Give Karen a Hug

Over the past fifteen years, I’ve visited lots of different doctors, and I’ve seen lots of techs, nurses and office staff.  There are very few that I’ve really disliked. In fact most of them I have liked very much.  They’ve been kind and helpful and tried their best to put me at ease and help with the complicated issues surrounding uveitis.

High above all of them is a gal named Karen.  Karen is one of those rare folks who truly loves people and has a knack for showing it. She is a creative soul, who has interesting ideas, a lot going on, and is a blast to talk to.

For fifteenish years I have seen my retinologist, and for most of those years Karen has been there.  Techs come, techs go, as do office staff, but Karen is there.  Offices change, the doc retires, then comes back twice, and Karen comes back too.

Karen takes pictures of my retinas.  I sit in a chair across from her at nearly every appointment, wait for her to get the computer ready, then stick my chin on the chin rest and focus on the blue lights as a red laser scans my eyes and then takes pics.  While I’m sitting in that chair, Karen greets me enthusiastically and wants to know how I am, not just how my eyeballs are.  And…she means it.

If you’re waiting to see the doc, and she has a little down time, she pops in for a quick visit.  Every now and then the doc chides her for being a little too chatty.  He’s not too hard on her though, I think because he has come to understand that she is right. Sometimes the pills, needles, eye drops and drugs are not the best medicine. Sometimes a joke and some laughter are what is called for, sometimes it’s asking about your kids, or lending a sympathetic ear…she is a great listener.  Sometimes it’s an encouraging word when you’re down.

I was in the hospital twice last fall, and Karen called me to see how I was.  The second time I was in, she was worried about me.  She stopped by on her lunch break to pay a visit, then went to eat and came back with a couple of magazines that she thought I would like.

Karen gets it.  She gets people.

At the close of my appointment last Friday, the doc handed me a new business card and told me that my next visit would be at a new office.  “Give Karen a hug,” he said.

“Give Karen a hug?”

He nodded.

“She’s not going with you?”

“Not this time.”

I took this in for a moment and felt sad.  “I’m going to miss her.”  And then, “You’re going to miss her!”

“Dang right,” he said, not a term he usually uses, at least in front of me.

Before I left, I waited.  I wasn’t leaving without giving Karen that hug.  Karen is an enthusiastic hugger too.  I told her I would miss her, and the doc’s office wouldn’t be the same without her.

The thing about Karen is…she’s not replaceable.  She’s a one of a kind, spirited, interesting and compassionate combination that is rare.  Karen is wonderful!


Please…feel free to ask a question.  Your comment or sharing a thought is also welcome.

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