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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thankful Hearts

“What a treat!” Barbara exclaimed, flashing a charming smile.  Then she took a sip of her black coffee.

“We haven’t been here in a while!”  I said as I scanned the breakfast place.

It was a delightful Friday morning.  I was determined to fully enjoy my day off.  I had stopped at the retirement community and surprised Barbara with an invitation to a sumptuous breakfast, at our favorite local restaurant.  

Barbara looked radiant, beautiful.  I was so used to see her wearing her nasal cannula and carrying her portable oxygen tank that it just seemed part of her apparel.  Her eyes shone as she browsed through the menu. 

I took a long sip of my coffee, my gaze still fixed on my friend.  In her early seventies, and despite her medical challenges, she seemed to have more energy than many of the younger people I knew. 

“You look good, Barb!”  I felt I had to speak out my thoughts. 

Barbara tilted her head and looked at me, raising her eyebrows, as though trying to catch up with what I had just said, or perhaps attempting to decipher the reason of my astronomical grin. 

“I feel good.”  She graciously replied. 

“I didn’t think you were going to recover so well after seeing how ill you were over a year ago,” I said, sensing a hint of melancholy in my own words. 

“I know...” She pursed her lips and sighed.

My thoughts quickly rewinded to those days in the hospital and then in the nursing home when Barbara was gasping for air—and for life.  I remembered when the option of hospice was suggested by a doctor in the hospital.  I shook my head trying to dust off those heartbreaking memories.

“Dr. Zubair has done more for me than any other doctor in my life.”  Barbara spoke calmly, but with assertiveness.  She reached for her coffee cup and took another sip. 

“He is an amazing doctor.”  I arched my eyebrows, and my mind flooded again with memories from when Barbara was in the hospital.  I recalled my desperate phone call to Dr. Zubair, asking for his intervention in my friend’s case. 

“Has Dr. Zubair been in the nursing home lately?” Barbara asked. 

“He is there all the time!”  I smiled, a feeling of comfort embracing me.

Then, as I continued looking at Barbara, I realized that I often thought of my residents and their inspirational stories, but very few times I’ve thought of those taking care of the residents.

There are many physicians, nurses, aides, other professionals, and workers in the medical field, providing marvelous care to our patients, and comforting their families and friends.  Dr. Zubair was certainly one of them.

He was a physician I trusted with all my heart, and Barbara couldn’t have been more blessed when he took charge of her medical care. 

Not only was he a well-respected doctor, but by watching him in the hospital and in the nursing home, I was quite impressed that he was humble and devoted to his patients.  He had the patience of a saint to deal with difficult cases, and with demanding families.  

I pondered how many people thanked him for caring for their loved ones.  Many, I hoped.  I wondered how many miracles the Lord worked through this doctor, much like Barbara’s case. 

“Here, Barb, let me take a picture of you...” I pulled my iPhone from my purse, set the camera on, and captured yet another radiant smile of my dear friend. 

“Oh, look at my hair!” Barbara giggled.  I laughed as I thought of how adorable she looked with her prideful expression. 

“I’ll show this picture to Dr. Zubair next time I see him.”  I turned my phone screen toward Barbara.  “I want him to see how great you looked today, and will thank him for taking such a good care of you.”

She glanced at my iPhone screen and her eyes lit up with excitement. 

“Are you ladies ready to order?”  A young waitress approached, and politely stood by our table.  Barbara and I looked at each other with gleeful expression. 

“Yes, we are!” Barbara joyfully exclaimed.