For the last 19 months of her life, my sister’s family physician was Dr. Tim Lindsey of St. Francisville. Here’s what I wrote about him right after Ruthie died; excerpt:
My mother recounted for me the events of the morning Ruthie died at home. Mom got a call from Mike, who had been doing CPR on Ruthie until the paramedics got there, and she rushed home from the store. She said she arrived and saw Mike sitting on his front steps, his head in his hands; Ruthie’s body had just been taken away by ambulance, Mom said.
“And then” — she started to sob — “and then that wonderful, wonderful Lindsey man came … .” She couldn’t finish her sentence. There were no words. But I knew what she wanted to say.
Not all doctors are healers. This one is. When you see what can be done by physicians who approach their vocation as a work of love, it can change the way you see the world, and your place in it.
Tim and his wife Laura (pictured above with one of their children) were a huge part of the support team for Ruthie and her family throughout her illness. Still are. They’re a big part of The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming, too. Here’s an excerpt from the book interview I did with Tim:
I feel selfish saying I did anything for [the Leming family], because of what they did for me. To be able to witness her gracious handling of this disease. To live for each day. To love her children the way she did. To love Mike they way she did, and not to take on a self-pitying attitude, through the entire process — that was life-changing for me. Because of my dad’s death, I like to say that I live for the day, because you know, anything can change. But I looked at it as an honor and a privilege to spend time with them, because of what I got. It was too easy to serve them. It was something you looked forward to. You wanted, you hoped, you wished you could make it better. You saw how sick she was, and how she handled it with such grace, because of those babies. You thought: what can I do to get her better? Knowing at the diagnosis that I didn’t think she’d be with us six months. But it’s just — the way she responded just empowered you to say what do you need? I’m not going to tell you every patient’s easy. It’s not. I’m a human, and there are tough patients. This, with Ruthie, was not work. You could ask me to do anything for them, and I would jump through a wall for this family. And that didn’t come from Tim Lindsey.
I’ll be on stage this Saturday talking to Tim about his walk with Ruthie and her family through cancer. If you’re in the St. Francisville area, please come join us. It’s a fundraiser for Friends Of The Library, from 2 to 4 pm, at the West Feliciana High School auditorium, on Highway 61, just north of town. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. It’ll be a special time, and as far as I know the only time we’ll do something like this. A physician once said to me that Tim makes him proud to be a fellow doctor. Come to St. Francisville this weekend and meet him.
The sequel to this book ought to be The Little Way Of Tim Lindsey. Ruthie couldn’t have found a better doctor or friend.