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My Hero

October 21, 2011

My kid is now attending public school. It’s a change, but a good one, and one of the things we’re getting used to is participating in all of the institutional stuff that the Powers That Be deem important. Specifically, I’m talking about D.A.R.E. Next week is Drug Free Schools Week. Now, I’m all about drug-free schools. I do question the effectiveness of D.A.R.E but that probably has to do with a distaste for the whole “Just Say No” mentality that I was already mocking in my youth, when Nancy Reagan first introduced that band-aid approach to the greatest public health menace facing our society. And so I’ll let my kid participate, and I’ll talk with her about what addiction is, and what it is not, and anyway, it’ll be fun. I’m always in favor of fun.

The culmination of the week is “Hero Day” in which kids come to school dressed up as their personal hero, a woman or man who best exemplifies the school’s seven habits of highly effective students. So far, so good.

Yesterday, my kid told me that she wanted to dress up as the doctor, my doctor, who discovered the cure for my particular kind of cancer.

So far so great.

We had some discussion about how best to carry off the costume. The radiation oncologist who figured out how to cure breast cancer that has metastasized to the fixed lymph nodes above the collar bone is an African-American man, and he’s pretty average in size. We decided that she would just wear a doctor costume with a name tag that said Dr. George Perkins, Radiation Oncologist — because what’s important about him in terms of his work is just that — his work — so a skinny white girl dressing up as a big black guy shouldn’t even be part of the equation (whew).

There’s a whole lotta good stuff in that story, but the best part of it is that she knows exactly where to place the credit for my survival. She doesn’t talk about it. She doesn’t ask about it. But then it bubbles up.

I swear I’m gonna take a picture of her and send it to my doctor so he knows exactly how much he means to our family. Treating cancer is one of the hardest jobs there is. But people tell me it’s worth it.

I’m kinda proud of my kid right now.

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  1. Laura permalink

    Hurray for your daughter. And I think Dr George will be quite touched when he gets her hero photo.

  2. Abigail Carlton permalink

    You should. He may love it; to know exactly what he has done and what his work means. He may not care, he may do it for the science and the challenge. Whatever, it’s good. Either way, you will have done a nice thing and your daughter will have a real way to express her gratitude and thanks, and encouraging that is generally worthwhile.
    But that’s just me, today.
    And now I’m wondering if I should thank the person who invented CAT scans, or the ones who invented clotting drugs, or the ones who decided to give them to aneurysm patients. I did thank the ER doc.

    • He cares deeply.

      I’ve seen his wall of survivors.

      He talks about receiving wedding photos with the surviving mom.

      I’ve seen his sadness coming in late from a prior appointment where he had to inform a patient about a recurrence.

      He’s the best with the science and challenge, but he does it for the patients.

      He’s my hero too.

  3. Barbara Marshall permalink

    Your daughter is amazing and the fact that she gives your doctor credit for helping her Mommy get well speaks volumes. I love her!! I know he would love to see that his work makes a difference in a child’s life. PLEASE let him know!!

  4. Kay permalink

    What a wonderful physician, and what a great tribute to him.

    The non-evidence-based nature of D.A.R.E. bothers me. In our locality, it has been replaced by a similar program with a different name, and no more evidence. The real value in it seems to be the opportunity for a police officer to make a positive connection with children in the community–and our city police force is great, so that is a real benefit. The downside of taking instructional time away and spending it on what struck me as a lot of faux self-esteem-building activities of questionable efficacy is not a small thing, at least not in my children’s classrooms where many of the children are at risk of being academically behind when they get to middle school. Accordingly, we opted our child out of the program, which was utterly shocking to the school staff. I don’t think there is a “right” way to approach it, and I hope your daughter’s experience with D.A.R.E. is a good one. We are big fans of public schools, which have given our children experiences of community-building and citizenship we never could have provided in any other way.

  5. Polly permalink

    He’s my hero too! He saved my daughter. I thank God for him.

  6. Your Kid; My Hero-ine !!

    I have a couple of (short–long on her) white lab coats, and she certainly could borrow one of them for her doctor characterization. The doctor’s name could be printed in BOLD on a piece of tape on the left side of the jacket. Also have a stethoscope to drape over her neck, if you need it. As for the color–it’s cool to ignore the difference and be the color she is. js

  7. Peter Schaar permalink

    I’m prettry proud of your kid, too!

  8. Robin Scudder permalink

    I didn’t even know you had a blog until today. And then I was reminded of how amazing you are and how, still, even though I know I am older than you are, I want to be like you when I grow up….

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