A Country Doctor’s Books

Almost 10 years ago I received a gift that is still one of my most prized possessions, even though the person who gave it to me is no longer in my life. I recently turned one of the rooms in my little red farmhouse into a library/media room, where books and records hidden away in storage for a decade finally have their place next to a new record player and my DVDs and VHS tapes of everything from Ingmar Bergman to Marcus Welby to St Elsewhere to Northern Exposure, and even a couple of episodes of House.

In this room, I have my ink-written notes from medical school in binders on the bottom shelf, antique medical books including the ones I am referring to and an antique microscope and pharmaceutical bottles from Sweden and the United States.

I am gathering up my memories, medical like I’ve mentioned, musical from Mozart to Gershwin to James Taylor, movies from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to Dirty Dancing and literature from Shakespeare to contemporary Swedish authors (one of them my army and medical school buddy Lars Andersson).

Does this mean I’m on the home stretch or just regrouping? I guess one never knows those things. But for me, today, just over three months from my 70th birthday, I think it’s just taking stock and pausing to reflect on where I have been and where I am.

3 Responses to “A Country Doctor’s Books”

  1. 1 Bill Houghton April 11, 2023 at 7:47 am

    I just turned 85 and my den looks like yours. You’re a bit better organized than I am. I don’t run to the Osler book too much now, but I honor the hope he held out. Anton Chekhov, too. (Got my current NEJM and JAMA ready, too.) I think you may be looking for a summary, the essence. The AMA falls short, despite some online efforts. I figure me and everyone else are basically apes, so in-person coffee klatches are best for my spirits.
    Or watching my offspring and grandkids try out their skates—-whoops, I mean skate-boards!
    I have appreciated your writing for years, an old-fashioned doctor who knows the satisfaction of connecting with patients.
    Don’t go retiring on me now! Keep working! And writing! Bill

  2. 2 Alessandra Chaves April 11, 2023 at 10:11 am

    Lovely library! I which you have some time to enjoy it!

  3. 3 Sanjeet Narang April 20, 2023 at 6:45 am

    Sir, I thank you for writing these words, so that we who struggle similarly, have a voice and hope, and may follow in whole or in part, the clues you sprinkle upon our path.
    Warm regards,

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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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