Your three words, my little story
Dr. Grover’s words: jellybean, horse & bread
Young Carlita reminded Doctor Grover of herself when she was her age: way before Grover dreamed of becoming a doctor and certainly before she joined forces with ‘Doctors Without Boarders’. Carlita has a condition similar to one the doc endured as a pre-teen, but in this case the dreadful condition doesn’t give Carlita much hope for a future. She will never be a teenager, have the precious first kiss, graduate high school or raise her own family. She’s never been further than three miles of her place of birth, and the few times she went that far was to attend funerals; she’s nine years old and will not see her next birthday. At this point all the doctor can do is comfort the patient in her final days.
Grover comes from a well to do family and feels blessed with the breaks that come along with that gift. She tears up every time she thinks of the differences that time and dollars can make. Carlita will never have the same opportunities that she had and that’s why she’s here in the first place, sharing her skills and some measure of civility that she feels is fundamentally necessary.
Every time Grover see’s Carlita they play the jellybean game. They start with six jellybeans and one of them is always liquorish. When Carlita answers a medical question she can take one bean; this game takes Carlita’s mind off of her illness, at least for a short period. Carlita has to leave the last one for the doctor and she knows that Grover doesn’t like the black ones but neither does she. She never leaves the black one for Grover. Like most families in the region Carlita comes from a poor home, and Grover’s office gives all visiting families a bag of groceries. Each bag includes an assortment of non-perishable foods; including, but not exclusive to spam, potted meat, peanut butter, jelly, and several loaves of bread. She wishes she could give more, but there are so many families and such a modest stockpile of provisions.
Carlita was near her end, so Doctor Grover wanted to do something special for her and unlike other times, this time she was able to make a dream come true. Even though Carlita was afraid of animals larger than her, she always wanted to ride a horse. One of the clinic’s families raised farm animals and they proudly brought two horses to the treatment center and helped Carlita with her wish. Grover grew up with horses, so she was able to teach Carlita how to sit in the saddle and steer the horse for the short trip around the building. It was a small gesture, but heartfelt none the less.