Dr. Erlinda Grey on the human splendor of medicine

 

Maestro Dexter and Dr. Erlinda Grey

THIS piece began as an act of friendship.  It was conversation-interview supposed to draw a portrait of Dr. Linda Grey without physical features. Everyone knows this already:  to describe her wouldn’t be telling anything new.

Last Wednesday, at a gathering of seniors and the Fil-Am community and family services, they were not concerned about how beautiful she is, as ever.  Instead, they were listening to her words, ideas, and dreams.   With her outlook in life and work there is no place you can put her — be it in her clinic or lecturing about this era of managed health care at a time when medicine is becoming more institutionalized and impersonal. 

She draws the full spectrum of human emotions evoked by medicine drama, or parrying with outmost courtesy, in the most ungentle maneuver of the corporate in high meetings.  She weathers bad storms as she continues to preside her way with dignity in her quiet endeavors.  She doesn’t diminish this almost ferocious sense of public service.

She is always in pursuit of the good cause, the right reason to serve the community.  She is embodied in hard work and self-sacrifice and laden with astuteness and determination.

Dr. Grey doesn’t like any form of publicity.  We began to chat behind the barriers of conventions and difference, then, she opened up like a flower.

There was often a hint of the confessional in the sound of her voice as she spoke, I imagined her cheeks reddened every time I touched on a topic or delicate questions, but she never refused to reply or seemed indignant.

She’s writing her second book and said, “It is not an amusement, or outlet or relief… I just spilled my heart.”

She is married to Maestro Dexter Grey, renowned pianist, the greatest living interpreter of Frederic Chopin.  But more than a portrait of marriage, theirs is about the essence of a union of two fascinating people.  It is not only a love story, but a compendium of everything. But that is another story.

Doctor., rather than an interview, can we have this as a conversation, which I shall ask you certain questions.  How did you evolve?

Every person grows up the way she is.  There’s the education they receive, circumstances and influence ideas, feelings and taste.

Here in the U.S. where we’ve lived, there’s the diversity of ethnic cultures, we speak in appreciation of the America where we had flourished, without being unfaithful to the land where we were born.  We always go back to where you we born.  We always go back to our roots, especially values.  In all the years I’ve been away having traveled halfway around the world, I’ve realized I’m the kind of person that finds it fairly easy to adapt to other peoples’ emotions, traditions and values, which is one means of existence.  IT not a necessity in life.

May I digress?  Aren’t you afraid of growing old and if you tell me you’re not, I won’t believe you.

But you must believe me, growing older is interesting.  You won’t be doing some things because you have learned and you know the outcome.

Have you ever regretted something you’ve done?

No, never regret, just like fear is a waste of time.  I stay involved with my decisions and take its consequences. When it is impossible, I’m always ready to come to terms with life and its surprises.

A rather brutal question and you don’t have to answer — what if a doctor commits an error?

Doctors at one time in their careers have come across the thin line that separates decisions to the metaphysical.  It is what they say, “that you can not improve on God.”  Virtue or skill is not an altogether absence of fault, but altogether as in speed and grace with which a fault is recognized…corrected.

Do you find yourself more at east with male or female colleagues?

For me, it is absolutely the same.  I see them on the same eyes — as a person, in an absolute plane of equality.

What matters to you as a person?

Qualities that are timeless, where along with brains, courage…and along with courage, dignity, dedication, wisdom and compassion.

You said success is an important thing.  Were you provoking?

I never meant to provoke.  I say only what I think. I’ve never sought talent in order to get fame and material things.  It is the talent and passion that comes with success. We are all born with a talent — which is love, passion in doing your work gladly, not doing it because you want to be successful.

Is a career more important than, say family?

How can anyone say something as terrible as that — that sounds so horrible, just because career is inevitable bound up with money. In the end, it is what you do for the others that count. What you share without expecting anything in return.  A woman does not have to choose one and give up another, being a doctor doesn’t make you a bad wife or a bad mother, I’m simply saying, whatever gift God has blessed you, is yours for the taking.  But remember, taken with boundless gratitude by sharing it unselfishly.

What is a happy person, Dr. Grey?

Happiness is a fleeting point of view, a blessing to be able to feel it because those who can say it are few. If used in reference to my profession, it is the humanity in medicine.  That is the reason I’ve never stopped working. A doctor’s calling is arduous and complex that needs a kind heart and a clear head, the highest faculties of the mind, while constantly appealing to the highest emotion and feelings.  Think about what it’s like to be sick and vulnerable, the isolation.

Doctors are very serious people — perhaps even frail their panacea for all illness and grievances is “ “Someone up there gives the prescription.”  They have that exquisite capacity to put humanity before pleasure, and their lives lived under the conscientious bond of our moral values.

They also reject the redemptive ardor of literature…not of their realm!

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E-mail Mylah at moonlightingmdl@aol.com

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