Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.—PROVERBS 12:25 [NIV]
I lay on the operating table, feeling anxious. My husband, Mike, had accidentally left an important binder received at hospital registration in our car. I waited on the cold hard table while Mike retrieved the folder for the surgical team. The OR was antiseptic and stark. Harshly lit. Freezing cold. The assistants, covered from head to toe, looked like aliens.
I hoped for a lumpectomy, but it was possible I’d wake up minus a breast. Fear washed over me.
Once the paperwork arrived, my young surgeon, Dr. Zusan, pushed a rolling stool up to the operating table. She sat down, taking my right hand in hers. Above her mask, her eyes smiled. “Sharon, I’m going to stay with you and we’ll hold hands until you’re asleep.” As a tech slipped a breathing mask over my face, Dr. Zusan talked down my fears. “You’re getting some nice clean oxygen right now. Just take a few deep breaths. You’re doing fine.” She squeezed my hand.
Four years after my lumpectomy, I am doing fine. I’ve never forgotten how Dr. Zusan took time from her schedule to hold my hand and calm my fears. Surgeons often have reputations for being brusque, but some are angels. My doctor’s human touch calmed my heart. I try to pay it forward, sharing a hug or a few kind words when others are in need. Small acts have big impact.