The Failure

From an early age, Herb suffered from asthma. Regularly he was taken to Dr. C. J. Hamme. Various recipes were tried, but each bout seemed to get worse. Dr. Hamme told his parents that they should be prepared for Herb not surviving one of the asthma attacks. That is not what they wanted to hear, but they accepted that they needed to be prepared.

On one occasion Dr C. J. was not available so they took him to Dr. C. J.’s son, Dr. Ralph Hamme, who was just out of medical school. After an examination, Dr. Ralph said that often children grow out of asthma. He went over everything that they were doing for Herb. The next bout with asthma did not seem as bad. Was it really less severe, or was it the new-found hope which made it seem less severe?

When the next bout came, it also seemed to be a little easier to endure. By the end of the year he was no longer having asthma attacks, but he was left with a bad case of hay fever. One of his brothers insisted that the hay fever was all in Herb’s head.

Herb and Karen Hamme, Dr. Ralph’s daughter, were in classes together as long as both of them went to the same school. She probably never knew what her father had done for Herb.

The Lesson

Sometimes hope is the best medicine a doctor can give, and it is up to those around the patient to communicate that hope.

The Success

About 15 years later, Herb sat beside an eighth grader’s hospital bed for numerous hours. She had inadvertently drunk some rat poison which had been stored in a coke bottle. About the only thing she had going for her was hope, and Herb helped to communicate that hope. She survived.

He learned to create hope where there was little hope and he did it on numerous occasions. When he was on his Grand Tour in SE Asia, he sent weekly letters of encouragement to a young lady who was going through cancer treatment.

On another occasion he sat with a 5-year old cancer patient for many long hours. She insisted that Herb was the only one who could tickle her feet right so she would feel better.

Following his wife’s cancer he wrote most of the devotions in We Heard the Wings of Angels. Then he and his wife wrote Cancer – An Intense House Guest – A Practical Guide. The two booklets were combined into Living with Cancer – That Intense Houseguest. It is available free of charge as an ebook at

Living with Cancer - Cover-RSSomewhere in there, young ladies started adopting him as their grandpa. In Haiti, whenever he sits down, his lap is full of children. It all started when he learned that sometimes the best medicine is not laughter like the Readers’ Digest claims, but hope.

Author’s Note: If you question House Guest and Houseguest, the explanation is simple. We got a new dictionary between the times the two were published.


Author: Herb

In January, 2010, I left corporate America, and now I have my own business. Since I have never been able to focus on one item (Does that make me a scatter brain?), I divided my company into three divisions: Kayak guiding and instructing - specializing in nature kayaking, Building materials consultant - specializing in cements and forensics, and Writing - Stories w/ life lessons and construction books that are fun to read. Published books: The Stucco Book - The Basics, Animals I Have Hated, Grandpa, Help! Answers to Questions a Young Lady Would Never Ask Her Parents, Grandpa Helps Grandparents, Living with Cancer – That Intense Houseguest, Homes for Jubilee (June, 2016), and Kay pou Jubilee (in Haitian Creole) (August, 2016). Forthcoming Books: The Adhered Concrete Masonry Veneer Book, The Stucco Book - Forensics and Repairs, and Failing My Way to Success.

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