I have been treating a patient for his recurrent uveitis for a few weeks now. It is due to a genetic autoimmune predisposition which causes recurrent inflammation in his eyes. This is just another usual round of his flare ups which requires weekly follow ups. In his case, it usually lasts between 4-6 weeks.
After the first few follow ups, I started to notice that he has a preference for floral prints: his shirt one time, the strap of his watch, his shorts another time. I brought up this observation to him.
“You like florals, eh?”
“Yes, I do! I’ve always really liked them.”
“How come?”, I was intrigued.
“My grandfather has a beautiful garden back home and I had learned to appreciate flowers. There is something about them. To me, they represent innocence. Their only job is to be beautiful. They are created for the purpose of bringing beauty to the world.”
It caught me off guard. I am not sure if it’s because of his blatant love for florals is so readily declared or that something so poetic came out of the mouth of a tech professional in the start up world.
In the subsequent follow up visits, our conversations went from the difference between faith and religion to favourite shawarma spots in Montreal (by the way, it’s not real shawarma if it’s not shaved off from the rotating stick). On paper, our worlds don’t collide: a Muslim Egyptian who went to school in Saudi Arabia and a Christian Taiwanese Canadian. That is the beauty of humanity (or Canada). Two seemingly unrelated worlds can overlap when we put aside prejudice and judgement.
We can relate to each other more than we think. All we need to do is give each other a chance and listen.