I found out today that my gynecologist is retiring at the end of this year. Don't worry ... I'm not going to go into any details about ob/gyn exams or appointments.
I'm not really SURPRISED that he's retiring. He is turning 70 this year, and his SON is now in practice with him. (Why did it creep me out when I had an urgent need to see a doctor one time and I had to see my regular doctor's son?)
I have been seeing this doctor (mostly - more on that in a minute) since I was 22 years old. I actually went to him once when I was about 14 or 15. My mother was a patient of his, and I was having terrible trouble with my periods. Mom took me in to talk to him, and I remember him saying to Mom, "Well you know, there is one option....."
"Absolutely not," my mother replied with her mouth set in that thin, hard line. Nice girls did not take birth control pills, even if they were for reasons other than preventing pregnancy.
I don't remember if he had any other suggestions or what advice he gave Mom and me, but I do remember that after that visit, my periods regulated themselves and were bearable. I always thought he was a true Miracle Worker because all he did was talk to me.
He's very old-fashioned, and perhaps it's time for him to retire. I haven't seen him all that much for the past several years because I have been seeing the nurse practitioner in their office. My doctor was all booked up one year when it was time for my yearly appointment, so I had to see the nurse practitioner.
I. ADORE. HER.
It's not just because she's female and can obviously relate to my problems better than the doc. It's not just that she's overweight herself and so has never, ever criticized me for my weight. It's not just that I saw her the week my Sweet Girl broke my heart three years ago, and she offered me something to help me sleep (I declined), but that she REMEMBERS it and always asks how we are doing.
It's that while I'm in her office, I can pretend I'm the only patient she has. We talk about life, she thinks it's very cool that I ride a bicycle and a motorcycle, and we laugh. I called her yesterday with a question, left a voice mail, and do you know what?
SHE. CALLED. ME. BACK.
She even said in the course of our conversation that it seemed all her favorite patients had called her this week (more on that in a minute). She might have said that to forty people, but it still felt good for her to say it to me. "I'm one of her favorites." Wow. Even at forty-nine, I still want the star on my homework paper.
She advised me (wisely) on what I had called her about, told me about my regular doc retiring this year, and then she dropped the bombshell.
She's leaving too.
I got teary-eyed, like my best friend in middle school was moving across the country.
She has an offer to teach nursing at the Medical College of Georgia, and she said she just couldn't turn it down. If my interactions with her are any indication, she will be an excellent teacher. The selfish part of me, though, wishes it didn't have to be at my expense.
In a way I guess it has its advantages. I have kept going to that group of doctors even though it is 30-40 minutes from home, mainly because of her. Now I will be able to find a doctor much closer to home, and making regular appointments won't be quite so much of a hassle. I may even be able to find a doctor who is not in one of those mega-practices that make me feel like a cow being herded through the chute.
When she was talking to me today, she said she told her husband that hearing from so many of her favorite patients this very week made her feel like maybe she was making the wrong decision. He said maybe it was just so we got a chance to say goodbye.
I like his take on it.