleasures, her sight was restored by the great, gentle, and sensitive
Dr. Albert Schweitzer.