He was asked to see the patient in his bed. To that end, he needed to go to the burn unit of a massive hospital. So he did… The scene he was looking at was quite unpleasant. The unit was literally falling into decay. Water leaks on the walls and spider nets on the ceilings did not require a further analysis. It was simply a filthy place, and a burn unit had to have maximum protection against infections.
Grumbling within, he looked for anyone to tell the patient’s location. After long-lasting attempts, a corporal helped “kindly” by saying
“Oh, him? That’s the man over there.” in an extremely discourteous tone that the patient would hear.
This time, our physician started to look for the attending doctor, or at least the assistant. He barely was able to find a young doctor in an assistant’s room. Only a psychiatrist, our doctor was not welcomed so enthusiastically. The young colleague looked like “As what you will and get lost!” What caught the attention of the physician was not the character of his colleague or his level of devotion to his profession. It was the undervalue he gave to the science of psychiatry. He felt sorry. He was used to it. He did not care. He got straight to the point.
He asked information about the patient. The young assistant told that ninety percent of the patient’s body had third degree burns. The burn was caused by a fire. The patient was captured by the flames as he attempted to rescue another person inside. The speech took place next to the patient’s bed. Covered in bandages, the patient was unable to speak. But it was apparent from his eyes that he was listening.
Through the inquiries he made on many information, the physician learned that the patient was not a fire fighter, that he got involved in the incident while passing by the scene of fire, and that there was a child waiting to be rescued inside. The burn doctor, who was a plastic surgery assistant, started to get bored and exhausted of the detailed questions, and was even about to get mad.
However, the psychiatrist asked these questions intentionally. He wanted the patient to hear them. Thus, the patient would be able to hear that at least someone else understood and appreciated how precious, impressive and significant the thing he did was. Anyone having the smallest amount of empathy or the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes would be able to easily comprehend what this meant for that person.
When it came to the inquiry of the medical condition, the assistant was about lose his grip. He wanted to immediately leave there and see about his “work”. In fact, the psychiatrist was aware of the situation, but he was determined to complete the data collection process which he had to do. The surgery assistant youth would tell that the patient’s kidneys were seriously damaged.
As more questions were on their way, the young plastic surgeon suddenly said “This patient is terminal, he cannot survive!” At a reflexive pace, the psychiatrist directed his looks to the eyes of the patient… He was assured that the patient heard and understood this. Like a chill running down his back, he was startled. He could not find anything to say and wanted to secure the patient psychologically by saying “Alright, that’s all” to the young man.
Meanwhile, the patient’s eyes were in horror. In curiosity and fear, he looked like he was waiting for what the psychiatrist would say. The physician would thought “This way or that way, these eyes are full of energy.”.
The doctor gave a final look to the patient and said “The energy in your eyes is a clear indicator that you will cheat death. Wait with a massive hope, a slight fear and a great patience.” And he left. When he came for visit the next day, he learned that the patient was transferred to a more reliable center by his relatives.
Years passed by, maybe more than ten years.
While he was chatting with his colleagues in his room, there was a knock on the door. A man came in. With a foulard on his neck, a well-dressed, well-mannered man… The doctor asked, “How may I help you?”. The man paused for a moment and said, “I came to kiss your hands if I may.”. He couldn’t contain the emotional enthusiasm in his eyes. And the doctor seemed to know these eyes from somewhere! He was way older than the foulard-wearing man was, and the hands of the elders were kissed in his culture.
The doctor stopped for a moment. It seemed there was a lump in his throat. Hoarsely, he could say “I owe you my life”…
He was the patient who was put to bed to his death in the burn unit.
“It was the two words you said that saved me”, he added. The physician was still in silence.
“Cheating death!” “Gripping on these two words, I struggled for months”, said the foulard-wearing man.
The physician stood up and kindly told the patient that he remembered the incident and that he was greatly pleased to see him healthy. He amicably shook his hand. He told him he could sit if he wished to, but the foulard-wearing man respectfully refused the invitation. And he disappeared in the darkness of life. Only God knows what is doing now or the favors he is doing.