You're No Doctor....You're a Magician!
The Story of Charles Dell and Dr. Micheil Hanczaryk
My patient, Charlie Dell, once told me to my face, "You're no Doctor!". You can imagine how unnerving that was, indeed his words shocked me. This is his story...
Over the last 12 years I have treated Charles Dell for various ailments. He was always a happy soul no matter how much pain he was in. During World War II, Charlie was the middle weight boxing champion of the Pacific. Instead of fighting on the front, he fought in the ring. So, each time I would enter the treatment room, Charlie quickly got to his feet, started the boxing footwork and pretended he was sparring with me. It was just part of his personality; he would in a friendly/playful way challenge you to, "Put 'em up doc...let's go a few rounds."
Charlie eventually discontinued care and I lost touch with him. Then one day, a few years down the road, I observed this feeble person coming down the hall - unshaven, unkempt, just barely standing with the aid of a walker. It was Charlie Dell! Half in tears, Charlie told me that his pain was almost unbearable and his family wanted to place him into assisted living. This really upset Charlie, "Perhaps it's my time to go, doc," he said, "but I thought I would give you one last try. You're my only hope." Talk about a humbling experience!
I began treating Charlie, and after a few visits instead of leaning on the walker, he would push it as if to get it out of his way. Next came the cane, and then walking unassisted. You know, no one can pay you enough money to feel what I was feeling for this man's progress.
One day when I opened the door to the treatment room, the unexpected happened. Charlie jumped to his feet, but instead of dancing and sparring with me, he walked up to me with a stern and serious look on his face. He got right into my face, and with no warning, he grabbed me by the tie and said "You're no doctor!" Well, I didn't have time to take it all in; I was in shock. I thought he was doing great. Charlie continued, "You're no doctor.....you're a magician! While the others were trying to end my life, you gave me hope; you returned my life back to me. I won't have to move into that old age home, I can take care of myself."
Early in my career a mentor and dear friend shared something so profound that it changed me and my practice from that day on. He said, "Micheil, the two highest callings in life are saving souls and savings lives. Saving of lives is what we chiropractors do." The impact of his words were profound on my practice. I soon realized that for every pain, there was also a life that was being compromised. Not only was there physical pain, but mental despair as well.