Whether she provoked it was moot. The wild dog attacked, scared her face for life, and fled to the safety of the concrete jungle of North Chicago. We all knew it would never be found just as we knew that her next two weeks would be filled with the pain of our rabies shots. I felt the need to give them myself – why I’ll never know.
As I raised a burning whelp in the soft skin of her nine-year-old belly quiet tears streak down her cheeks. Fear mixed with blind trust caused her to look brave just as I, like all medical students, pretended to be brave.
Two babes in the woods bonding through the act of a wild dog.
I dried her tears but knew something more was needed so I wrote my first prescription.
The rose graced her home and each day she came back the bond grew stronger. It lives now as this memory.
I’ve written many prescription since then …some helped…some not. I often wonder that years from now you will look back and find our therapeutic modalities barbaric, misguided, or based in myth.
Many ideas of merit come from youth… from the mouths of babes. Truth is clearer, less clouded by education. You know these truths… Deep inside yourselves they are safe… You must not let us teach them away from you… You must save them for those who desperately need them. Time will never out date kindness or compassion.
I find it ironic that my first prescription may have been my best. Good luck with yours.
This brief story was shared with a graduating medical school class in 1985, 11 years after the event. I was asked to share my thoughts about aspects of being an MD.
Last night while sitting in front of a fan with shaking chills and a fever from my own rabies shots I thought of that barbaric treatment I have given to a nine-year-old child. Yes we have moved on as the years progressed.
I think often of time. I don’t believe it is linear but rather a spiral or even a Möbius strip
too long for us to see an end that does not exist. Somehow in the midst of the shaking chill I was there with her again in an emergency room from years ago. Perhaps I looked up to the spiral above and saw her there smiling down at me…
I think to compassion shown to me just 72 hours ago as I myself was loaded with immunoglobulins and vaccines and to the compassion shown to me this morning when I got my second of four shots…. I dread the next two days…
Nonetheless I know that compassion of others has eased the burden just as I hope my first prescription did so.
Time maybe a Möbius strip or a spiral around but compassion and kindness definitely make the path more than a bearable one…