Comments in Passing

10 Oct

Dr. Pollack, my childhood ENT, left an impression on my life. I never feared the doctor’s office, I thought ear tubes, hearing tests and earplugs were pretty cool, I loved getting Tootsie Pops, and I was certain that I was his favorite (no seriously…I was). Now as it turns out, my mom left an impression on his life.

Recently my mom paid Dr. Pollack a visit as a patient herself. 30+ years had passed since the fairly regular visits she used to make with my brother and me.  I’m pretty sure she was looking forward to seeing him. Apparently, he was looking forward to seeing her as well, for he was waiting for her at the door when the receptionist called her back. He then proceeded to introduce her to everyone in the office, telling them, “This is The Mom!

Surprised and unsure as to what earned her the title of “The Mom,” Dr. Pollack went on to recap a story from decades earlier.

As I already mentioned, between my brother and I, we were making pretty frequent visits to the ENT as kids. During one such trip, when I was about 5 and my brother 3, Dr. Pollack greeted us in his normal fashion. After bending down to give me a giant hug, my mom said, “You know…little boys need hugs too.”

And that was it. What was a comment in passing for my mom was a defining moment for Dr. Pollack. This concise observation from a parent forever changed the way he interacted with his patients. It was from that day on, he explained, that he made a conscious effort to treat all of his patients the same – Tootsie Pops and hugs for everyone.

This reunion got me thinking about how simple conversations can change the lens from which you view your world. Has a comment ever changed the way you thought about something? Have you ever been inspired to change your behavior because of some else’s words?

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2 Responses to “Comments in Passing”

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster October 10, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    I can only recall one specific instance, but it’s happened to me many times. I’d wager most of the instances involved my brother-in-law.

    The biggest one was my getting agitated over something a family member had done while my mom was dying. My brother-in-law asked me calmly, “Does that sound like something a sane person would do?”

    Since then, that’s a question I ask myself often in bizarre circumstances. And just thinking that question makes me wonder what all’s happening in someone else’s life, even absent mental illness, before I start getting grumbly.

    I’m going to be thinking on this question for a while.

    • superheroprincess October 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

      It sounds like your brother-in-law has some sage advise. I love when people in my life help me to put things into perspective like that. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

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