I said goodbye to my doctor today, all verklempt and blubbery as I sat in the thinnest of thin patient gowns.
I hate change.
Dr. K isn’t so much retiring as choosing to have a life. She’s moving into a medical field that will have her caring for patients all day and then going home and watching Netflix, taking up painting or whatever she pleases with her evenings free of the mountains of government-prescribed paperwork and reporting that comes with being a general practitioner.
She inherited me when her predecessor quite rightly moved off to a field of medicine I suspect involves little actual contact with patients. Since then, we’ve been through a lot together. Our beginning was a bit harrowing when a lump turned out to be the real deal. Ever since, she has been my on-top-of-it advocate and champion, ensuring I had every test and procedure to keep me on track, and nagging a little when she thought I needed it. Bless her.
We’re both moms of daughters, and each of us has a beloved girl living Down Under. We talk about – okay, it’s me doing most of the talking, but she doesn’t disagree – the men, the jobs, the schools, the sun that drew them there and how we’re not particularly successful in our motherly campaigns to draw them north. We like each other. She follows When I’m 64. I love her for that.
Happily my good Dr. K has successfully found a GP for both MrWI64 and me. In this town, we’re among the lucky ones.
Just last week at a pre-Christmas wine and cheese, Bill, a friend in his late ‘70s told us he’d said goodbye to his doctor that day. He’d been this GP’s first patient 38 years ago, and on this day he was the last patient his doctor would see. Now Bill feels cast into the medical wilderness, wondering if he’s destined to a life of long waits at walk-in clinics already at capacity or, worse, going to hospital emergency to be seen.
Doctors like doctoring, and Dr. K suggests fewer GPs would leave private practice if government would free them of the weighty administrative burdens. Some jurisdictions are opting for government-established clinics in which doctors doctor and administrative staff take care of the reporting and paperwork.
Meanwhile, she’s a bit excited about this next professional stage.
She will be a doctor, not an administrator.
Fortunate will be the patients in her care.