Dr. Palmer, A Man of
Oklahoma City, the
capital, was a musty old town settled in and around the 1890's. An air
of a new beginning of prosperity was upon the place because wide
highways were being built and it was easy to navigate through the
different sectors of the sprawling city which had the land area equal to
the city of Los Angeles. At this time it was 1960. Before all the crisp,
new, renovations were made in old Bricktown.
Rod's mom found a doctor
whose practice was in a home which looked more like a residence than an
office. Outside, the architecture was red brick and must have been taken
from an English Tudor style with a decorative-half-timbering, steeply
pitched roof, prominent cross gables and tall, narrow windows which
caused the interior to be dark.
Small lamps for
illumination were used inside this waiting room with polished old wood,
bookshelves, overstuffed dark leather furniture and these softly lit
amber lamps gave a masculine decor. All was in agreement with the
elegant, rich, royal feel thre but, in a tiny small way. I felt
comfortable as if close to the warmth and care taken for the decorations
in the houses where I grew up. The rich browns, tans and golds blended
together to create comfort.
Dr. Palmer quietly walked
out to where we were sitting, rather than having us enter a waiting room
to speak with him. He was a gentle, kindly man and from his appearance
it seemed to me he deserved this tinge of royalty in his surroundings.
The things he said and did that day would be like a storehouse of wisdom
to guide and direct us through any other less than astute observations.
He was now directing his attention to Rhonda.
“My! My! What a lovely
little Miss' you are. Aren't you beautiful with all your ruffles on this
very pink dress?” He was coaxing the child up into his arms. “We'll just
do an x-ray of her wrist and we will be back in a little bit, Mom.”
After some more waiting
the doctor returned with Rhonda's x-rays and said, “I’ll show you the
pictures here in some of my books on these shelves behind us." He was
flipping easily through the pages of a heavy looking volume as if he had
done this many times before."
“I want you to see the
x-rays of different children at various ages and with varying degrees of
brain damage. You see, the wrist tells the story. The level of a
development of the bones show us how the brain in functioning and we can
be relatively certain of the trauma involved."
"Now, after you have
looked at these x-rays let's compare them to your own daughter's. The
bones of her wrist are relatively well on their way to maturing. Still,
she isn't sitting alone or holding her head up. This tells me, probably,
the part of her brain that is injured is that which controls her motor
functions. Her intelligence and learning ability will not be affected. I
will not tell you that she will never walk. However, if she does walk it
will be very late.”
There was a quiet dignity
all about this gentle man. He was in his late seventies and there was
something almost mysterious about him. It was as if a younger, slender
man was somehow trapped within his aging body but; nevertheless, he
spoke with courage and will. I couldn't explain it or understand totally
what it was I was feeling. My youth at the time didn’t allow for
perceiving circumstances surrounding a person’s impending death due to
the ending of a cycle in life and living. Experience and knowledge gave
This may have been part
of why the man had a greater amount of empathy for us. His assurances
rested on me like a calmness to settle on water after the wind abates. I
felt a new unity of mind and purpose with someone who, indeed, held high
intelligence. He gave me enough hope so that my grieving sorrow could,
for the first time, fall away from me. Many a time there would be
treading, in a meaninglessly, meandering through hopelessness and
sadness, but then, my mind always came back to this quiet place and to
the gentle words of a merciful, compassionate, aging man, who happened
to be a physician.
More than once, these
moments here gave me the will to continue to do all that had to be done,
thus, overlooking and not worrying about what could not be done for my