“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
― Albert Einstein

Imagination is the difference between yesterday and tomorrow. It is the possibility, the hope, the dream of what could be, come to life.

Today Suzie and I sit in a doctor’s office dreaming of feet. We are trying to imagine the possibility of walking without pain, thoughtlessly, carelessly. We are struggling with the fantasy of shoes not made of foam rubber. It takes imagination.

And courage

Cancer is an autoimmune disease. It affects the entire body, even without cancer being present. Cancer patients can also have bone, joint, blood, soft tissue, brain, nerve, hormonal, digestive, skin, allergy, ear, bowel and cardiovascular diseases. Wikipedia has a list of 172 diseases related to the immune system and admits that the list can never be fully complete.

We are lucky

Suzie’s list is short and begins with her feet. They hurt. But she knows enough about orthopedic surgery to know it is a can of worms. Foot surgery can keep you off your feet for a long time.

Where courage begins

Suzie, who has faced more surgeries than is fair, is reluctant to press her luck. It’s understandable. But pain is a great motivator. So, here we are imagining a better life beyond the fear.

X-rays are taken. We wait. The doctor comes in trailing his posse. Questions are asked, tests conducted. So far we are on the normal path taken by a competent doctor, of which we have seen a few.

Then he begins to teach us with clear pictures, charts and visuals. He encourages us to ask questions. Because I am in the room, “we” have a lot of them. He is precise, efficient but patient. He gives us everything we need to make a decision then gives us options and asks what we want to do.

We decide

Then, as he heads slowly for the door still filling in the details, he does something without thinking that shows me who he is. Without the slightest bump in the flow of information, he straightens a picture on the wall.

He is a knowledgable, patient, listening, teaching, multi-tasking doctor who pays attention to details.

That’s what I want in a surgeon. That’s how we learn trust. It’s not in the big, calculated things you say. You can professionally fake those. It’s in the small details that we learn who you really are.

Information plus confidence

Knowledge is better than ignorance, even when the news is bad. This time it’s not. In a few weeks Suzie will have the least complicated surgery and can be back on her feet in a week. The pain should be better. Life should be better.

All because of the courage to imagine a better life.

And now the praying begins . . .


Photo: The Straightened Picture by Dennis Ritchie

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