Bryson City Seasons — Doctor Dad (Part 3)

This is from the twenty-sixth chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City TalesI hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.


Ifelt someone nudge me from my nap. “Walt, it’s Dr. Fitch!” I heard Barb say. I was sitting up and fully awake instantly.

“The surgery went very well,” he said calmly as he sat on Kate’s bed. “I couldn’t be happier. Dr. Brown did a great job with the anesthesia. We only had to do five tendon-lengthening procedures in her foot, ankle, and around the knee. They all turned out as well as I could have hoped for. I’ve put her in a long-leg cast, and she’ll be in the recovery room very soon. As soon as she’s stable there, one of you will be able to be with her. When she’s awake and alert, she’ll be brought back to this room. If all goes well, and I don’t see any reason it shouldn’t, she should be ready to go home in a few days.”

Before we could respond or even say thanks, he was gone. We were left alone. Before we knew it, we had collapsed into each other’s arms and melted into sobs of joy and thanksgiving.

Barb left with the nurse to check on Kate. I tried to read but couldn’t. I prayed for a bit. I wandered the halls. I pondered the fact that being a patient—or the parent of a patient—was incredibly more difficult than being the doctor of one.

I finally came back to Kate’s room, closed the door, and sat by the window, staring out over the trees around the hospital. I bowed my head in prayer and thanked my Father in heaven for protecting our child. I also thanked him for the deep and profound lessons I was learning—as a dad and as a doctor.


I was startled back to reality by a knock on the door, followed by a flurry of activity. Kate had arrived and was transferred to her bed. When the gurney was gone, Kate’s nurse saw to it that she was comfortable and stable and then left us alone.

As I looked down at Kate, she looked like a little angel. She was sleeping soundly. Barb and I stood silently, arm in arm. My little girl was back, and she was all right. I was flooded with gratitude and thankfulness.

Kate would leave the hospital healthier and with a brighter future. It was likely that her walking would improve and that one day she might even run. Not bad, I thought, for a little girl who never was supposed to talk or walk.

But I would also leave this hospital changed—with a new view of what it means to be a parent and a physician.

I could feel the tears streaking down my cheeks again. This experience had had a powerful impact on me. Seeing this through both the eyes of the patient and the eyes of a parent would forever change me. I knew I would be empathetic with my patients and their loved ones in an entirely new way.

And somehow I suspected that the comfort with which I had been comforted would serve as a foundation from which I could, hopefully, become a doctor who would be able to cure only once in a while but one who could always dispense hope and comfort.

It was for me a remarkable realization—that caring for patients medically involves, first and foremost, a great deal of simple and genuine caring.


A few days later, we arrived in Kate’s room to find her fully awake, dressed, and smiling. Her left leg, encased in a full cast, was covered by the sheets.

“Let’s go home!” she exclaimed as we entered. Her little suitcase was packed and ready to go.

A nurse came into the room with a wheelchair. She shared with us Dr. Fitch’s instructions. He was in surgery and wouldn’t be able to see us before we left. But we knew we’d see him in just a few weeks.

When it was time, I lifted Kate into the wheelchair. She looked at me and asked, “Dad, can Scoot carry my backpack for me?”

I nodded and turned to Scott to explain to him that his sister was going to need special care for the immediate future and that we were all going to have to chip in.

As I handed Scott the small backpack, he grimaced and asked, “How long?”

Kate looked over at him, smiled the prettiest of her smiles, and predicted, “The rest of your life.”

As we walked behind Kate toward the nurses’ station, Barb commented, “I think Kate just gave Scott one of his first lessons about the women in a man’s life.”

I chuckled as she squeezed my arm.

We stopped at the nurses’ station, and there were hugs and good-byes all around.

Then, before we knew it, we were in the car and heading home.

On the long drive home we talked and sang. And at times we just sat in silence. I was happy to have my little girl with me. She was all right. And we were going home.


  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  31. The Initiation (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  32. Home at Last (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

This entry was posted in General Health. Bookmark the permalink.