Advice from patient helps doctor, family stay close

WINTERVILLE, N.C.   (Mar. 17, 2011)   —   Dr. Tommy Ellis sees a lot of patients in his family medicine practice at East Carolina University. Almost always, he is able to help them.

One day, however, the tables turned.

Marilyn Love, 70, a longtime patient of Ellis’, was at his office for a routine appointment. As the visit concluded, Love asked the doctor if there were anything she could do for him.

The question caught Ellis by surprise. He’s supposed to be the one making suggestions and coming up with answers, he thought. But since Love had grown children of her own, Ellis, 44, decided to ask for advice on raising teenagers.

Love’s response was swift: Buy a pingpong table.

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