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Always Doc? Who’s that? We’ve heard that I’m Frequently Happy, Sometimes Sneezy, Often Dopey and Rarely Bashful. And we know I’m an I/T guy with lots of outside interests. But Doc? Really?

No. I’m not Doc. I’m Never Doc. I have only Bachelor’s degrees and I can only name a few of the cruder body parts and I’m not a medical practitioner of any sort, so you can count me out on that score.

Always Doc is my Dad, and this post is an homage to a man with a purpose. Dad turned 82 this month and he’s not feeling very well. So after over 56 years of practicing medicine as a General Practitioner on the same street corner in Toronto, my Dad is hanging up his lab coat and taking down his shingle. This is a sad moment for Dad and his patients and it’s a bittersweet moment for my step-Mom and all of our siblings, children, nieces and nephews &c. Dad could have more time to spend with us… but he’s not feeling well, so he won’t at least for now. There’s nothing to complain about here. Way back when we were little, Dad was often scarce for one reason or another, but that’s the way it was with Dads back then. Since we’ve reached adulthood, and gotten our own spouses and little ones, Dad has always made time for us in his home and life and swimming pool.

Always Doc has always been the consummate Family Physician (to use the more current name for what used to be called a GP). It’s what he wanted to do since he was a boy in Toronto around World War II. He graduated from medical school in the mid-1950s; for over five decades he’s seen patients at his office most weekdays, done rounds at the hospitals, convalescent homes and long-term care facilities that housed his patients, and made house-calls and taken phone calls at home at all hours to care for and sometimes just reassure his many patients. In the early days he also caught lots of babies whenever (and wherever) they decided to be born, stitched up cuts, set bones, removed tonsils and foreskins, repaired hernias and sat on more boards and committees than you can shake an agenda (or stethoscope) at. It’s no wonder we didn’t see so much of him back then!

I know of people in their 50s who’ve only ever had Always Doc for a family doctor since they were born. Always Doc has been a caring father and a caring man and probably the best family doctor that most of his patients could ever have hoped for. He’s not perfect, but neither am I and neither are you, so get over it. His practice was recently given a regular check-up by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, as required by law every five years for physicians still practicing over the age of 75. After exhaustive interviews and reviews of paperwork, records and methods, the reviewer gave him a glowing report. Not only had Always Doc kept up the good work that had gotten him an excellent review five years earlier, he had implemented improvements to meet or exceed all of the reviewer’s suggestions from that previous session. The glow in my Dad’s face when he showed me that report was something to behold. Always Doc was smiling for weeks afterward! One of his friends had five years’ worth of new prescription pads printed up – ahead of time – as a very thoughtful gift.

Always Doc had hoped to practice for another five years, but as I say he’s not feeling well lately and he’s decided he just can’t continue. Now that he is retiring from practice, we’ll still have our Dad, but his patients mostly won’t have their Always Doc. I for one hope that he keeps his hand in the game by visiting some of the assisted living centres, homes for the aged and long-term care facilities where his older patients mostly now reside. I suspect that the longer he keeps helping others, the longer and happier his retirement will be. This would be good for him and for his patients and for us his family too. We’d love to have another twenty or thirty years to spend with Always Doc.

Here’s to you, Dad! You’re Always Doc!

alwaysgrumpy is Jonathan Gladstone, jbglad59@sympatico.ca or follow me on Twitter @jbglad59.

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One Comment

  1. how lovely!!! Our dear dad.

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One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Always Doc reprise / surprise « alwaysgrumpy on 16 Apr 2012 at 11:11 am

    […] down to my Dad’s place to help him and my step-Mom clean out his office. You’ll remember from a couple of posts back that I’m Never Doc… and my Dad is Always Doc, just retiring from his full-time medical practice […]

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