Friday, August 25, 2017 at 07:04PM


Whenever I move to a new place there are certain things that must happen to feel settled.  I like a library card.  I like to find a good grocery store (or as they say in Southern California “market.”)  And I need to have a primary care physician (or as I used to say in the olden days “family doctor.”)   

When we arrived in Pomona the first two were easy.  I got the card because one of our librarians had a card waiting for me.  I found a grocery store which had occasional free samples which made me very happy.  And the physician we were assigned was a wonderful woman who would take care of all three of us:  me, my husband Paul and even 3 year old Teddy..  Everybody liked her, and Paul had no problem seeing a woman—although he did wonder who would be doing his prostate exam.  One look from me, and he stopped wondering.

But she moved after a few years and went back east to be near family.  Our next doctor we liked too, but he was getting ready to retire and indeed, after a few more years he did retire.

So we ended up being among the first patients of a brand new doctor.

We all liked him immediately.  He was funny, and nice and liked us back.  He was a Clippers fan which was unusual because the Clippers then were so awful that seats were cheap and we Binghams had been able to buy a mini package for 10 games (admittedly in the very very top row).

Over the years that doctor of ours saw us through any number of illnesses and accidents.  And although we usually had a long sit in the waiting room (even with an appointment) it didn’t matter.  He spent so much time with us that we understood that he did the same for everyone and so he was, often, running late.

When our baseball playing son Teddy came home from practice with a huge bump from on his finger his senior year in high school, our doctor saw us not just that day but literally that hour.  He sent us immediately to a specialist.  He kept his office open late so he could connect us with the residents who could get Teddy admitted that night.  MRSA infections are very serious and if not taken care of immediately his infection could have ended our shortstop’s playing career.  Then, seeing the panic in our faces,  dear doctor  gave us his cell phone number with permission to call any time day or night.

And so it continued until things got really tough.

I still can’t find the words to express how wonderful our doctor was when Paul was diagnosed with leukemia.   The two had developed an incredible bond and the doctor would visit outside of his professional time.  They would would talk and laugh and pray. Paul was hospitalized for over 60 days so they saw a lot of each other.

When I stopped by one night on my way to emcee a charity auction I could tell that there had been some calming taking place.  Paul was not thrilled that I was choosing going to the auction instead of spending the evening with him.  But after the doctor led us in prayer all was well.  As I was leaving he  turned to me and said “I look forward to the day when you and Paul and I are having a wonderful conversation in heaven in the presence of our Lord.”  I smiled gratefully and went on.

But an hour later as I sat down at my table for dinner I started to laugh.  I laughed and I laughed and I laughed.  My table mates, knowing how ill Paul was, weren’t sure what could possibly make me laugh.  I looked at them and said, “My doctor just said he was looking forward to seeing me in heaven. Should I be worried?”.

His care and attention continued for all three of us. When Paul was in remission we made plans to visit his church til my schedule changed and made it impossible.  The devotional book he recommended for Paul is still on my bedside table.  He was the only one I dared share tears with.   Although I had avoided doctor visits and weigh-ins for years I finally made an appointment just because I knew he was someone watching out for me.

I haven’t missed a yearly physical since.  And the appointments are long and filled with laughter and memory and very good and forthright medical advice.  We don’t always agree on what I should be doing or not doing, but this year I am giving his recommendation a try.  I'll take that medicine for a few months and see what it does and then we'll talk. I actually look forward to my doctor visits now, so much so that he and I even appeared in a skit together at our hospital. I have to say, we were Oscar quality performers.

Today, though, may have been the greatest day of all.  I went in for a routine inoculation and we talked about the state of the world.  We talked about our churches and the joys and struggles of being faithful in these days. I admitted I still loved being a minister as tough as it often is.  Then I shared some things I was doing and saying and writing.  He looked me straight in the eye and in that look he saw my dream and captured my dream told me to go for my dream. 

And I will. 

So thank you my dear dear doctor.  I won’t write your name.  I want to protect your privacy, of course.  But I also hope that everyone can have  the same kind of care that I have.

Because, isn’t it  just what the doctor ordered? 

No, I think more likely

It is just what God ordered.

Praise be to God!





Article originally appeared on Pilgrim Church Pomona (
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