Another Thanksgiving Reflection

I guess I’m American enough, after spending ten more years here than in Sweden, to start to get a little philosophical at Thanksgiving. I spent my first Thanksgiving in this country not far from where the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, as an exchange student with a Jewish family, three houses down from an African American family in an otherwise white Anglo Saxon distant suburb of Boston.

I, too, was a pilgrim of sorts when I decided to move here. I was smitten by the sense of freedom and optimism in this country, and by the belief that hard work almost always paid off.

Because many of the specialists I started referring to when I first came to this area have now retired, I can vaguely picture the end of my own tenure, but I hope to have twenty more years in the profession that was my dream since age four.

I am thankful for the schooling I received and for the mentors that guided my progress through my early years of practice. I am thankful for the opportunity to knock on an exam room door twenty times a day and say “how can I help you today” to twenty fellow human beings. I am thankful that most of the time my advice is well received and I am humbled that so many patients have remained loyal to me for so many years.

I am thankful that I have been able to stay focused on the essence of doctoring and have had so few feelings of burnout after 38 years of being a physician.

I am thankful that I have always landed on my feet when life has seemed to trip me up. And I am thankful that I have so far been blessed with good health.

As I reflect on my own fortune, I can’t help but grieve over how many people I meet that don’t have the optimism, faith and enthusiasm I first encountered when I came to this country. My adopted homeland is a very different place from when I started my Senior year in 1971 and my Family Practice residency in 1981.

I don’t think it’s just because I’m older that I have to do a lot more life counseling with people who are losing their faith in their own future. And at the same time the health care system is squeezing the agenda of my patient visits with more and more demands that challenge my ability to really connect with my patients and help them carry on with their lives.

So, for the next twenty years or however long I have left, may I never lose my own faith in the power of the doctor-patient relationship or my gratitude for the opportunity I have been given to cure sometimes, treat often and comfort always.

4 Responses to “Another Thanksgiving Reflection”

  1. 1 Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D. November 22, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Beautifully written, I can say much of the same, even the dates coincide. I doubt I will continue this another 20 years, but I bet you will. Happy thanksgiving.

  2. 2 Melody A. November 22, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    I hope you won’t lose your faith and gratitude. YOU are what we all hope to find when we go to the doctor. THANK YOU!!! for caring so much. Happy Thanksgiving from Iowa

  3. 3 meyati November 23, 2017 at 5:23 am

    Happy Thanksgiving- Thanks for coming here and joining us and our lives.

  1. 1 Giving Thanks Always – watercress words Trackback on November 22, 2017 at 9:46 pm

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Osler said “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis”. Duvefelt says “Listen to your patient, he is telling you what kind of doctor he needs you to be”.


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