Once Upon A Time: The Doctor

"Old age (?)" - Unknown Painter from...
“Old age (?)” – Unknown Painter from the Low Countries (16th century) (Photo credit: Tilemahos Efthimiadis)

One upon a time there was a doctor. He lived between two houses, one was an elderly man who would never go and see him, and the other was an elderly woman who wanted to see him every day. The doctor would look out the window and see the elderly man struggling along the sidewalk, but could do nothing for him. Then he would sit in the room with the elderly woman and listen to her, but realize that he really could do nothing for loneliness.
At last the doctor came upon an idea. He told the old woman that what she needed to do was walk every day, around 10:17 am, to improve her health. The doctor knew this was when the elderly man went for his walks.
Nothing changed for the first few weeks, but the doctor could see the elderly woman walking alongside the elderly man and chatting with him.

Then finally came the day that the elderly man came in for an appointment with the elderly woman. He was just there to listen, and didn’t want anything. But the doctor discussed what to do for pain and how to help joints. The elderly woman took copious notes and the next day the doctor was rewarded with the sight of the elderly woman walking alongside the elderly man with a grocery bag full of something.
In the next few weeks nothing happened, but it seemed that the elderly man was walking easier. Then he came in for a visit, just him, and the doctor tried to help him out. Turned out that the elderly man wanted to mostly talk about the elderly woman. He’d had his pain for decades but his concern was how the pain would affect him in the future.
The doctor talked to him about what might help, but the elderly man left reassured that his pain was not likely to increase much since he was already in agony.
The two of them got married, and the doctor saw almost nothing of either one of them for a long while. Then the old man died and the doctor saw the elderly woman on his schedule again. He asked her if she regretted marrying the old man, and she laughed at him. “These have been the best years of my life.” She told the doctor. “He was so kind, so gentle, such a good soul. I don’t regret a minute of it.” The elderly woman began volunteering for others worse off than herself, and the doctor saw much less of her than he had before.
Moral: Only sometimes does doctoring require pills.

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