An Open Heart
My aunt Edith was a widow of 50, working as a secretary, when doctors discovered what was then thought to be a very serious heart ailment.
Aunt Edith doesn't accept defeat easily. She began studying medical reports in the library and found an article in a magazine about a well-known heart surgeon, Dr. Michael DeBakey, of Houston, Texas. HE had saved the life of someone with the same ailment. The article said Dr. DeBakey's fees were very high; Aunt Edith couldn't possibly pay them. But could he tell her of someone whose fee she could pay?
So Aunt Edith wrote to him. She simply listed her reasons for wanting live: her three children, who would be on their own in three or four more years, her little-girl dream of traveling and seeing the world. There wasn't a word of self-pity -- only warmth and humor and the joy of living. She mailed the letter, not really expecting an answer.
A few days later, my doorbell rang. Aunt Edith didn't wait to come in; she stood in the hall and read aloud: "Your beautiful letter moved me very deeply. If you can come to Houston, there will be no charge for either the hospital or the operation. Signed -- Michael DeBakey."
That was seven years ago. Since then, Aunt Edith has been around the world. Her three children are happily married. For her age, she is one of the youngest, most alive people I know -- all because of an open heart surgeon who knew how to honor of his profession, and how to open his own heart.