The Doc This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 13, 2012
When I was born I had congenital heart defects that have, over the years, required three open-heart surgeries and multiple hospital stays. Sadly, for many children hospitals are scary places full of strangers and pain. In my case, it was just the opposite.

I never feared the hospital. In fact, I looked forward to going. Part of these positive feelings toward hospitals may be because of my adventurous personality, though I doubt it. I know my views were positively affected by the people who always made me feel comfortable, no matter what my surroundings. They were a big part of my life and the heroes of a young girl.

One of these people who greatly affected my views of hospitals, and even life, is Dr. Mark Boucek. He was my cardiologist until I was eight years old. I can remember his kind and cheerful attitude that always brought a smile to my face. He went the extra mile to make me feel comfortable when I came to the hospital.

I remember one particular day vividly. The room was dim, but the Sesame Street wallpaper cheered up the sterile feel of the Intensive Care Unit. The room was silent, except for the constant beeping of patients’ heart monitors and a television far in the distance. The nurse brought my lunch, but it was difficult to eat with just my left hand. I kept fumbling with my silverware and she helped me get started. After I finished, I opened a can of orange soda. I wondered where my mom was, since she was usually around by now. I hoped she would come soon, since it was boring with no one to talk to.

Suddenly the heavy silence was broken when I heard laughing and talking in the hall. I wondered who it could be, but all my questions were answered as my cardiologist, Dr. Boucek, and a menagerie of others entered the ICU. I cheered up immediately when I saw him. He was the nicest man I knew and he was funny, too. Dr. Boucek carried a clipboard and wore a big grin.

“So, how’s my patient feeling today?” he asked, in an enthusiastic voice.

“Oh, I’m fine,” I replied and added, “but it’s hard for me to eat because my I.V. is on my right hand. I’m not used to using my left hand for this kind of stuff.”

“Well, that is too bad we put the I.V. in your right hand. Next time we’ll make sure we put it in your left,” he answered in a concerned tone. He then proceeded to check my charts and machines while he and the others consulted with my nurse. He asked me a few questions and I answered as best I could. Mostly, I smiled at all the attention I was receiving, as I fussed with my soda.

Just when I thought Dr. Boucek was leaving, he pulled a very large syringe from his coat pocket. I broke into a smile and tried to cover my face with my arms; this was one syringe I loved. As the menagerie headed out the door, Dr. Boucek lagged behind and took aim with the syringe. A jet of water squirted from the syringe, and hit me square in the face. I shook the water off and laughed as he gave a final wave and smile before he left.

At that moment I realized what a miracle worker Dr. Boucek was. Not only did he treat my physical injuries, but he made a seven-year-old feel perfectly at ease in a hospital ICU. I was hooked up to machines and couldn’t be moved from my bed, but when he was around, none of this mattered.

He always took the time to make me feel at ease. Although I only have a few memories of him because I was so young, the lessons I learned from these everyday situations stay with me. He taught me to laugh in many situations that seem somber and disappointing. I learned from him that if you take a little extra time to help someone, it can affect their life in some ways you could never guess. He showed me through his actions what it is like to be the everyday hero of a person who needed a little extra help.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Andy Boucek said...
Sept. 4, 2015 at 12:59 pm
That was my father
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