My encounter with J last Tuesday

My encounter with J last Tuesday had an impact on me.
How?
I cannot yet say.

I spent many hours of my past working weeks in the field, in primary healthcare centres in “vulnerable” areas in Stockholm. These parts of the city are considered vulnerable because the inhabitants generally have lower levels in education and income, and maybe a migration background – all of which health is closely related to.

Our study is about a new method in health promotion that we hope can reach those most in need. So, what I’m doing is that I’m interviewing healthcare personnel and patients to find out if they think our idea will be useful – or not.

I had never met J before. I got the opportunity to interview her – even though, by that time, I already felt that probably nothing new would come out of yet another interview.

J is a doctor. She was sitting in the kitchen during coffee break: A short lady with dyed black hair in a ponytail, and a golden necklace. She welcomed me with a friendly smile and literally took me by the hand to join her to her office. Her hand was nicely warm while I was freezing. She checked her schedule on the computer and said we could talk during lunch.

I ate a bit earlier to be able to focus only on her. Just before 12 o’clock, J passed by my room. While waving to me, she rushed to the supermarket. She came back with two bananas – one for me and one for herself. So nice of her, I thought. Then she picked up her homemade lunch from the kitchen: Lovingly prepared filled vine leaves, which smelled just amazingly delicious. J hurried back to the kitchen one more time – she got a fork for me to try her food. Wow!

She brought fresh vine leaves when she went to visit her brother in Iraq last week, she told me, her home country. Her mother lives close to the healthcare centre, she said. Sometimes they have lunch together. We talked for a little while.

Many doctors had told me they didn’t have time to talk to their patients about their health – instead they were focusing on their illnesses. (This is supposed to be a healthcare system, or?!) J had a smile on her face during the whole time we shared that day. Besides being a wonderfully friendly person, she was smart and what she said made clear that she was really caring about her patients’ health

I’m thankful I got to meet J. The world needs more Js. She made my day.
Maybe she brought me closer to finding out what really makes me tick.

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