Discussing theology with the pediatrician
We have a great pediatrician. I’m nearly certain he has ADD, but, really, that’s OK. He’s highly distractable, but also, he’s always singing and teasing the kids and being goofy, generally either a) putting them at complete ease with his cheerful demeanor, or b) freaking them out. Really, it depends on the kid’s personality.
He’s a great doctor — listens to the me, carefully considers my concerns and/or suggestions, and doesn’t go on an ego trip if I question him. He also takes his time with each patient, which typically means that there’s a long wait. That’s OK. I’d rather wait 30 minutes (sometimes longer) for a great interaction with a doctor, then have him/her be expressly on time, but get a cold reception from a rigid physician who exudes a “extremely more knowledgeable than thou” attitude.
The last couple of weeks have seen a bit of illness around here, so we’ve taken a couple of trips to see the pediatrician.
About two weeks ago, my 2yo daughter, Audrey, was diagnosed with strep throat. Well, actually, I thought that it was her ears. She’d been running a fever for nearly 3 days that was topping out in the high-103s. He looked in her ears and said, “Well, they’re clogged with wax balls. I can’t see through them. So, we can either flush them out, or scrape them out, which typically doesn’t go really well with a 2yo. Or, I can swab her throat and see if she has strep. Strep’s going around, and if it turns out to be that, she’ll go on antibiotics, and then it doesn’t really matter what’s going on in her ears.” It took me just a minute to digest the logic, but then, I agreed. Throat swab, strep throat.
Audrey’s naptime and nighttime routine involves being surrounded just so by a few of her “babies” — stuffed animals or dollies. She has to be covered up just so by two identical blankets (also covering up her babies). Then, she pokes her thumb into her mouth, grabs a blanket’s tag, closes her eyes, and says, “Pray for you?” And, I rest my hand on her chest and pray. Usually, she’s content with whatever I choose to pray about, though occasionally, she has requests. Right after her trip to the pediatrician, she’d say, “Pray for silly doctah.” She wanted me to pray for Dr. Berman.
Now, I’m aware that Dr. Berman is a practicing Jew, and didn’t really know what he’d think about a Christian family praying for him. But, I also knew that he’d been having some neck trouble, and fairly recently went through a divorce, so I thought that perhaps, Audrey was a little more tuned into the promptings from the Holy Spirit than I was, and that maybe he really needed some prayer. So, I prayed.
Each naptime, and each nighttime, Dr. Berman would get some prayer.
Then, a week later, I brought Ethan in to see him. Ethan, my nearly-11yo, had been running a fever for only 2 days, but his throat was sore — not a good sign with strep in the house. And, I’m particularly eager to nip in the bud any strep that might be circulating around his body, because of the post-strep arthritis he’s been dealing with for four years now. Or, is it five? So, I took Ethan in. Throat swab, no strep. That was good news.
As Dr. Berman was finishing with Ethan, I said to him, “I don’t know what you may think of this, but at our daughter Audrey’s promptings, we’ve been praying for you about twice a day for the last week.”
He was thrilled.
It led to a long — at least 15 minute — conversation about God, religion in general, various views on theology, Judaism, Christianity, and prayer. Ethan’s eyes kept flicking back and forth in a fair bit of amazement between Dr. Berman and myself. The conversation got quite personal, and Dr. Berman divulged some rather personal information, which he’d probably prefer I kept off of a public blog. I didn’t agree with everything view he held and conclusion he made; he’s Jewish, I’m Christian, and there are some basic disagreements there. But, there was a LOT that he said, with which I did agree. I didn’t think that that was the time to be debating our differences — Dr. Berman was very grateful for our prayers, believed strongly in the power of prayer, and in our mutual worship of the same God, and was very encouraged by our conversation.
I’m still not sure what to think of the whole thing. It still boggles my mind a bit that Audrey just insisted that we pray for “the silly doctah.” Maybe God just wanted to confirm His care for someone who really needs it. I’m very happy we were a part of it, and happy we got to encourage him by letting him know we’d been praying for him.