The clock read 1:40 in the morning, and sand scraped my eyelids every time I blinked. My body buzzed with the need for sleep…but also with fear.

My son sat in a wheelchair in the eerily quiet hospital, waiting to go into emergency surgery. I kept my voice calm as I tried to comfort him about what was to come.

But deep inside, I felt horribly inadequate.

I’d already watched as he struggled through painful dentist appointments. Comforted him through the trip to the ER. Had to step out of the room when the nurses started his IV because his fearful screams were too much to handle. I’d walked him through the CT scan and distracted him through worry-filled hours of waiting for results and conclusions.

And we were finally here.

There were four of us standing outside the operating room — my husband, myself, the doctor in charge of the surgery, and you. I can’t remember if another person joined us, but I remember we all stood while my son sat, his mind likely racing with questions and fears.

I can imagine because my mind raced with its own questions. {Nothing is guaranteed in life. What if…?}

And then you stepped in front of his wheelchair and got down on your knee. You touched his arm, looked him in the eye, and said, “We’ll take good care of you, buddy. We’ll get you better soon, I promise.”

I watched as he nodded and closed his eyes, those simple words seeming to ease his worries for the time being. And in the simplest of ways, they eased my worries too. Carried me through the minutes that followed as I sat in the half-dark waiting room, trying to stay calm until I heard his prognosis.

Now three weeks later, as I sit in my living room and listen to my son’s playful chatter in the backyard, I wish I could rewind time and say thank you. But “better late than never” is all I can do.

So to the doctor whose name I can’t remember and whom I’ll likely never see again, THANK YOU.

Thank you for saving my son’s life, yes. But even more, thank you for looking at him as more than a medical chart. For meeting him at eye-level. For giving much-needed assurance to a mind and heart parched with fear.

Thank you for reminding this weary mom that small gestures matter. That people all around us are waiting for someone to see them. To notice and make eye contact. To smile and care.

As I look back on those nerve-wracking days in the hospital, the kindness and knowledge of countless doctors stand out in my memory.

But your simple gesture stands largest.

A reminder to go beyond job or duty.

A reminder to see.


To the Doctor Who Knelt In Front of My Son’s Wheelchair… {A Reminder to SEE}
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8 thoughts on “To the Doctor Who Knelt In Front of My Son’s Wheelchair… {A Reminder to SEE}

  • August 24, 2015 at 6:42 am

    BRAVO to the doctor!!! Isn’t it amazing how much the “little” things like that aren’t little at all? When I had my gallbladder out earlier this year, I had a nurse who spontaneously prayed for me when I arrived in the OR with a fresh wave of panic. I have never forgotten her and even thanked her {though I didn’t know her name} on my evaluation form. HUGE. It may be just another day at the office to these nurses and doctors, but to the rest of us, it’s big stuff!!

    • August 24, 2015 at 10:20 am

      What a powerful moment, Bekah, especially in a world where many are afraid to wear their faith on their sleeves. Thanks for sharing!!

  • August 24, 2015 at 9:40 am

    It reminds me of the time Jenny was in the bone marrow unit (a two month stay – also at Riley) and one of the nurses brought a bagged lunch in for me. Her homemade broccoli soup, fruit and cookies touched my heart in a way that still brings tears to my eyes when I remember it.

    • August 24, 2015 at 10:22 am

      An amazing example – I’d never heard that story before! When you’re tired and miss home, the thing you want most is a home-cooked meal. Makes me think of the Scripture verse, “Feed my sheep.”

  • August 24, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    So glad everything is okay now. Wonderful you had that doctor in that moment, and your son’s fears were calmed.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • August 28, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Our son was at Riley for surgery on average of once every other year until he was 13. The orthopedic surgeon was more than his doctor; he was my son’s friend. The nurses who were there over the years were excellent: but some of them found they couldn’t work with children who were ill.The found other areas of nursing to work in Doctors and nurses who work with children have a special calling from God.

    • August 28, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      I agree, Cecelia, it is a special calling! Thanks for sharing your story.

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