I am really going to miss this doc. Here's some of what he did for me in 25 years:
- Suggested, in 1990, that I might have an issue with alcohol (I did) and congratulates me each year for the decision I made to stop drinking.
- Talked current events with me, or travel, or healthy food, or climate change, during each appointment. (We're both slightly left of center politically, and he's more reluctant to fly than I am.) He's from Iowa, and teased me about each of the two trips I've taken there in the last couple of years. He told me about Ashfall State Park in Nebraska, which I'd never heard of, and which turned out to be a fascinating place.
- Conducted long email threads over several months to help me adjust my blood pressure medication.
- Respected my choices to try nonprescription supplements, chiropractic, and acupuncture. "If they work for you, that's fine."
- Respected my choice to remain anxious for years about "in-my-mind" illnesses (I'm very healthy but worry anyway), until I finally said, "Help, help!" and then prescribed an effective medication, coaching me as I found the right dose to tame the anxiety.
- Called me the night my husband had a cardiac arrest. I'd emailed Alan via Art's online account about the event. Alan and I talked for 45 minutes about the circumstances and the prognosis. At the end he said, "Anything else I can do?" "Yes, you should probably call Art." Which he did. Alan and Art had a five-minute conversation. Alan knew who needed the consultation that night.
- Laughed at me from time to time. Laughed with me a lot.
It felt like we were friends. He was safe to talk to. Sometimes I had to wait in the lobby for a while, but I always got all the time I needed. I didn't mind waiting because I knew all his other patients got the same quality of care.
I'm sad for me but very happy for Alan, as he pursues his interest in hiking and photography and puts to use, in his own life, all he has learned from his patients. (That's what he said in his retirement letter!) I sent him an email thanking him for all his help through the years. He replied - thanking me!
My only other doctor at present is an ophthalmologist. Dr. S did an office surgery on my eyelids a few years ago (if saggy eyelids interfere with vision, their tightening is a medical expense covered by insurance). She reassured me when I had one vitreous detachment five years ago and another one three years ago. She recommended me for cataract surgery on my right eye two years ago but said my left-eye cataract wasn't ready yet. Dr. S was professional and competent, but she was the doctor and I was the patient, and that was it.
Dr. S retired two weeks ago. Last week I went in to have the left-eye cataract evaluated. My new doc, Dr. G, took a look, explained the benefits and the risks of cataract surgery, told me that, on a 1-to-10 scale, my cataract is a 4, and that it's up to me when I choose to have the surgery. "When it starts to affect your quality of life, call and make an appointment." He didn't say no. He left it up to me. So I decided to wait! I love the choice rather than being told not yet.
Doctors retire, and new doctors take their place. I guess I'm good with that.