LCHM Summer 2017 - 24
had not one, but two critical Emergency Room admissions to my
Internal Medicine service. 7C just
called to ask me why I hadn't been
up to the unit yet to discharge Mrs. Kimmel.
I didn't even know her; she was my partner's
patient. Then, I realized I had only seen three
patients on rounds and had at least fifteen
more to see. And I promised my wife I would
be home by two that afternoon. And then:
I was drenched in sweat, my heart was racing,
and I sensed that familiar knot in my stomach.
And then, suddenly, a wave of glorious relief.
"I'm retired! I don't have to do this anymore!"
24 Lehigh County Health & Medicine | SUMMER 2017
BY GENE H. GINSBERG, M.D.
After six years of retirement, I still get "professor of economics" to "I'm still working;
recurrent variations of this dream. What I'm a lawyer. In fact, I'm working right now."
does it mean? Was it that bad? Or do I miss Then it's, "How about you?" I pause. "Well,
it that much?
I was a physician. Well, I'm still a doctor, but
not really. Ah, I don't see patients anymore, but
I have stopped trying to analyze my dream, I guess I'm still a doctor." I turn away ever so
but I still have that nagging feeling of an existen- slightly so that I miss any mixed facial signals.
tial dichotomy. Doctoring, after all, somewhat My new friend will now address me as "Doc"
defined my life for so many years. And now, I every time I pass him at the Clubhouse, the
am a doctor AND a mere mortal. Do I define dining room or even on the street.
my life by what I did or by who I am?
So, many people call me "Doc." I really don't
I am reminded of a frequent scenario. I am in mind , and I rather enjoy it, but I am realistic
a golf cart, matched up with a golfer from my enough to know that it might be an easy way
club who I have never met before. Somewhere out for simply forgetting my real name.
on the course, I usually ask, "So, what did
you do in your past life?" Answers vary from
In my brief study of retirement, I have
"software engineer" to "full time military" to learned that it is important to hold onto your