Along Twin Ponds Road

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By Ray Willis

I couldn’t help but think that Santa Claus had just entered my mother-in-law’s room at the nursing home.

When Dr. Oliver walked through the doorway of the room he had a smile on his face and his eyes twinkled. My wife and I had just done our best to get her mother to smile. We were making our departure feeling frustrated and lost, as we so often do when we are unable to somehow manage to make her mother feel better.

Hugh “Whit” Whittington Oliver is our mother’s primary care doctor and has been for over 20 years. He has a way about him that always instantly brings relief to my wife and myself when we become frustrated with dealing with our mother.

His sense of timing is uncanny. He has the ability to appear when all hope seems lost. On this particular day, Dr. Oliver just appeared. It was late on a Sunday afternoon, and we were no sooner out the door when he arrived. His smile is contagious, and he just has the ability to set your mind at ease.

Instantly, he sat on the bed next to Judy’s mom, Flo. It didn’t matter what negative thought she may have had or how uncomfortable she may have been. She, too, smiled instantly.

At the onset of our loved one’s battle with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease we had to have her committed to the hospital. After some bizarre events during her short stay, Dr. Oliver appeared to relieve our burden, even after Flo had fired him. (She has “fired” him some half dozen times by now.)

When Dr. Oliver deals with my mother-in-law it is always mind-boggling for me.  He is always calm, never demeaning and his calmness rubs off on her.

My wife, Judy, had been a patient of Dr. Oliver almost 30 years ago when he first started practicing in Tallahassee. She just feels at the present time he has more than enough patients to deal with instead of taking her on again.

It’s not the first time I’ve written about my wife and I caring for her mother. It has become almost a full-time job, and as so many of you know, it is a thankless task.

I can recall another time during the holidays when our loved one required immediate medical attention. Dr. Oliver had been away for part of the weekend. On another late Sunday afternoon he suddenly appeared at the nursing facility to take care of our mother’s medical needs. At the same time he was taking care of our psychological needs.

How many doctors do you know in today’s world who still make house calls?  Dr. Oliver is the busiest doctor we know.  He is a family physician who also practices obstetrics and gynecology. I know we are not the only ones who love this man, not only as a caring, able physician, but as a compassionate human being.

I was taken with him the very first time I met him, and he introduced himself as Whit.  One can’t help but be moved by his kindness and gentleness.

Judy recalls more than one time he has spoken to her on her ride all the way to the hospital to help her mother, and to have Dr. Oliver there waiting for her at the hospital when she arrived. He did not send an assistant.

We’ve often wondered what kind of family life Dr. Oliver has. He is so dedicated to his practice one cannot help but wonder how he finds time for himself and family. On top of this he has to stay current with new medical knowledge.

I hope that you have had time to count your blessings lately, my friends, especially with the horror that has been going on in Haiti. Sometimes, I feel almost guilty having as many blessings as I receive on a daily basis in this world of ours. Hope you share the feeling.

God bless you.