A mother’s praise for Dr. Lonzel But­ton

The Compass - - OPINION - BYMICHELLE CLEARY-HAIRE

The end of June will mark a ma­jor mile­stone in the life of one of the cit­i­zens of Har­bour Grace as Dr. Lonzel But­ton will re­tire from gen­eral prac­tice af­ter 38 years of ser­vice to the people of the com­mu­nity and sur­round­ing ar­eas. Al­though the doc­tor has cer­tainly earned his right to re­tire and en­joy the rest of his life out­side the walls of his prac­tice, his leav­ing means that a kind, car­ing, com­pas­sion­ate and pro­fes­sional doc­tor, who has brought hun­dreds of ba­bies into the world and helped count­less oth­ers deal with their ill­nesses, will end of a tra­di­tional prac­tice in ru­ral New­found­land.

Through­out our lives there are dif­fer­ent people who have an im­pact on us out­side our im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers and friends and col­leagues. For some of us that im­pact is so great that it can mean life or death. There is a man that I owe my life to and the life of my youngest daugh­ter.

Dr. But­ton has been my fam­ily doc­tor for al­most 30 years; he brought two of my three chil­dren into the world, and for the youngest, that was not an easy task. Dur­ing her birth, com­pli­ca­tions arose and as I looked at his face dur­ing the de­liv­ery process I re­al­ized in­stantly some­thing was wrong. My hus­band was stand­ing next to him as well as a nurse and the nurse sud­denly said, “I’ll go get help!”

Dr. But­ton calmly told her there wasn’t time and with that he put my hus­band and the nurse into ac­tion in a com­bined ef­fort to get the baby “out.” The de­tails are not im­por­tant ex­cept to note that they had to pull her out. I still don’t know much about birthing ba­bies but I knew that get­ting her out safely and quickly was an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion that could have ended trag­i­cally for one or both of us.

I re­mem­ber, af­ter not­ing the con­cern on Dr. But­ton’s face, that I closed my eyes and asked God to let my baby be OK and if he wanted to take me it would be fine as I had al­ready lived a won­der­ful life. I had been blessed with two other healthy chil­dren and a great hus­band and was sur­rounded with a cir­cle of fam­ily and friends. I was grate­ful.

Af­ter what seemed like an eterni- ev­ery­one she meets.

There were and are no words to ex­press our grat­i­tude to him for the fact that both she and I are here to­day to tell this story. I later learned what could have hap­pened that day but what is im­por­tant is what did hap­pen.

In all my years of vis­it­ing this fine doc­tor be­cause I had a cold or an ache or pain, he al­ways greeted me with a smile and there were oc­ca­sions when he made house calls be­cause of emer­gen­cies. Over the years as this pa­tient and doc­tor got more fa­mil­iar with each other, he would ask about my kids or my hus­band and I learned that he loves to spend time with his chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, gar­den­ing, walk­ing and trav­el­ling. Some may say he was “just do­ing his job” but I know bet­ter. I know you don’t stay in prac­tice in a ru­ral New­found­land com­mu­nity for al­most 40 years un­less you love what you do and the people you do it for.

I would be amiss if I did not men­tion his sec­re­tary of 38 years. Cathy’s friendly voice and pro­fes­sional man­ner has also been a calm­ing pres­ence at the clinic and I ty, I heard the cry of my beau­ti­ful girl and I knew we were go­ing to be OK. Dr. But­ton handed the baby to the nurse and there were smiles around the room. Pa­tri­cia came into the world at 12 pounds, five ounces, and was per­fect. She still is.

I have al­ways been amazed at the abil­ity of doc­tors to di­ag­nose and treat pa­tients and per­form mi­nor and ma­jor surg­eries. How­ever, bring­ing new life into the world must be the most amaz­ing feel­ing of all. I know that Dr. But­ton’s hands were guided that day by his train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence, but I also be­lieve that the hands of God guided him and helped bring my baby girl to me. This child has in­spired me ev­ery day since she was born and has a pos­i­tive im­pact on the world with thank her for the many times she was able to fit me in when those mini-emer­gen­cies popped-up.

The world will go, and time won’t stand still when Dr. But­ton re­tires. How­ever, it has changed as this fine doc­tor has left his mark on the world through his time and talent. It continues to change as a few months ago, thanks to the ef­forts of a lo­cal phar­ma­cist, Madonna Rose (who re­built her phar­macy af­ter it was de­stroyed by fire), three new doc­tors are now prac­tic­ing in the town and there is word a fourth may be join­ing them.

We shall con­tinue to have great doc­tors here and I am for­tu­nate to be able to have that ser­vice “close to home” as my fam­ily has al­ready signed with one of them and they are just down the road. But, it sure will be dif­fer­ent. I shall miss you Dr. But­ton.

— Michelle Ber­nadette ClearyHaire re­sides in Har­bour Grace, and is a for­mer mu­nic­i­pal leader. She is mar­ried, is the mother of three daugh­ters, and is a teacher em­ployed by the New­found­land and Labrador English School District.

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/The Com­pass

MU­CHO MEX­I­CAN MU­SIC — Sarah Pow­ell is a mem­ber of a gui­tar trio from Mu­sic Plus in Car­bon­ear. She is seen here play­ing the Mex­i­can style song Be­same Mu­cho dur­ing the Car­bon­ear Kiwanis Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in April. Other mem­bers of the trio are Natasha Haraga and Sadie White­horn.

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