Thursday, November 27, 2014

Get it in writing

A couple of times as a sensitive kid, I wrote Thanksgiving grace. We only said grace over high-holiday meals — still true today, now that I think of it — and it was the traditional Catholic "Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts …" The last refuge of "thy" in the American Church.

Grace didn't cover what I felt, so I wrote something specific to our family and my thanks for being part.

It seemed like such a good idea, up to the time I spoke the prayer. Then the red hot wave of self-conscious impropriety swept over me. We weren't a demonstrative family — not cold and taciturn, certainly, but not ebullient like my friend John's family, who shocked and awed me by embracing at every ordinary coming and going.

My sensitive-kid sentiments were not unwelcome, just hard to receive. And hard for me to say. I tried again once more; once more the hot deluge of discomfort.

Still true today. I'm better at writing. Email is a joy, texting a medium I have come to champion. The phone has always been a drudge. Spoken interpersonal relationship, not so much.

On this day of Thanksgiving, I write my thanks. It dawned on me to thank the people who have taken care of my family. Dr. Liebowitz and Dr. Miller, who took care of my wife when she was sick, and made her well again. Dr. Miller said of Dr. Liebowitz, "He's the best there is." And he is.

Thanks to the nurses and technicians who do a terrible, wonderful job, and do it over and over again.

Thank you, Dr. Bargar, for repairing my mother-in-law's leg so she can be more nimble. Thanks for the doctors and nurses who also repaired her heart.

Thanks to my mom and dad's many doctors, with whom they created a kind of community, in which the doctors not only showed the patience of hearing their patients' many issues, but rose above disease and symptom to celebrate them as humans who now and then didn't mind hearing a dirty joke.

It was clear they enjoyed their care, their community.

Thanks to the doctors and nurses who brought our children into the world, and Dr. Huston for checking on their care through childhood, and Drs. Morgan and Chalmer and their kind technicians for the Sisyphean battle that is my teeth, and Dr. Tracy for enabling me to see clearly in any open water.

I do not begrudge that doctors may be well compensated. It's a difficult profession in ways I cannot even fathom. They have made a profound difference in our lives.

Peace to you on this day of thanks.

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