I heard a story once about an elderly man that lived by himself in a remote wooded area. He hunted for his food, and grew his own vegetables. Sam, as I remember they called him, did his own repairs on his cabin, and hadn’t wandered more than a mile in fifty years. Therefore, I need to clarify how old Sam was at the time to not leave in fifty years.
He was in his late 90’s and his body was racked with arthritis to the point that when he pointed at you, it wasn’t rude, because his finger went to the right. They would share meals with Sam which consisted of squirrel, fresh greens from his garden, and beer that he made himself. They would play cards until late into the night hearing stories of Sam’s encounter with the world, and his philosophies in living. In the center of his kitchen, there sat a large tree stump 4 foot wide and 4 foot high, and Sam used it as an island for cutting food and preparing meals. The one telling the story assured me that this kitchen island was just beautiful. It was sanded and had multiple clear coats of varnish. He asked Sam how & where he found such a beautiful piece. Sam explained that he cut it from a large tree that he had taken down for firewood. The story teller moved to the next obvious question in how that stump landed in Sam’s kitchen. It must had been 500 pounds.
Sam explained that his greatest possession and gift was time. He took a large lever and put the stump on it’s side, and then used that lever to roll it into his kitchen. Some days he had enough strength to go a couple hundred feet. Other days it was a roll and rest strategy. But Sam did it in a couple of weeks. They asked him how he moved it through the door, and he cackled as explained that he didn’t use the door. He dismantled the kitchen wall, and then rebuilt it when the stump was in place. At the end of the story I was asked, “Can you believe that he moved that by himself?”
Sam did it by himself, but he wasn’t alone. We can’t do things alone, and Sam had a lever, and tools, and time.
We have come to understand that we cannot do it alone either. We can help people with their hearing, balance, and tinnitus, but if they have a bad experience, they will tell people about us, and not in a good sense. We have come to understand that we are dependent on patients and their families to talk about us in an amazing way so that they send others. This practice has to create an obvious result. The patient has to have a great experience, they know someone else who needs help, therefore they send that someone so that they can have a great experience. Finally we need to thank the sender in a special way.
We have now entered into such a ‘Friends and Family Program’ that will begin to thank our patients for sending us others. We have come to recognize that effort deserves respect and gratitude. We understand that we can only do so much, and a satisfied word of a satisfied person to another’s ear is priceless.