This blog is not about my father’s advice. It’s about one of my role models who gave me an example of such a life. His name was Tommy. He wasn’t a doctor. He wasn’t one of my teachers. He wasn’t really a friend, although he knew my face and said, “Hi”, when he saw me.
He was a mentally handicapped busboy.
Each morning I’d make my rounds in the ICU, and, coming to her room, would expect to find Miss Hattie’s bed empty. But she hung on, the heavy aroma of the grave still oppressive. It constricted you from all sides.
I can’t prove the existence of love by scientific experiments, but tell me of any greater force on earth for bodily recovery, reconciliation, sacrifice, bravery, and physical strength. And no one can deny that a soft touch or the healing presence of a caring person has physical therapeutic power to a sick one. The philosophical materialist who denies the existence of anything other than the tangible, observable, and quantifiable realm merely says such a phenomenon is “psychological”.
Dr. Banov was, perhaps, the kindest, most astute, most compassionate doctor and teacher of the art of “beside manner” that I have ever met. If I haven’t said this before in a previous blog, I must now tell you another term for “bedside manner” that I am fond of using. It’s that ability to make people feel better by just being with them. I would like to take credit now for coining the term: “therapeutic presence”. Dr. Banov had it.