Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Stranger's Kindness

I don't cry very often.  Really, I don't.  Tears might come to my eyes occasionally, but I normally brush them away and continue on with whatever task I am trying to perform.  Something happened yesterday that touched my heart so deeply that I couldn't help but cry.

What was that act? Kindness.  Extraordinary kindness.

Ben and I are in transition.  He has started a new job that has some pretty rocking benefits.  As is custom, we must wait thirty days before these benefits take effect.  We were kicked off our previous insurance a few days before he started the new job.  Yeah, we don't have insurance.

This hasn't been an issue until today.  Rather, a few days ago when Andrew woke up screaming. Every 15-30 minutes. All. Night. Long.

The first night I figured it was my fault.  I had interrupted his sleep to pick Ben up from work.

The second night I thought he might be scared.

The third night I wasn't sure what to think.

And this was our quandary: do we take him in to the doctor? If we had had insurance this would not have been a question.  But, because a doctor's visit would require taking money from our oh-so-tight budget, we had to make a decision.

See the doctor or eat.

OK. Maybe not that drastic, but close.

The threat of repeating the last three nights, and the potential of an ear infection, led us to the doctor's office.

I must say, we are very satisfied with our pediatrician.  He has taken care of our kids--and us--very well.  Ben even shadowed him! We know him and trust him.

The doctor did not find an infection.  He did find a sore, in the back of Andrew's throat, resulting from a virus that he has seen once or twice this year.  The good news: it only lasts about 5 days.  The bad news: it is very painful. The ultra bad news: there is nothing we can do about it.

Needless to say, it was not a good visit.  I could feel our bank account protesting against our hsatiness, "If you had only waited another day, you wouldn't have needed a doctor!"

I was feeling pretty defeated.  I had Andrew dressed and was only waiting for the doctor to dismiss us.  As he finished typing, and opened the door, he said something I did not expect.  He said to Ben, "Don't worry about paying.  Take her [me] out to lunch. She needs it."

The tears surprised me as much as his words.


I hope we can do the same for someone in the future.

P.S. Andrew's sore is much better.  He was able to sleep all night last night!


  1. Oh my goodness, all the interactions I've had with doctors differ so much from what you just described that it makes me want to move down there just to have him for a doctor!

    WOW, that's pretty darn awesome. I love those tender little mercies. Kindness from others has made me cry before, too, and it definitely helps me pass it along when I can.

  2. So glad to hear the little guy is getting better ... and to know that kindness like that doctor's still exists, especially in the medical profession. I wasn't sure it did, though now I'm re-inspired to be the giver of kindness. (And I hope you enjoyed your lunch out!) =>

  3. This made me cry, too. Sometimes people really step up the kindness...and it's always at the right moment.

    It is SO inspiring.

    (And I'm so glad to hear that things will get better for Andrew.)

  4. What an amazing, sweet, caring doctor you have! Thanks for sharing such a feel-good story of kindness. Glad to hear that Andrew will be ok, too!

  5. This is so uplifting - totally inspiring that there are really good people out there, doing what they can to help young families like you. Wow.

  6. I am moved by the kindness of your doctor, although frustrated that you found yourself in such an untenable situation, feeling like you had to choose between healthcare for your son and the other things your family needs. What kind of choice is that? I'm just so happy that everything worked out - and that Andrew is on the mend. I hope you, he, and Ben get some good sleep tonight!

  7. Having been in your shoes before, I totally understand the tears. I'm so glad he did that for you.

    I'm glad Andrew is okay and hope the rest of transition goes smoothly!

    Get some sleep.

    Luv ya!

  8. This was more than a little act of kindness in a way, but still, it is when someone does something kind unexpectedly that we feel as you did about this kind doctor.

    I am glad your son is doing better - and you did the right thing as it is always better to be safe than sorry with a child and time is always critical with young children.

    I have to just ask - how come you don't cry all the time? I never cried before becoming a mother but now, every little sentimental thing sets me off and I so wish that wasn't the case :-)

  9. This is wonderful! It gives me hope!

  10. *sniff, sniff* that is THE best doctor ever. What comes around goes around -- I'm sure he is a happy man.

  11. These are the moments we never anticipate. These are defining moments for some of us, in our lives, when we're on the receiving end. There's enormous kindness in this world. It never fails to make me cry.

    Glad your little one is doing better - or will be - very very soon.

  12. I love that you already look forward to paying it forward. You deserved that act of kindness on so many levels. I became insured for the first time just before I discovered I was pregnant with my son. I am thankful every day for that benefit that comes along with my job, and hopeful that eventually there will be plenty of ways to arrive at manageable premiums.

  13. This is the most fantastic thing I have ever heard. I want to cry.

  14. I like to think that doc learned that kindness somewhere, and I know that when we can we pay that sort of loving compassion forward.

    I'm also with Kristen in empathizing with you about the awful feeling of being forced to choose between health care and something else our kids need (like food and a roof over their heads; been there) when we should all feel like we can see a doctor even just to know if we really need to see the doctor.

  15. Kristen,

    A tiny part of me is grateful for this experience because I am now truly empathetic of those who are without insurance. Frankly, I am saddened that our country is dreadfully behind in healthcare reform. I don't necessarily agree with Pres. Obama's idea because I feel it does not address some of the most pertinent issues (like the shortage of doctors) but I am grateful that he is at least doing something about it.

    I am seriously counting down the days until we are back on insurance. (20 days to go!)

  16. Leslie, as silly as this sounds, I am more eager for my husband to finish school so we can start paying it forward than I am to make actual money. Although, we need the money to pay it forward. Hmmm. Ok. I guess I am looking forward to making actual money. ; )

  17. Isn't it wonderful when humanity proves itself to be not nearly as small as you think? I'm so sorry about the sore on the throat (oww! Just hearing about it was painful). Hope you can get through the rest of the month without any more medical incidents. xo

  18. What a super kind man, I am always humbled when people know just when to step up.

  19. Oh sweet grace...it's all that gets us through sometimes. I'm so glad that you were given that experience, both for the kindness and the inspiration to want to pass it on!

  20. I love good doctor stories. Kindness when you least expect it is the best. Wish you lived in our area Amber because my husband makes free house calls for family, friends, and neighbors. He is quite popular on our street. Glad the little one is feeling better. Now go enjoy that lunch!

  21. Beautiful, beautiful! I love it. And how great that Ben will be in a position to do the same thing.

  22. A great story. What a kind man.

    My husband makes occasional house calls too (although usually they come to our house not the other way around). It is nice sometimes just to know if you need to see the doctor.

  23. That is totally awesome Amber. There are some wonderful people in this world that are truly in touch with the purpose God has for their lives.

  24. How nice. It's good to know there are still nice people in such a cruel world!

  25. Tears here too. Random kindness. It makes such a difference! You've inspired me to pay-it-forward today. Now for a good way to do that!

    And I hope your little guys is better now. Thinking of you!

  26. I'm glad it is something not so serious.

    I have been there--I am there as even with insurance, all of us being sick at the same time really adds up quickly. And it can be a "get healthy or get food" kind of time.

    I'm glad your doc was so nice :) Mine steal the money out of the pocket as soon as you step foot in the door!

  27. Amber. These moments are such a treasure. I have been there, at that point of being pulled by finances so tight it is hard to breathe. It sounds like things are going to turn a corner for you all; and what a blessing to have a pediatrician like yours.

  28. Health care or food; not a good choice. What if your house was burning down and you took a moment to pause, "Can I afford to call 911?" Hmmm.

    So grateful for doctors who give well at moments like these. And I feel for your life circumstances now. Being married to a student like that is tough stuff.

  29. I love the Lord and I'm so thankful for the law of tithing. Hooray for good people and blessings!

  30. [...] lost weight at his last doctor’s appointment. His weight has been teetering at the edge for the last two and causing me a bit of worry.  My kids [...]


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