Since a previous article concerning my relapse with multiple myeloma cancer and the effects of chemotherapy, and after much thought and soul searching, I have decided to retire from the practice of medicine.
Having just turned 70 years old and having practiced medicine for the past 43 years (28 of those years in my current practice of urgent care medicine in Scotts Valley), I think it’s time to move on.
At this time I do feel very well, all things considered. I look forward to having some more time to spend with my wife Beth and my daughter Emma, as well as to pursue other interests, such as restoring my good old ’71 Volkswagen bus. Beth is a musician and music educator and I’m sure I’ll spend more time as her “roadie”.
Being a doctor is something that I had wanted to do since childhood, and it was an honor to follow in the footsteps of my father and grandfather. I have never regretted my decision to enter the medical field. I can’t imagine having pursued a more personally rewarding and satisfying career.
The difficult part of this decision is that up to this very day, I have thoroughly enjoyed practicing medicine and never really thought about retiring. However, besides the health issue, there is also the struggle with the time consuming and impersonal electronic medical record, the seemingly daily burdensome rules and regulations coming from a variety of sources, and the constant concern of malpractice, all of which I will not miss.
But, what an honor and privilege it has been to practice medicine. I have found tremendous satisfaction in treating patients, being able to alleviate suffering, curing illnesses of all sorts and even saving lives. I have enjoyed the one on one interaction I’ve had with patients and having the opportunity of getting to know them and appreciate them for who and what they are.
I’ve been in Scotts Valley long enough to have taken care of children who are now coming to the clinic with their own children. I’ve been saddened when people whom I have come to know have passed away but, on the other hand, I’ve enjoyed watching families grow and witness their changing dynamics. In the past 28 years at Scotts Valley, I figure I’ve had over 100,000 patient visits and therefore have been able to treat a significant number of people from Scotts Valley, the San Lorenzo Valley, and surrounding areas. I’ve always enjoyed walking into a local store or event and seeing the familiar face of a patient and be able to talk with them and to see and know them outside of the medical setting.
I will miss my wonderful supporting clinic staff with whom I have spent much of my recent life and who had become like a family to me. I am also honored to have been associated with as fine a group of physicians as there could ever be, 30 of them when I first began my work with the Santa Cruz Medical clinic in 1987, and now numbering some 210 physicians with our Palo Alto Medical Foundation affiliation.
Most importantly, I want to thank each and every one of you patients who trusted me and allowed me to care for you over the years. It’s my interactions with you that I will miss the most.
However, I am not going away completely. I will continue this medical column as I have many more topics to share with you and much more to say. As I have previously mentioned, I plan to publish a book incorporating the most interesting articles. I’m excited about continuing this work.
Since I won’t be seeing you in the clinic, I look forward to seeing you out in the community.
My very best wishes to you all and remember, life is a gift, gives thanks for each and every day.