Another Christmas Message

I am writing this by the fireplace in my Swedish looking farmhouse in northern Maine. It is a couple of days before Christmas and we have 8″ of new powder snow on top of last week’s snow. Without all wheel drive and studded tires I wouldn’t have made it up the driveway after work today.

This season of celebration is shrouded in uncertainty. Last year at this time I wrote about the threats of the coronavirus and of anarchy. Both of these threats to life as we knew it played out worse than I had imagined.

And here we are again, with Omicron raging and the political divide widening. All I can do as a physician and a human being is keep my own house in order, cherish my loved ones and stay focused on what it means to be a doctor.

My world has stayed small, physically, but my thoughts and my words travel freely. My post views have more than doubled this year. I’ve been writing this blog for almost 14 years now and it has been a way for me to balance my frustrations with the system with the continuing enthusiasm this job nurtures in me.

I have written a Christmas piece most years. Below, I am linking to last year’s installment and also to the one from ten years ago, when I gathered sentences from Sir William Osler’s writings, imagining what he would want to say to today’s rural primary care doctors; Hippocraticus Rusticus, he called people like me.

Osler was a brilliant physician, a dedicated mentor and an optimist. He is one of a select group I call my imaginary mentors. By now I’m one of the oldest physicians in my organization, so I sometimes imagine what Osler or one of the other great teachers would guide me to do when I hit a snag or a difficult choice.

As one more year in medicine is about to end and as I prepare to start another, I would like to extend holiday greetings and best wishes for the new year to everyone who reads this. Writing this blog and compiling the books based on it has been both therapeutic and fun for me. And, just so you know, I have another book in the works – all new material, and this one in hardcover.

Stay tuned, God Jul & Gott Nytt År.

A Christmas Message to All Physicians From a Swedish-American Country Doctor in Maine

A Christmas Message to All Physicians from Sir William Osler

2 Responses to “Another Christmas Message”

  1. 1 Karen Scott December 23, 2021 at 8:31 am

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you Dr. Duvefelt ! Your home is beautiful.

  2. 2 Jon N December 26, 2021 at 6:44 am

    Dr. D, I have been reading your work from the beginning. I practice in a rural clinic, more than an hour from the nearest medical center. I have done so through trials and tribulations, and I have not regretted a moment. You have been my imaginary mentor for most of my career. I thank you for your thoughts and musings, and I have enjoyed your reflections on healthcare. I share your teachings at the beginnings of meetings during our reflections, and people always ask me where I “got that”. Please don’t underestimate your influence. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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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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