Today started out ok. I didn't get up early like I had planned and instead I rose out of bed at 7:00 from a very shallow and restless night's sleep. I did not feel refreshed at all but I scuffled to the bathroom, forcing my eyes open against the glaring lights and commenced the beautifying process. My hair was ok, my make up looked fine, I scrounged something out of my closet to wear that wasn't fabulous, but work appropriate and comfortable at least.
At work I set up for the day, had everything ready for the arriving patients, and waited for the day to begin. Its a Tuesday and Tuesdays are a lot less hectic than most so I started to write a card to my Grandpa and Grandma out in California who were angels and gave me a much needed loan for Dental Assisting School about a year and a half ago. Not long after I finished the note the first patient of the day arrived. I don't know why but I was in statue mode. Unfeeling, uncaring, and yes, maybe slightly curt. I had no reason to be, except I was tired and apparently didn't try at all to break myself out of that grumbly mood. The next few patients arrived and checked in and I went through the motions with barely more than a semi-friendly greeting and only addressing the necessary.
That's when Mr. Dobson came in. Mr. Dobson is a 75 yr.-old new patient and needed to have his insurance cards scanned, a packet of paperwork filled out, and apparently slowly repeated instructions. For some reason, especially in the mood that I was in, I expected to be irritated by this gentleman's requirement of patience. Instead I felt the exact opposite toward him, much to my astonishment. My spirits glowed faintly brighter when he stepped up to my desk. Mr. Dobson does not write well. It took him a full 3 minutes to sign his name and date on the sign in sheet and he mistook his friend's business card for his insurance card, and he very seriously told me that he wasn't able to write when I handed him the paperwork. He asked if I could fill it out for him and I surprised myself by saying, "Yes, of course I can do that for you," before I even had a chance to think about how inconvenient it was for my schedule... (it was a very self centered start this morning...). I grabbed my favorite pen and the clipboard of paperwork and then Mr. Dobson and I sat on one of the couches in the waiting room and I read him the paperwork as he gave me the appropriate information I needed to fill in. Throughout the course of the venture I learned that Mr. Dobson is a widower from Washington who, at the age of five, had an iron accidentally dropped on his face, smashing the bones across his nose and sinuses. Unfortunately, at that time, there wasn't the resources to surgically correct his injury and he was left to the mercy of mother nature to heal on his own. What they didn't know, what no one could really have known, was that due to that injury 70 years ago, Mr. Dobson was to suffer a myriad of health issues, from skin cancer, a kidney transplant, heart problems, a foot long and very protruding hernia, to severe sinus infections and fevers, all stemmed from that one incident as a child, believe it or not.
I don't remember exactly how it happened but somehow I mentioned that he had a good life despite it all. He very assuredly agreed with me and affirmed that he indeed had a very fulfilling life and a wonderful family, and with tears in his eyes he said that he was glad for the life he's had and grateful for the things he's been able to expereince. He said that now, he's ready to go home though, and he's just waiting for when the Lord is ready for him. It wasn't sad though. It was such a peaceful statement. He's lived and he's ready now to go home. With no hesitations. What a wonderful way to "end" life!
Mr. Dobson touched my heart today in a way that I don't think I'll ever forget. After we'd finished his paperwork and chatted for a little while longer I decided I needed to pull myself from this wonderful man's presence, stop any tears that were welling, and come back to my responsibilities. As I walked to my desk I noticed my step was lighter. When the next patient checked in I was warm and congenial. When I answered the phone I had a smile in my voice. Little common annoyances that have always been in the workplace were evaporated. This sweet, unfortunate man, was my angel today. He cured me out of my selfish mood. He resolved me to a better outlook.
Since then I have noticed the blessings more acutely in my life, even the ones in just today. I recieved a raise at work, as well as an unexpected bonus just for a job well done. A man came and brought me handfuls of goodies because, "receptionists just don't get appreciated enough." My wonderful, amazing boyfriend has made me feel so loved and cherished. I am healthy and strong without any physical defects to speak of. I have a great job in just about every aspect of it. I have a wonderful family and friends that have loved me despite everything I may or may not have done. I am blessed. Anything I have to complain about is a factor of my own making or my own selfishness. I need to always remember dear Mr. Dobson and the lesson and feelings he has brought to me.
Thank you Mr. Dobson and I wish you a smooth transition back to your sweetheart.