While straightening the deck chairs on my personal Titanic, I received a letter from my MD, which I'll paraphrase. "Toad, it says, bad news dude. I've been your personal physician for 37 years, but I'm hanging up my sign. At the end of April I begin my semi-retirement by transferring 7/8's of my patients to other doctors in the community. (A smarter guy might have sold the practice, just sayin'.) The remainder I will continue to serve on a concierge basis. The first to mail in their retainer stay, the rest go. In the mean time I hope to minimize your inconvenience. So long and thanks for all the fish." (I suspect he's been watching too much Royal Pains.)
Bummer. In my 20's, 30's and 40's stopping by once a decade or so worked OK for each of us. In my 50's it's been two times more per year than I'd like, and I'm soon be ramping up towards the age when people see their doctor every few weeks, just to get out of the house. When I planned on needing him most, I'll be abandoned, lost in the wilderness.
Paying up prolongs the inevitable. He wants to quit, selfishly I want him to stay. To leave now, while in good health or in several years feels like the same option. Fortunately, I live in a community where MD's are thick on the ground, so here's what I've made up my mind to do.
I want to find an MD finishing his/her residency this spring, and become their first patient. The likelihood of them knowing anything useful now is slim, but I don't ask for much now. Down the road, when they are smarter, and I'm sicker, they'll be so grateful for my being their first patient and sticking with them, they'll work extra hard to keep me alive.
If you have a better plan, let me know. I'm all ears.