This past month has been absolutely treacherous in terms of my health; a scare about a damaged liver, not being able to eat food, and something strange happening neuro-chemically that amounted to night-terrors, severe panic attacks to the point I couldn’t be left alone – apparently due to my liver not detoxifying sufficiently – and of course, pain.
Now, in the midst of this, I receive a letter. I had more or less forgotten about sending a thank-you note to an ER doctor last year who kept an eye on me as I was struggling to breathe due to pain, and I not long ago received his reply. I truly don’t feel I wield any kind of power as such, nor the ability to transform a life. But, in this state of profound difficulty as I’ve been panicking over worse news, or contemplating my mortality, I receive a response from that kind doctor. He wasn’t able to do much for me that day, but he patiently listened, empathised, and treated me with a profound degree of respect.
If I’ve learnt anything… it’s that if possible, spread a kind word when you can. I didn’t think I’d share this letter, but I think it found me at a time when I needed to read it as much as mine did my doctor. So I transcribe parts of it to serve as an example.
“Your letter brought tears to my eyes. It reached me at a time that I was losing faith in people and this career.
“You have motivated me to not give up, and that I can make a difference in people’s lives.
“I have never received such a heartfelt message from my patients.
“I was on holiday with my now fiancé when I received your letter, it made it an even more special moment.
“…I do remember you. I hope you’re doing well and I’m sorry for all the difficulties you are going through. Hang in there.
“Thank you Imraan.
“I cannot put into words how much your kind words have impacted me.
“Your message will always stay with me and keep me going.
“Best wishes, “