Lessons from the Other White Coat

A deep reverberating hum emanated from the white box in front of me. It sang of life, vitality, and vigor.
The box  was home to 30,000 honey bees I had raised since high school and collected from a swarm near our barn. Now in early September, it was time for the annual honey harvest. I love so many things about fall, but honey harvest ranks near the top. Typically we only harvest as much as we need for a year, about 5 pints. As I continue to write my husband keeps asking for more so maybe we should have collected more…Anyway, while working with the incredible little insects I wear my white bee suit (other white coat if you will) and learned a couple of lessons.


Respect Others
When you wear a white coat, with bees or people, you respect them. Bees are small, mostly docile, and open to sharing their honey (sort of). But one wrong move taken as disrespect and the entire hive swarms out with stingers blazing. Hot searing pain shoots up whatever part of your body they have selected and you immediately regret whatever you just did. It isn’t hard to show anyone they are important, and the consequences of ever thinking you are greater than someone because you are bigger or smarter is unforgettable. Thankfully this year I was not stung but my poor husband had one crawl up his pant leg. Ouch!

Take your Time
When working with patients or bees there is no rushing or hurrying if the job is to be done well. Rushed timing equals more squished bees equals more angry bees equals cross and unhappy beekeepers. Rushing patient care also results in more mishaps and angry patients and families. Taking time is a discipline, working through problems methodically is a practice and emphasizing genuine compassion for others is a life skill.

Honey Biscuits

Eat the Biscuit
Life is sweet, sometimes. And when God has put sweet things in our way, we take advantage of them. A successful patient recovery, a hot biscuit drenched in golden nectar made by bees, whatever other small successes and joys you have, – take it in with gratitude and enjoy the rewards of a job well done.


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