I was her visiting teacher and my heart is breaking today for my friend from the past. There’s a Utah Ob-Gyn who needs so many prayers. I received earth shattering news late last night and I’m left wondering why certain things happen. Why does devastation have to strike those who are most deserving of only the best? My friend IS most deserving of only the best and I so want her to know that she is not alone. Once in a while there’s someone who comes along in your life and it happens for a reason. Even if years go by you are still connected to that person. You still want the best for her and you want to ensure that everything will be okay. When it’s not okay you strive to make it so. That’s where I’m at today. I need to make things okay. It’s what a visiting teacher does. Even when she’s no longer the actual visiting teacher.
I first met Dr. Sandra Archer 13 years ago. Our happenstance was not what you would expect from a doctor and a non doctor. It wasn’t that of a doctor/patient relationship. Not even close. She was a faculty ob-gyn at the UTHSCSA and I was very newly married, living in a new city without knowing anyone. I was assigned to be Sandy’s visiting teacher and I remember being so nervous about it! This was my first time as a married adult to participate in the visiting teaching program for our church. I wanted to do everything right and be successful. I wanted to be the best visiting teacher. I wanted her to feel of my love for her and the calling that I had been given.
Sandy had just given birth to twin boys and the first thing I did was go down to the local Gymboree and buy them matching outfits. I had only just received the visiting teaching assignment and hadn’t even met her yet! It was great fun picking out baby clothes since I didn’t yet have any children of my own. I even remember the joy I felt when she brought the boys to church for the first time and had chosen to dress them in the outfits I had provided. It made me feel warm inside knowing that the gift was well received and that she thought to dress them that way for church so that I would see.
Since she was so thoughtful why ever was I nervous about being her visiting teacher? Honestly? I remember being nervous that she was a doctor and that I was not. I worried that I wasn’t on the same level as she. I had worked for doctors in the past and at that present time. In my life I had experienced many physicians who felt they were above everyone else. This had made me jaded. I worried that would be our relationship and was stressed out by the assignment. Why did I have to visit her? I knew nothing. I wasn’t educated. I wasn’t even an experience visiting teacher. Shouldn’t someone else on “her level” be her visiting teacher? I know now that I so very much in the wrong in my way of thinking. The lesson I learned taught me something valuable that I would take with me in future visiting teaching assignments. It made me a better visiting teacher. It made me a better person.
The day I first met Sandy all of those worries disappeared instantly. She was so warm and welcoming. We talked about her but she also wanted to know about me. She was genuinely interested in what I was doing and encouraged me to finish school. With twin newborns and a busy work schedule she still made time for my visits. She helped me to see the importance of being a visiting teacher.
Years went by. We moved to a few different wards in San Antonio and obviously I was no longer Sandy’s visiting teacher. I would still see her in passing in the hospital where I worked. She always remembered me and would say hello. Our paths continued to cross in knowing several of the same people in the medical community but I was never again her visiting teacher.
More years went by and my young family moved to St. Louis while Sandy moved back to her home state of Utah. She established a practice there and I was happy to stay connected with her on Facebook even though she wasn’t on very often. She was busy delivering babies and raising her own family so I guess I’ll give her a pass. *wink*
Sandy offered me words of advice when our baby’s ultrasound showed an echogenic heart. We were elated to learn we were having a girl and then shocked by a marker that could indicate Down syndrome. Sandy was there for me via Facebook to give me support and tell me that it was going to be okay. And it was okay. The increased risk didn’t present in our baby girl and I will be forever tied to Sandy through this experience. I had been her visiting teacher but she was in a way also my visiting teacher.
The following is taken from All Season OB Gyn:
Sandra Archer, MD has wanted to be a physician ever since she was a young girl. When she was eight years old, she fell seriously ill and spent a week at Primary Children’s Hospital.
“That experience just cemented my determination to become a doctor,” she says. “There was never anything else.”
A board-certified OB GYN, Dr. Archer opened All Seasons Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mountain West Medical Center in August 2009. She received her Medical Degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 1997. She next completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology in 2001 at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. From that year until 2004, she was an assistant professor at the same school, with practicing privileges at the university, and at Baptist Health Systems.
From June 2004 until moving to Tooele with her husband and family, Dr. Archer practiced at Women’s Health Consultants, with practicing privileges at Methodist Health System. Both locations are in San Antonio.
Preventative care is an important part of Dr. Archer’s practice. She believes strongly in healthy living. “I encourage my patients to eat better and to try to regularly exercise,” she says. “Everyone wants a magic pill to lose weight or feel better. I spend a lot of my spare time reading about healthy diets and different exercise options.”
Dr. Archer calls herself a typical Utahn who loves to ski and waterski. She also enjoys reading, exercise and doing various crafts.
On June 10, 2015 Sandy was in a horrific car accident. I don’t know all of the details as I just found out last night. Sadly she lost both of her hands and 90 % of her left arm. My heart is breaking. I tossed and turned last night unable to sleep well. I’m devastated and want more than anything to help her. Due to her injuries she’s currently unable to practice medicine. I know that she loved helping to bring children into this world. Something that she was so very gifted and talented at doing. Her family and friends are raising funds to help her acquire prosthetic hands. You can read more about her story and donate here. As a doctor she has helped the lives of so many. Selflessly saving lives. Now we can do something to save a doctor. Please help if you can. Prayers are also of course greatly encouraged and appreciated.
Perhaps the title of this post should not be that I was Dr. Sandra Archer’s visiting teacher. I AM Dr. Sandra Archer’s visiting teacher. Once a visiting teacher, always a visiting teacher. Despite years of not seeing each other or speaking… She and I will always be connected. I’m her visiting teacher and she is mine. Life has a way of bringing people together for a reason. I’m grateful to life for that so that I can be Sandy’s visiting teacher.