The Story of Willie

optometryI first met Willie in May of 2014.  As I entered the exam room, my dedication to why I was practicing at Community Medical Care Center was strengthened.  Willie was not going to be my usual patient…

You see, like many of our patients, Willie had not been seen by a physician in over five years.  He was diagnosed with diabetes but could not afford his medications.  His blood sugar was over 400, his hemoglobin A1c 12.6 and his blood pressure 160/90.  With obvious cataracts in both eyes, he tells me that he can only see the “outline” of me.  He could just barely see the insulin syringe numbers when placed inches away from his nose.

Willie has seen me more than a dozen times since that first encounter.  His blood sugar and blood pressure readings came down slowly over the next three months.  His three month hemoglobin A1c was a wonderful 7.7!  He made and kept his appointment with our eye doctor and has also had cataract surgery through We Care.  He has been seen by our dietitian, our chronic disease manager, our foot care nurse and a surgeon for a large fibrolipoma.

Unlike some of our patients, Willie did not come to the clinic with a written list of complaints and problems.  He was not seeking disability or unrealistic expectations of the services that are now available to him. Willie came at his appointed time and touched my heart forever.

As we treat the mind, body and spirit of our patients we engage into a mutual agreement with compassion, dignity, human value and respect, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes or the nature of health problems.  As I treated Willie, we entered into that partnership together with compassion, dignity, human value and respect.  Willie taught me about the spirit of this agreement with his winning smile, his humility and his commitment to taking care of his body.  His gratitude, to not only our clinic and the services it provides, but to the Greatest Physician of all revealed his unassuming, contrite heart.

Our first encounter with a patient sets the journey not only for our patient but also for us as health care providers.  Willie is not a usual patient. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for Willie, especially when he can see all of our smiles at CMCC!

-Written by a volunteer at our Community Medical Care Center

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