When your doctor retires

Dr. B was the first to go. An internist and rheumatologist, he had served as the primary care physician for Betsy and me for more years than I’d care to count. He was low-key, wise, a good listener and a first-rate physician, and we knew that we could count on him for excellent care and advice.

Then he retired.

Growing old brings with it a variety of changes in one’s life, most of them expected. But not all. When we lose our longtime, trusted family doctor to retirement, we are plunged unwillingly into navigating a bewildering marketplace of alternatives. After a search, we chose Dr. Y, a competent younger physician in Dr. B’s group practice who could take on new patients. But we would have to wait a few months until she gave birth to her first child. Another pregnancy came about a year later. Dr. Y serviced our medical needs well when we could get to see her; she was available only on two days a week. We weren’t supposed to get sick on the other days — or weekends. In fairness, it must be reported that the group practice offered us access to another physician, more often, a physician’s assistant.

Without question, Dr. B deserved retirement. He had earned it. But some of his patients — elderly ones included — faced challenges adjusting to the search for a satisfactory replacement that followed.

Eventually we chose to look for a specialist in the care of older patients, geriatrics, and found a winner. Dr. G. is competent, compassionate, patient, thorough and best of all, accessible via an electronic patient portal. She appears younger than our three daughters, two of whom are now in their 50s, and the youngest will enter that decade in a couple of months. That’s fine. These days in our lives, nearly everyone else is younger.

Then this morning, we were confronted with an encore. Stopping by the familiar office suite shared by our optometrist and optician, I learned that Dr. K., our family’s optometrist for about 40 years, is planning to retire at the end of this year. Fortunately, he has added a younger associate to his practice in anticipation of this, so we will be able to switch to her care with ease.

Old age brings with it many changes that we predicted would come our way, but being set adrift when our longtime, trusted caregivers retire was not among them. Next time it happens, we will adjust. Again.








2 thoughts on “When your doctor retires

  1. Oh my! I’m starting to have these issues (or fears!) with our various healthcare providers. When I was younger, I should have found providers even younger than I was, but instead I chose people with great reputations that I came to trust. The up side is that I’m old enough now that when I have to find a new provider, they’re almost inevitably younger than I am, so eventually I’ll be set for life (or what I have left!).


    • Raleigh,
      Thanks for your post.
      It makes me think more about the changing stages of your wonderful generation that has contributed so much to our communities. Hope we can understand these challenges and struggles.
      Thanks again,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s