Friday, January 31, 2014

Of Dentist Bills and Kindness

They were driving back from the temple. An old mother and her son. She wanted a pill that would kill her toothache. He felt it best to get her a dental check-up. It was a modest clinic, something that he would hesitate to take his mother to. 

He gently held her hand and walked her in. Clean place, young dentist. A pretty looking receptionist. He carefully assisted his mother into the dentist’s chair. Took great care to translate the dentist’s instructions in English of the process, thereafter, patiently escorted her back to the car. 

It was certain that the offending tooth had to be removed. The mother nodded smilingly. The following morning the tooth was extracted. Almost routine stuff. The old lady was asked to wait at the reception thereafter.

Meanwhile, the dentist asked for the son to meet him at his office. “I could not sleep last night, and you were the reason,” he said. “The way you held your mother was not lost on me. My wife, the receptionist, noticed it as well. When I was going to retire to bed, she said – “Hey, do you treat your mother the same way? And will you treat her this way when she is old infirm?” 

“If that is not enough, my pregnant wife felt her her stomach and asked me, “Will the child in me, treat me in the same way, when I am old and hard of hearing?” I was reflecting on the care, respect and gentleness you showed to your mother, and had a restless night of guilt '. 

Care is a matter of the heart in action. Elders need care the way the infants do. The son was clearly at a loss of words. He smiled and nodded, held the dentist’s hands and said that he would be even a better son than he, and left his office.

He met the receptionist, and asked her for the bill. The radiant lady waved him off. Paid in full with a poignant lesson learnt about elder care, she added. 

Life is beautiful, cheerfully waving at the mother. Just beautiful!