Post Scriptum

As the twelve year anniversary of “A Country Doctor Writes” has now passed, I have made the decision to conclude this chapter in my life. There are many more ideas I could put in words, and perhaps I will – in some format and venue – but the regular dispatches from the life of a country doctor have served their purpose for me.

I started writing during a time of internal doubt about where medicine was taking me. Writing helped me get some of the frustrations I experienced off my chest and allowed me to move past them. It also helped me refocus on the deep, almost spiritual, rewards doctoring continued to bring me, sometimes when I least expected it.

Over the years I have maintained that polarity, trying to illustrate both the silliness, what I call Metamedicine, and the profound satisfaction of being a doctor. My statistics have strongly favored the polemical posts and I sometimes fancied myself as a consistent voice of reason in a crazy environment.

But as I look forward to the remaining years of my life and career, I want to live even more in the moment as I described in the last segment of my previous blog post.

(Here I am, unpacking boxes, mending fences, cleaning stalls, reorganizing closets and cupboards; life is happening in a humble red farmhouse with peeling paint and a sagging front porch. It feels a lot like moving out to camp every summer when I was a young boy, before I started to think I had to be a knight and a dragon slayer…

To quote James Taylor, not for the first time:

“The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. Any fool can do it. There ain’t nothing to it.”)

A more or less regular publishing schedule, I realized in these past few weeks, no longer fits with who I am, or have become. I’m sure I will never stop writing, but I will do it at my own pace and I will make sure that it doesn’t in any way get in the way of what is happening in my real, non-literary, life.

When my occasional writing is published elsewhere, I will post excerpts and links here.

In the coming months I will also put together a book or two of collected stories, based on my 650+ blog posts, and I will announce them here for my small number of faithful subscribers.

After that, who knows, life will happen. I will live in the moment, quietly enjoying the passage of time.

Thank you for reading.

Hans Duvefelt, MD

46 Responses to “Post Scriptum”

  1. 1 Cindy Richards May 1, 2020 at 6:54 am

    Dear Hans,

    Your epistles will be greatly missed! Thank you for sharing your gift and insight over the years. Your reflections have helped keep me going along my own journey as a country doctor time and time again. I definitely want to know about your compendium. There are so many posts I want to rediscover and reread!

    If we have learned nothing else from the past 2 months, life may be short…make the most of every day. I welcome whatever your writing may bring whenever, if ever. Please know that you have been an inspiration to others along the way. Thank you for sharing your gifts!

    -Cindy Richards, MD-

    Hearthstone Family Medicine 8298 Seminole Trail Ruckersville, VA 22968

    • 2 acountrydoctorwrites May 1, 2020 at 6:59 am

      Thank you. I will keep writing but perhaps not as consistently in order to smell the roses along the rest of my way. My opinion pieces will appear on the healthcare blog and other sites. I have several books I’d like to write. I will post updates here and you have my email in the side bar on the blog. Best regards.

  2. 3 Keith MacLellan May 1, 2020 at 7:43 am

    And thank you, from a country doc to the north of you.

  3. 4 Rob yN May 1, 2020 at 7:45 am

    Dear acountrydoctorwrites, I often remember your article on the horse that spooked at the paper blown by the wind. How we, too, can be spooked by things that are no real threat, and being inappropriately on alert. I look forward to your books. Thank you! and Best Wishes!

  4. 5 Jon N. May 1, 2020 at 8:23 am

    Thank you for all the stories over the years. As a rural pediatrician, I found them inspiring. Good luck with the next chapter in your life.

  5. 6 Cathy Weaver May 1, 2020 at 8:29 am

    Thank you for sharing your life experiences and thoughts. You’ve made me think and be aware of the different pressures on physicians. From a second career RN

  6. 7 Elizabeth K. Baker May 1, 2020 at 8:39 am

    I shall miss your posts enormously. They have been a beacon of light for me in my day job as a teacher of teachers and in my volunteer and civic life.
    And in the care and feeding of my wond health. I wish you the best. Thank you for taking the time.I hope you do compile them, Enjoy yourself you more than earned it.

  7. 8 marc lippman MD May 1, 2020 at 8:41 am

    let me join so many others in wishing you well in your new venture. many of your blogs have been enormously interesting and at times inspiring and always thought provoking. the very best to you as you take what i hope will be a sabbatical !

  8. 9 marilyn E Findlay May 1, 2020 at 9:09 am

    I FEEL LIKE I AM LOSING YOU AGAIN. I can understand why. Your writing is like my poems, venting to remember the good and the bad times.

    You were my favorite doctor and no one can fill your shoes. What little life we both have has to be lived for ourselves.

    We both have given our all to what had been important in our lives. Time to be somewhat selfish and do our own bidding. I wish you well and good health climbing your new mountain.

    Good Luck, Lynne Findlay

  9. 11 msdonnarl May 1, 2020 at 9:14 am

    Good luck with what comes next.

  10. 12 Jess Noodi May 1, 2020 at 9:48 am

    I found you almost at the beginning of your journey.
    Your blogs have meant a lot to me and many others.

    It is always good to know when to change directions and you have been doing this for a while.

    Thank you so much. Looking forward to finding hou again.

  11. 13 Happy Dickey May 1, 2020 at 9:52 am

    I also will miss your voice of reason in this medical chaos! Enjoy, this new chapter in life!

    • 14 North Georgia May 3, 2020 at 6:43 am

      As I am in medical practice management, I have greatly enjoyed your words of wisdom. They most often aligned with the thoughts, concerns, needs and complaints of my physicians with every post. They’ve also been a tool that I’ve shared with my team to provide insight into the ever-changing world of primary care (EMR and CMS mandates and measures. The list goes on and on…). Simply, thank you. Enjoy.

      • 15 acountrydoctorwrites May 3, 2020 at 6:49 am

        Thank you. I will write and publish my clinical vignettes mostly in book form and pieces on the nature of medical practice on bigger platforms. Particularly thehealthcareblog has consistently reposted such material which in turn has been reproduced elsewhere. I plan to collect links to such pieces on a self titled website I’m working on.

  12. 16 bwwatt May 1, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Dr. Duvefelt, I’ve been reading your blog for years and am now in my first year of medical school myself. Your posts helped me deal with doubts I had myself about going into medicine and inspired me with the stories they told. Congratulations on your accomplishments as a writer of this blog, and thank you for keeping it up for so long. I will be sad to no longer see your posts regularly, but at the same time I applaud your decision to move on.


    Ben Watt
    Penn State College of Medicine, Class of 2023

  13. 17 lenore May 1, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Thanks for all your beautiful writings of life in medicine

  14. 18 Betty H. May 1, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Thank you,dear sir, for the years of insightful wisdom and for the honest articles regarding this “new” medical world. It was a relief to know there are still others who miss the old ways! I worked for over 30 years in the “old” way medical field until my own medical issues (brain stem bleed,strokes, and heart attack)took me out of it. It has been my greatest joy to join you in the “office”. I felt normal for a bit as I sat here smiling and nodding at the screen in recognition of so many patients! Faces of my own patients danced before my eyes while reading about yours.I even remembered the names of my own patients, and warmed at the memories. Thanks to you I was still “working” for a few moments, caring for beloved patients (and some not so beloved!) Ha…they all make life richer. May God greatly bless you on your new journey, and please keep us informed on your upcoming books! We readers will cherish them!

  15. 19 Catherine Cheng, MD May 1, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Thank you, Dr. Duvefelt! Congratulations on your ‘graduation,’ and best wishes for the next phase of your journey! May you find continued fulfillment and meaning, and I look forward to reading your words elsewhere! Peace!

  16. 20 Yvonne Sudarshan May 1, 2020 at 11:42 am

    I have truly enjoyed reading your stories and reflections. Thank you so much for an interesting perspective from a doctor who still knows how to diagnose and comfort his patients.

  17. 21 Lisa Stafford DVM May 1, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Thank you so much for the insightful blog.
    I have enjoyed reading it and will miss it.
    I call myself a country vet, and find a lot of wisdom I can use for my dog and cat patients and owners in your posts.

  18. 22 Kathy Jenkins May 1, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Even though I haven’t commented much (any?) I have really enjoyed reading your posts!

  19. 23 Paul Dhillon May 1, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Incredible, and sad. I look forward to your posts for inspiration and insight every single time I see an update in my inbox from you. I look forward to the book(s) and reflecting on your prior writing and hoping to do some more writing myself with you as an inspiration.

  20. 24 Zaiga Sears May 1, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Looking forward to your book. Have always enjoyed your perspective, and I have also saved some to read again or share.
    Good luck!
    Dr. Zaiga Sears

  21. 25 ninotswalk May 1, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    I am so happy to finally see your face. I also wish you the very best at your future endeavors! I have never commented on your posts before but they certainly helped me make sense of my early career in medicine as well.

  22. 26 Jen Reid May 1, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    God speed, Dr. Duvefelt! A major life decision for you and my heart is over the moon with happiness for your future years. I am not a physician but at 80 years old, I want you to know how very much your thoughtful writings have meant to me and been a part of my life. I will miss you! We all will. Looking forward to your future writing. Thank you.

  23. 27 Virginia Winter Smith, R.N. May 1, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Having just discovered you in 2019 I am sorry you are “leaving”, and at the same time glad to have enjoyed your sharings thus far. Your insights into human behavior, your deep knowledge of medicine, and your rapier sharp wit
    have inspired and entertained me. Thank you so very much!

    • 28 acountrydoctorwrites May 1, 2020 at 4:10 pm

      The archives are open, 650+ posts, and books down the road. I am also a regular contributor to the healthcare blog and they will post new material there. Things that are specifically for medical folks I’ll probably send over to Kevin MD. I’ve collaborated with both those blogs for many years

  24. 29 Will May 1, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    Please keep me on your list! I enjoy your ruminations.

  25. 31 Aubrey Wallace May 1, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    Thank you for your blog posts. I have been inspired by them often. I wish you the best in living happily in the moments of your life.

  26. 32 someshwar sharma May 1, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blogs.Looking forward to read your books.Enjoy your next phase of life.

  27. 33 Anne May 3, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    From a reader, thank you for your posts. I’m in a neighboring field, but the messages translated well. I look forward to your books.

  28. 35 Laurence Bauer May 4, 2020 at 9:09 am

    I want to affirm the value and power of your writing. Your voice helps inform all of us re: how a Family Physician thinks about clinical medicine and care of patients. Yours is one of the few voices that do this and you do it well. I understand you need to move on but I want you to know how much I will miss your voice. I share pieces you’ve written with medical students, residents and faculty members. Your voice helps them focus on what they do and the value of their inner voice. I hope you will keep your website up and accessible. I’d like to find a way to search for the nuggets and continue to pass them along. I’d be happy to discuss how I might help this to happen. Your years of work are too valuable to disappear. Thanks for your contribution Larry Bauer

    • 36 acountrydoctorwrites May 4, 2020 at 9:12 am

      The archives remain open. I will publish at least two books based on The blog, structured according to viewpoint, I’ll tell you more later, I will also activate a self titled website with links to articles published elsewhere and i’m toying with the idea of posting videos there, possibly with two different audiences in mind: patients and medical providers, not sure yet. So I’m not going away, just need to get away from a regular publishing schedule and Create something that might be more lasting.

  29. 37 Robyn Lawrie, NP May 4, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    I will miss you….I have looked forward to reading your muses over the years, but I definitely understand….

  30. 38 Ewald May 5, 2020 at 3:16 am

    Thank you Dr Duvefelt – I always keep a browser tab with your blog open on my PC when consulting patients. When it all gets too much I find that your thoughts and approach to medicine makes me appreciate the value of what we are tasked with. You are the mentor I’ve never been able to find as an undergraduate.

  31. 40 Ewald May 5, 2020 at 3:25 am

    Thank you Dr Duvefelt – I always keep a browser tab with your blog open on my PC when consulting patients. When it all gets too much I find that your thoughts about and approach to medicine makes me appreciate what we are tasked with. You are the mentor I’ve never been able to find as an undergraduate.

  32. 41 ahnluhn May 5, 2020 at 3:35 am

    Thank you Dr Duvefelt – I always keep a browser tab with your blog open on my PC when consulting patients. When it all gets too much I find that your thoughts and approach to medicine makes me appreciate the value of what we are tasked with. You are the mentor I’ve never been able to find as an undergraduate.

  33. 42 Susan Neely May 5, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    Dear Most Esteemed Dr. Duvefelt,

    I have passed your astute observations on to my son and to other doctors in the trenches, from CA to HI and Pennsylvania! I am retired, now,too, but I am happy to say that I believe that some of the “old fashioned” but irreplaceable advice and observations will be heeded by practitioners in coming generations(if any) :))).

    “Patientes estote cognosce tuo” should be the battlecry of all healthcare practitioners. Obviously, the government knows nothing on the subject!

    Thank you for sharing and encouraging…please do print a book!!

    Susan Neely, PharmD

  34. 43 Vince WinklerPrins May 6, 2020 at 9:00 am

    More than anything I want to honor your choice to make this transition. Congratulations!

    As a fellow family doc, your voice has been inspiring to me for years, brave and insightful, and funny! For me your posts were less about the old ways then about shining a light on the sanctity of healing relationships and the need to fight to preserve and protect this in any future iteration of health care delivery. Thank you.

  35. 44 Catou Greenberg MD May 6, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    I too will miss your blogs. I sometimes saved them for a quiet time when I could reflect and savor your wisdom and experience. And because of your inspiration, I started a functional medicine course. I look forward to your books. Thank you so much!

  36. 45 Jeff Hire May 20, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Looking forward to the collections. I started reading as an NP student and it really made a difference to me. Thank you for your perspective and I wish you well in your new chapter!

    • 46 acountrydoctorwrites May 20, 2020 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks. I was just emailing with Kevin Pho, who will do Zoom interviews with contributing writers. He’s been reposting my stuff for maybe ten years. He asked me to speak about some of my posts. I chose two that I feel are timeless, one being like a chameleon – the kind of provider your patient needs in that moment, and one about being guide, not the hero. One of my goals when I started blogging was to inspire people starting out in the medical professions. Your comment helps me feel I’ve done just that. /Hans

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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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