I practiced medicine and surgery in the same town with my brother Berry Lee for 29 years, and the professional relationship that we had was wonderful. He was an older brother by 11 years, and I had idolized Bubba from my earliest recollection. Because our dad was so busy with his medical practice during my pre-teen and teenage years, Bubba taught me many things that normally would be taught to a son by a dad. In so many respects I looked on Bubba as a father-figure, and that type of relationship continued into our professional life. Our dad had died during the time of my training as a general surgeon.
Bubba had a family medical practice, and he was an immediate referral source when I started my practice as a surgeon. I never quantified the referral percentages, but I suspect that at least 40% of my patients had been referred by Bubba. It was not surprising when I walked into the examining room one afternoon to see a new patient, and she informed me that she had been a patient of “Dr. Berry.” To a large number of people in our small community, he was known as “Dr. Berry,” and I was “Dr. John,” in order to avoid confusion between us.
Mrs. Johnson was a very pleasant 65 year old lady with a sweet countenance, and after a few words of conversation, I knew she was a Christian. She said she had not seen Dr. Berry for at least 6 years, because she had moved to California to take care of a disabled, older sister, and had just returned following her sister’s death. Her surgical problem was relatively minor and could be resolved with an office procedure, which we scheduled for the following week. Just before she left the room she asked, “Would you mind refilling a prescription for me?”
Normally a request like that is easily honored, but I needed more information. She said that Dr. Berry had given her this prescription well over 6 years previously, and she had taken it with her to California. With her next few remarks, I became very suspicious of her motives for the request. She said, “I use this prescription all the time, and have shared it with a number of people, and also with all of my friends in California!” Every alarm alert in my brain was immediately tripped, causing me to believe that Mrs. Johnson was not only taking a controlled substance drug, but was giving (or selling) it to her friends. My fears were partially tempered when I asked her if a doctor in California had refilled it for her and she said, “No,” Dr. Berry is the only doctor that ever gave me a prescription like this.”
I asked her to tell me the medicine that Dr. Berry had prescribed, and she said, “I have his prescription right here in my purse.” She reached into her enormous purse and without any hesitation in her search, retrieved a tiny slip of paper from one of the small pockets within the purse. It was indeed a prescription that was folded into a small enough size to fit into the pocket. I could tell by the age and condition of the paper that this prescription had been unfolded and folded back many times. I had to carefully unfold it to keep it from tearing. It had been written on Bubba’s pad which had his name, address, telephone number and narcotics license printed on it. Her name was in the proper place, and written as the prescription was: Philippians 4: 6&7. The prescription was signed: Dr. Jesus. She said she had told Dr. Berry that she had been worrying about a number of things, and was wondering if he had any medicines that could help calm her nerves. As she was talking, he was already writing her prescription on his pad, and when he gave it to her he said, “Take this prescription as often as you need it, and it is guaranteed to calm you down.” She said, “I tried it and it worked every time! That is why I shared it with all my friends and family.” I gladly wrote her the exact prescription on my pad and told her I would be more than glad to refill it as often as she needed. My nerves had also calmed greatly, and I was ashamed that I had thought badly about Mrs. Johnson.
A paraphrase of the verses on the prescription is; don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything, and God will calm your nerves and your heart. Bubba probably gave hundreds, and perhaps thousands of similar prescriptions during his 50+ years of medical practice. I feel quite certain the drug companies that made anti-depressant pills, noticed a decrease in the demand for their pills as Bubba’s patients applied his prescription for the worries in their life. I took this lead from Bubba and began treating my own patients with worry problems in a similar fashion. I never heard of any treatment failures.