I am writing this in the middle of the night because I ache too much to sleep, Despite the fact, I took prescription cough syrup that should have made me drowsy. Yes, I’m sick and I do want my mama. Mama’s are good at soothing.
My mama was always good at making me feel better, but she is not the only one in my childhood who had that magic touch. As an army brat, we moved around a lot and it was rare to bond with or even remember a particular doctor, but there is one pediatrician from my childhood that merits hero status.
Her name was Dr. Lotsu. She was tall and thin. Her neck and limbs were elegantly elongated. I remember fancying her as a principal dancer in a ballet company. Her fingers were also long and elegant. Her hands were always cool and dry to the touch and she had the most soothing voice. If she needed to give you a shot or do some sort of procedure that might hurt, you didn’t mind as long as you could listen to her talk. She had the most beautiful dark chocolate skin and such a warm and welcoming disposition, I just wanted to be drawn into her embrace.
Her story fascinated me as well. I don’t remember all the details, I was young then and I am shocked to realize it was about forty years ago. She was born I believe in Ethiopia and at some point in her life had come to the United States, gone to medical school, become an American citizen and served her adopted country proudly as a military doctor at the Great Lakes Naval Station. Yes, we were Army, but at that duty assignment, our medical needs were met by the Navy. I remember thinking how brave she must have been to come all the way from Africa to the United States and how smart she must have been to become a doctor. I was also duly impressed that she was a woman in uniform. It was the seventies and men still dominated the services.
I wish she could know what a positive role model she was for me. I still carry her with me along with a few special teachers as one of the most impactful persons outside of my family.
If I close my eyes I can imagine the cool and gentle touch of her hands on my forehead and on my neck. The memory alone is enough to make me feel some relief. Now, that I have emptied my mind of the need to tell the world about her, maybe I can sleep.