By Sheila Kun RN, BSN, MS, CPN, FCCP
Image you are a physician and you have a robust private practice in Beverly Hills. One day Governor Cuomo from New York called you and said: “Can you help me with one of my COVID 19 hospitals in New York City?” Without a minute of hesitation, you signed up to battle the deadly virus at the front line.
This is exactly what happened to Dr. Lee, a professor practicing at Beijing. He got the call in January 2020. Immediately he deployed to work in Wuhan, leaving his wife and children behind. You might say that under the communist regimen one had no choice but to join in. But think about mobilizing over 40,000 medical staff to help in Wuhan with one order. This is an amazing deed. But the following story is more amazing.
So Dr. Lee, with his mobile device on hand, totally gowned up from head to toe with many layers of PPE, dutifully checked on his patients every day for 3 months. Day in and out, his brows would be dripping with sweats from the PPE, and his eyes focused on his physical exam of each patient. He always left the room with a warm hand-shake and said: “Take care of yourself, I will be checking on you tomorrow.” Day in and out, Dr. Lee would offer words of comfort in addition to the clinical information to his patients. Below we captured an incredible testimony of his kindness from his patient.
One 41 year old pregnant woman, after trying to have a baby for 13 years, finally gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Unfortunately she was not allowed to be mom on day one. She got the COVID 19 virus and was deadly ill. She lost 20 pounds and could not bring herself to eat. Dr. Lee would make rounds on her every day, encouraging her to be strong and live for her baby. They would do Facetime together to make sure this new mother had a glimpse of hope for life during the virus crisis and in isolation. Gradually, she knew she was not going to die. She was determined to get stronger. However, she had absolutely no appetite. One day, in the midst of struggling to get any food in, Dr. Lee walked in with bottles of special nutrients in his hands. He declared: “I am not leaving your room until you can show me you tolerate a bottle of this nutrient drink.” The patient was shocked by his firmness. In her mind she asked herself: “I should do better and really try my best. Here is my doctor who cares so much more about me than anyone in the world.” With renewed energy, she finally sipped through the bottle of nutrients. “Hey, I can do it! I did not vomit!” Dr. Lee was overjoyed with her effort; he left 5 more bottles of nutrients for her to maintain her health. Upon departing the room, Dr. Lee gave her a bottle of hand lotion. “I noticed that you are dehydrated and your skin is very dry. This lotion will keep your hands moist and pretty.” With tears in her eyes, this new mom told Dr. Lee he was angel from heaven. Dr. Lee responded humbly: “I am working on behalf of the Chairman Xi Jinping, I am his messenger of hope. Your country wants you to do well. I am just conveying their kind thoughts and love for you.”
After reading this story, does it resonate with you of our Salesian Spirituality? I sure said Amen when I learned of this touching story. Like Dr. Lee, Don Bosco made sure everyone was his priority. He made people feel important. He did ordinary things in extraordinary ways. A little gesture of giving a hand lotion meant a lot to this new mom. I am sure your smile, your gentle acknowledgement of a job well done would mean a lot to the people that you care about. And I am sure you may not be aware that these little gestures might make a big difference in one’s life. Why? Because that is part of you – you are a Salesian.
Let us continue to dose out our Corona Kindness. I have not heard of anyone who had an overdose of random kindness. Just like over-the-counter drug, this does not require a prescription; just give it whenever you have an opportunity.
Your homework assignment from the Care Ministry this week: find any opportunity to do a random act of kindness. (I think it might be more meaningful to offer kindness to someone that we really don’t care about in ordinary times.)
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