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Normally, for Christmas, I'm in the habit of giving to Heifer International for charity. I donate in the name of my friends and family. Last year, Arno joined me in donating to Heifer, and with our joined donations, we purchased (the amount for) a water buffalo. This year, Heifer got put aside, and we donated to a cause a little closer to home.

Dr. Poore, my doctor from when I was little--from delivery to until I was about 5 or 6--moved back to Flagstaff and with his wife, who is a nurse, started a free clinic for the people the system lets fall through the cracks: people who Medicare won't cover, and who aren't able to pay for insurance otherwise. They are using donated funds and equipment, and donated shifts by other doctors.

A unique part of what Dr Poore is doing is using old-but-still-good equipment. They are using a baby-scale from 1965, for instance. It's a frugality that the rest of the medical system seems to have passed by, always spending the big bucks on the newest, latest and greatest technology at the expense of the patient... Big bucks go to paying for a new method that's a little bit better than the previous version... sonogram machines, digital imagers, MRI's... and part of the mentality is, in the medical field, you always have to keep abreast of the newest and best technology, because what if that extra 2% could make the difference between detecting cancer while it's treatable or missing it? (We recently had a similar experience with Arno's family dentist, who also still uses old equipment... but more about THAT next post.)

It was Arno's suggestion to donate to the Poore Clinic, after I happened to show him a video from the Daily Sun about my first doctor and following him in the news. We were, unfortunately, a bit late getting on it (when are we not?) and ended up just leaving $100 cash in an envelope with my mom to take over on our behalf. Also a pity, because I would have had a chance to have chatted the doc up a bit about his hilarious memoir. Regardless of that, we received a hand-written letter from Dr Poore, thanking us for our donation, adding in a PS, that "this doesn't start to cover the damage done by a little rascal named Christy!" Arno felt obliged to write a letter back (I'll let him tell about that), though the day after we mailed it, I received a package from my mom containing Dr Poore's second book of memoirs! They must have just crossed in the mail! I'm busy reading it now, and wondering if, when I'm the age for writing such things, they'd still be worth writing? And then, we have blogs for that nowadays...

Anyhow... This was our donation in the name of friends and family this year, a little closer to home, at least for me. ;)

Whoops. Totally forgot to actually add my post!

It is a rare thing these days to receive a hand-written letter; Dr. Poore's thank you note may very well be the last I will ever see. He was obviously thrilled with getting a donation not just all the way out of state, but even out of continent. He made a joke about the mayo clinic - evidently, our love for mayonaise is known far and wide - and explained some things about the clinic. What struck me, though, was the way he signed it: "With deep respect". That, to me, felt like an injustice that needed to be set straight.

You see, the simple fact of the matter is this: we gave once. The doctor, and those who help him in this, are giving constantly. They give their time and their energy to this endeavour. They allow part of the ever important worry-center of their brain to be occupied by this. (The worry-center is a central part of human functioning. Mine is quite large.) To be addressed with "deep respect" when all we did was put some money in an envelope once seemed like a wrong that needed to be righted. Actually doing something for your fellow men - not just complaining, philosofying grand notions or the infamous "buying off guilt" through the occasional donation, but actually doing something - is something that in my opinion cannot be respected enough. This is the actual glue that holds the world together.

I'll admit that my letter was not handwritten, but that has more to do with my inability to write legibly. Though, since I was sending it to a doctor, maybe I should not have worried about that. ;)

Don't think the Poore Medical Clinic is stuck in the 20th century with their old equipment and hand-written letters, though. They have their own Facebook page!

The Poore Medical Clinic

And that is more modern than we have ever been!

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