Sunday, January 11, 2015
"it's been quite the ride. you are one precious little lady"
"it is time" - rafiki to simba in the lion king.
this is a story about a guy with silver hair and glasses.
a little less than two months ago i was sitting in the kitchen with my best friend since kindergarten. her name is elly. i have spoke of her often here. she has walked with me through everything. sat by my side in the hospital. prayed me through the toughest days. showed up with ice cream on days when my heart just hurt and so much more. they say every brunette needs a blonde best friend and i am so thankful to have found mine.
anyways. we were just hanging out and i decided to go get the mail. as i flipped through the envelopes one caught my eye and immediately my heart sunk. i knew exactly who it was from. and i knew exactly what it held inside. i opened it up & as i began to read the words outloud to her tears filled my eyes. i don't know how i got through the letter without having a full on meltdown. elly just sat and listened. not once asking why i was reading it outloud or why it was a big deal. because she knew.
the words that were written on the piece of paper were from someone else that has walked with me through everything. someone else i am incredibly thankful for. but in so many different ways. his name is Dr. Johnson. or "Dr. J" as we often refer to him in the taylor house. if you don't know that we give just about everyone nicknames you just haven't been around us long enough. his opening remarks were beautifully written.
he wrote that in the lion king rafiki tells simba that "it is time" & that now "it is time" for him to retire from pediatric medicine.
[ i know what you must be thinking...you still see a pediatrician?
yes people. if you saw my chart you'd understand...and also if you knew him you'd understand even more. he is literally one in a million. i've never met a doctor like him. ]
as i read the first lines i knew exactly what the rest of the letter would hold. my first instinct had been right. he was saying goodbye. letting me know that he'd be retiring and i'd need to find a new doctor. as i read memories flooded my mind as tears flooded my eyes. because the guy who cared for me my whole life and walked with us through unimaginable circumstances wouldn't be a part of my life anymore.
i called mama and daddy to let them know. she promised we'd write letters and go say a proper goodbye. i couldn't wrap my mind around it.
i still haven't.
that night i went to church with two of my best friends since kindergarten (Elly and Erin) & then my best friend since i was 2 Ana got engaged. as you can imagine by the end of the night i was a mess. i layed in bed that night & cried. i was beyond overwhelmed.
i've never been one thats good with change.
i'm a total free spirit. i think it scares mom and dad. i don't want to do what everyone else is doing. as i look into my closet i literally can't find a plain white shirt. everything has a pattern. my room is bold and full of prints. nothing is plain in my life. i like doing things my way. and i usually learn lessons the hard way.
but i hate change. i don't like when people move away. i don't like when friendships end. i love weddings but i hate them at the same time because i know that as soon as those two are married my friendship with that person will change. it always has. some have ended. i hate change. i don't like when plans change. i don't like when people change. i just hate it.
[ i imagine i wouldn't have been a very good mary. an angel coming down and saying i was pregnant. i would have been like "no thanks. i'm good. i rather not." i also probably would have fainted. i do that too. mary was probably freaking out. but she asked questions in a calm manner. i would have been like "WHAT IN THE WORLD. I'M PREGNANT!? BUT I DIDN'T. BUT YOU HAVE THE WRONG GIRL. NOPE. I WON'T DO IT. I DON'T WANT TO HAVE A KID RIGHT NOW!" but mary - she dealt with it. she handled the change well. ]
and this...this letter i was reading...it was change.
it was goodbye.
i hate those.
also:: i promise this is not a eulogy. i just have to write to process things you guys.
[ let me tell you a little bit about the guy i'm writing about. dr. j as we call him. my family has known him for almost 34 years. so way before i was born. or as mom and dad say - before i was a glimmer in their eye. but i've known him for 23 years. because. well. thats how long i've been alive.]
i have many great memories with him. and many not so great. he was there through the good and the bad.
i'm really good at making lists and putting things into categories. i wish there was a job for that. anyways. i've been trying to come up with some method to tell you all my favorite things about him and some of my favorite memories. but i couldn't. so i just am going to write.
disclaimer:: i ended up with 23 things. you know for 23 years. i told you. i love lists.
[ please keep reading...]
1. i think one of my first memories of him was about 19 years ago. i was getting shots before preschool. of couse i wasn't too excited about that. well...he drew my face on my band-aid complete with curly hair and glasses. just to cheer me up. i know. it sounds silly. but hey i'm 23 and still remember it like it was yesterday.
2. there were many times when i would sit in his office with mama or dad and he would just ramble on. about where he went on vacation or this time 15 years ago where he did this awesome thing. he always had a story. i think he talked so i could keep my mind off of what was actually going on.
3. once when i was on steroids after my brain surgery he told me that i should stop eating so many bagels. hahaha. no really. thankfully i took no offense.
4. i remember when i was 5 i got the stomach flu really bad. i have some weird memory of having on candy cane pajamas and mmama told me i had to change so we could go to the emergency room and i sobbed. but the guy with silver hair met as at the emergency room. i think. mama - if i'm wrong on this i'm sorry. but i remember him being there. or coming to visit during that hospital stay
5. he was always asking me if i shrunk. especially while i was on growth hormones. he knew it agitated me.
6. last summer i asked him when he was going to kick me out...because i was a 23 year old going to a pediatrician...he told me that when he left i left...i never imagined that day would be less than 6 months later.
7. i went to him the day before i was diagnosed with my brain tumor. mom knew something wasn't right. i think he did too. he did a physical on me. checked my blood pressure. said i might have had a food allergy. but i think he knew something much worse was wrong because he scheduled me a cat scan.
8. his office used to have these notes on the blinds that said "don't touch the blinds" so of course i always touched them. and then because i felt guilty i'd always tell him. and i would say "if it didn't say don't touch i would have never wanted to" one day i walked in and the notes were gone. shelby - 1 ... blinds - 0.
9. his handwriting was so awful. by awful i mean the worst ever. in the history of the world. i have no idea how anyone ever read it. but his signature was perfect.
10. his middle name is lane. [ if this confuses you. you don't know me well. i am obsessed with people having great middle names. ]
11. he was my doctor for 23 years. and we traveled together to 3 different offices. and 3 is my favorite number so this seemed fitting.
12. every time i told him i wanted to write a book or that i blogged he'd say "but the real question is...are you a good writer?" ... yes dr. j. and then he'd say "how can you be sure?"
13. he once told me "you could get an award for the amount of times you've had strep throat and the fact that you still don't need your tonsils out."
14. often when he'd walk into the room he'd say "you missed me too much huh?"
15. i remember his voice very vividly on the phone with mama the day i found out i had a brain tumor. "theres too much fluid on her brain. the cat scan can't see much else. we're gunna do a MRI" - breaking hearts.
16. there were many times i would have to pee in a cup. well i would tell him every single time "dr. johnson i can't just pee on demand." last year i went to him and the nurse brought in a cup so i could go pee and he said "she can't pee on demand" it was SO FUNNY. and so true.
17. after my brain surgery he showed up to the hospital with a picture of a squirrel. he told me he took it himself. that picture is framed in my room.
18. when i turned 18 i asked him if i had to find a new doctor. he said "if you won't tell...neither will i." so i didn't. and now i'm 23 and have to find a new one.
19. the last day i saw him he apologized for not being in the waiting room during my brain surgery. i said it was alright and i didn't even know. he told me he was on vacation during it. i laughed.
20. he would tell me he liked my triangle glasses. i'd tell him "they are diamonds!" and he would just laugh
21. he recently told me "when you get your new doctor tell them you are going to be the easiest patient ever and that you have a short history and have never been complicated...and then we'll send over this!" - as he held up my chart that probably weighs 10 pounds and said "they will love that."
22. he never made me feel like i was different or weird or like me being chronically sick was a big deal. there were many days spent in his waiting room and office instead of at school. but he never made it seem like a big deal. i think that helped me a lot. because it was never easy. but he just made it feel normal. always talked to mom and dad like they were old friends. always asked about school and my friends and jordyn and seth. he always took my mind off the reality at hand. and never made anything more of a deal then it needed to be. he'd tell me what was wrong. tell me how many days of school i had to miss. give me medicine or decide to hold off that time and send me on my way. we never dwelled on the fact that it may have been the 4th time that month i was there or the fact that i was back two days later with more symptoms and a spiked temperature. what was - was. we tackled what we were dealt. he was very good at that.
and my favorite moment.
23. the last day i saw him was a chilly december day. i went in not feeling well. and came out with a prescription because i had bronchitis, laryngitis and a sinus infection. he told me i was "going out with a bang" ... then he stood up and hugged me goodbye.
and said "it's been quite the ride...you are one precious little lady."
i cried most of the way home.
thankful that he took such good care of me for my whole life so far.
i'll miss him.
i can't wait to invite him to my wedding one day.
[ if you read all of this - i love you. ]
Blessed by a heavenly Daddy,