Thursday, November 10, 2016

WWYD (What Would YOU Do?)

Since starting work in a pediatrician’s office, I overhear all kinds of things these days. Some of these jewels include:

“Where is your shoe?” 
“Where are your pants?” 
“Do you need to go potty?” 
“Did you just go potty here already?” 
“Don’t lick that.”

I am not an eavesdropper by nature and typically don’t have the time or concern to listen in on others’ conversations, but today, two women were chatting and it was a slower time and fairly quiet and here’s the jist of the conversation:

A man was diagnosed with cancer and given a pretty bleak prognosis. He sought a second opinion, but before that, made some pretty big decisions. The days that followed were filled with life-altering words and actions. In his defense, he thought his hourglass was about out of sand so he wasn’t wasting any time. He quit his job. He started selling some real estate and unfreezing assets. He reached out to a friend and a sibling, both of whom he’d lost contact with over the years, and rekindled those relationships. His wife decided she was down with the “health” part of the marriage vows but wasn’t as keen with the “sickness” part, so he cut her loose and she took off. He lost some friends he thought were true blue and gained the devotion and love from a couple of friends who surprised him. 

Then he received an equally alarming message in his second opinion:  “Your scans are clear. You don’t have cancer.”  What would normally be cause for celebration was met with more of a “what have I done?” reaction. He faced the equally-compelling conundrum of “what now?”

As I allowed my brain to wrap itself around this story, the one thing that struck me and struck me good was the thought that one phone call, one sentence, one word even, can have a domino effect on the rest of your life, however much is left.

“You have cancer.”
“I quit.”
“Can we talk?”
“I can’t do this.”
“Your scans are clear.”

The morale of this story, if there is one, is two-part. One, choose your words carefully as they may have a long-lasting and far-reaching impact that affects not just the intended recipient, but countless unseen others. And two, make the most of the day you have, for tomorrow is promised to no one.