An Upcoming Anniversary

I have missed some anniversaries in my career. Ten years ago, I wrote a post titled “A Thirty Year Anniversary and I Missed It” about my graduation from medical school.

Well, guess what, I won’t miss my fortieth. Sad to say, I don’t know what day I graduated because Swedes don’t do things with pomp and circumstance, funny tasseled hats and funky walks, like American graduations.

My medical school ended some time in June, 1979 with the last day of my last rotation. I do remember putting my bag with my stethoscope and other professional paraphernalia on the rack behind the saddle of my blue bicycle and pedaling home to my apartment on the outskirts of Uppsala.

My “diploma”, which was just a transcript with a bureaucratic looking stamp on it, came later in the mail.

The last ten years sure slipped by a lot faster than the first, during which I did a rotating internship in Sweden, emigrated to the US with my (first) American wife, did a Family Practice Residency, adopted two babies and worked for three different clinics.

This summer, I guess I’ll pick a random date in June to hold my celebration. I don’t own a bicycle anymore, so I think I’ll drive down to the town landing and walk a ways out on the pebble beach, sit on one of the barnacled rocks and listen to the waves of the big water I crossed to come to my new home country on June 6, 1981.

That is the spot I went to when each of my two previous Arabians had died, and it is the one place around here where I feel completely alone without the trappings of a lifetime of work, family, people and possessions.

After that day of solemn, solitary contemplation, I’m going to do something I haven’t done in a very long time: I will stay away from work for the better part of a month. I will take some time to think about how I can make my remaining years as a physician as meaningful and fulfilling as possible. I will enter a time of gratitude and bewonderment at where life has brought me, a daydreaming introverted schoolboy seemingly suddenly turned gray haired senior physician, old enough to retire but not until now in the prime of my grasp of what it means to be a doctor.

Until that day I will make a point of watching some more episodes of Marcus Welby, M.D. on my iPad and maybe reread some of the books that inspired me or kept my spirits up during the first forty years of my career.

And before this summer slips by, I hope to finish my first book in the “A Country Doctor Writes” series…

6 Responses to “An Upcoming Anniversary”

  1. 1 Mary Ellen McColl April 25, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Best wishes to you

  2. 2 sjdmd April 25, 2019 at 11:18 am

    As a recent retiree I’ve been hungrily reading your posts attempting to maintain a degree of connection to our shared learned profession through the eyes and experiences of one I admire. I wish you well in your internal journey these next months and look forward to reading and rereading your columns in your book. All good wishes to you.

  3. 3 Larry Bauer April 25, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    I have an idea how you could spend some time in the latter stages of your career that could help us transform how care is delivered in the US. Interested?



  4. 5 Icemanevo May 2, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Hi, I’ve been reeding your blog since february, but after this post I know that I’ve got a lot to read from You. It is great blog, I feel so much intelligence and wisdom from your post – It is admirable.
    Greetings from Family Practician from Poland.

  5. 6 Fairweather Walker February 1, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Oh my goodness — Marcus Welby! I haven’t thought of or seen that show for so many years … but certainly watched it regularly in my teens. Of course, we only had two channels in the home where I grew up, but still … .

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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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