The Footsteps That Paved My Path – Footstep 5

When my son was three he used to get sick a lot. Inquiring about trustworthy otolaryngologists one of my friends recommended me one. Reading the application I had filled at his clinic he lifted his head and asked me if I was the daughter of Dr. Abdel Azim Rifaat; the surgeon. Confirming being his daughter he put the papers aside, rested his back and took off his eye glasses. He seemed time traveling and went on: “I was a trainee with your father at the beginning of my career. With the Great Bairam approaching I asked him about the days we will be taking off. He answered me back in a sarcastic voice asking me what would I do on my days off; blowing balloons or riding swings.” I didn’t know how to respond to the doctor’s memory and couldn’t figure out what he intended by sharing it. Luckily he put on his glasses and shifted his attention to my son, never opening this subject again. 
Telling this incident to my mother she shared her side of the story: “I was a newly married bride. It was the feast and we were invited for lunch at my grandfather’s house. Your dad told me to wait for him till he returns from the hospital. When I objected him working even on feasts he insisted, explaining that especially on feasts the patients would be left alone with no medical assistance and he wouldn’t risk anyone’s life to have a lunch or celebrate a feast.” 
This was one on my father’s deep footsteps that was carved on my path, unfortunately after he passed away. Both the doctor and my mother shared this after he died. And though I had known him as a devoted surgeon, the puzzle of the legacy he had left was never complete till my mother put the last piece with her story. I no wonder why his clinic was filled with poems written by his patients and why they adored him. It takes one person to rescue a life, to create a ripple, to lead a movement, to inspire a nation.


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