By Dr. Jasper James Chen
For Northwest Asian Weekly
I believe there is a time and place in our world in which healthcare is not merely a service, but the deepest and most meaningful interaction between one human being and another.
I believe this interaction occurs not in the exchange of money or pleasantries or provision of services, but in the impression on the hearts of all those who are blessed to be involved.
From the heart of the pianist I hear as I arrive at the foyer of the hospital.
From the heart of the volunteer that directs me to the clinic I need to go to.
From the heart of the florist who arranged today’s flowers at the reception desk.
From the heart of the receptionist as I am checked in.
From the heart of another patient who anxiously awaits her turn to be seen but still genuinely asks me how I am doing today.
From the heart of the nursing assistant who brings me back to the clinic room and gently takes my blood pressure.
From the heart of the nurse who asks me what is on my mind today.
From the heart of the physician who appears awfully busy, but while she is with me, gives me her undivided attention and stays with me until my most wrenching questions are addressed.
To my patient heart.
And back to the heart of the physician who prays for more time in each day, but still treats me as if I were the only patient in the world.
And back to the heart of the nurse who finishes teaching me, and practically begs me to call with any questions I couldn’t think of right now.
And back to the heart of the nursing assistant who guides me diligently back to the receptionist.
And back to the heart of the receptionist who happily schedules my next appointment, asking what is most convenient for me.
And back to the heart of the other patient in the waiting room who looks more relaxed now.
And back to the heart of the florist, even while she is not physically here.
And back to the heart of the pianist who now performs a soft and caressing piece of meditation as I walk unhurriedly from the foyer to the parking garage.
This I Believe. ♦
Dr. Chen is resident physician in psychiatry and leadership preventive medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.