Live Oak —
I think it is fair to say, most parents pray that their children will grow-up to be productive members of society. And if the truth be told, most would be proud beyond words if their kids ended up an attorney, scientist, engineer or physician. These, after all, are four of society’s most prestigious occupations.
For example, despite all the negative comments that are heaped upon them, it is the lawyer we run to for help when we have been wronged, for they are the intellectual “gunslingers” of a civilized world. And while it will be the scientist in the laboratory that makes possible a better tomorrow, it usually will be an engineer who takes that lab research and finds a practical application for it.
But of these four great professions, I think the one most of us hold in the highest esteem is that of “healer.” After all, it is the physician who takes away our pain, cures our illnesses, gives us our children and last, but not least, helps us enter death’s realm with dignity.
So imagine the delight my wife and I experienced when years ago, our teenage son came home and announced that for his high school career day, he hoped to shadow a surgeon in our local hospital.
I couldn’t help it. Within seconds, I had visions of a future, where during bragging sessions, I could trump any of my fellow old coots in the retirement home with this simple six word sentence; “Well, my son is a doctor!”
Let me digress at this point and say I’ve never been much for “pulling strings.” In this particular case, however, I made an exception. As a long-time reporter, I had written dozens of medical stories over the years and I was acquainted with many members of our local medical community. So, if my son might be interested in being a surgeon, I would do what I could to insure he had worthwhile career day.
It only took a couple of phone calls before I knew my son’s shadowing of doctors would be “special.” Not only would he follow physicians on their hospital rounds, but he would also have the opportunity to scrub-up and witness an operation.
Career day came and went and my wife and I were anxious to sit down that evening and hear exactly what our son thought of his experience. I think we both hoped he’d say something like, “Mom… Dad. Those people are fantastic! They save lives every day! I can’t think of any nobler profession. THIS IS WHAT I WILL BE!”
Granted, we knew that if this were the case, we’d both probably be working until the end of time to come up with the money for his education. But hell, we thought, it would be worth it.
And so the big question was posed; “Well, what did you think of your day son?”
He paused a moment as if carefully selecting just the right words for us; “Mom…Dad, I can’t believe how many old, naked bodies you see in a hospital.”
In case, you haven’t guessed by now---although very successful in his chosen career---my son ain’t no doctor.
Jim lives in Live Oak.