I feel great. Like most people my age, I have some health challenges, but I like to celebrate how great I feel. You never know when that might change.
Like it did the Sunday night almost ten years ago when I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen as I got up from the sofa to go to bed. It came on me so suddenly that I decided to call urgent care at my health plan. The nurse told me to come in first thing in the morning, but since my regular doctor was away, she made me an appointment with a Dr. Bauer. Of course she told me that if the pain intensified, I should go to the emergency room.
In the morning, I dressed for work, expecting to be a little late, but moments into my appointment, Dr. Bauer sent me to the hospital for what turned out to be emergency surgery for my about-to-burst appendix. I was so grateful that I wrote him a thank you note and asked if he would become my primary care physician. He agreed.
Since then, he has been my savior on several occasions--like the time he identified a lump on my parathyroid and sent me off to a specialist for crucial and successful surgery. Or when he was worried about the result of a routine blood test and sent me to a hematologist who has managed my Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia for the past five years. Almost a year ago when I struggled with retiring, he prescribed medication to help me sleep and called me regularly to see how I was doing.
On Friday, he retired.
In the spring, when he wrote to his patients to announce that he had decided to retire, I immediately replied, telling him that he couldn't do that. He's younger than I am. How could he retire?
When I saw him for my annual checkup last month, we had a great conversation about retirement and the future. And then we said good-bye.
Before I left, Dr. Bauer helped me choose a new doctor. I am sure she will be terrific. But it won't be the same.