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Losing My Footing

I have a neuroimmune illness that for years was considered not to be “real” but that changed my life. On top of that, I’m unable to tolerate many medications, which have too often been prescribed for me with no consideration of what I’ve told doctors about their debilitating side effects. But about eighteen years ago, an angel entered my life in the form of a physician who did his initial training in India and then finished up in New York. I don’t know if it was his Eastern orientation that made him so patient-oriented, listening seriously when I needed his help, but he was perfect.

There’s something important about finding such a doctor when most physicians you’ve encountered haven’t heard what you tell them. He was younger and had also recently built a new office building, so I figured he would be in practice for some time to come.

But earlier this year, he suddenly began taking days off at the last minute. Then he disappeared for six weeks on an extended vacation. When he came back, he was different. Shaky. He told me that work had become so busy, so stressful, that he had sold his practice to a conglomerate. Then they added a really awful doctor to the practice and mine went to three days a week; it became impossible to get appointments with him, since no one wanted to see the other doctor.

My own career was as a clinical psychologist, so it was clear to me by then that my doctor had been dealing with something like a nervous breakdown, struggling to cope but unable to. He told me he was retiring at the end of the month.

For his sake, I wanted him to retire and be at peace. But my bond with him had been so strong, I felt as if I were losing a family member. I haven’t found a new doctor yet. It’s hard to start the process after you’ve experienced the best: a doctor with a heart. I miss him terribly.

Pris Campbell
Lake Worth, Florida


4 thoughts on “Losing My Footing”

  1. Pris, this story reminds me of the family created in doctor – patient relationships, and with other health care workers. I’m sorry you lost a valuable family member and are grieving that loss with such tenderness. May you find another doctor that feels like home.

    1. Your reply really nails how I feel. He was indeed family to me and now I’ll never see him again. My family saw our hometown doctor as a continuing friend until the day he died. He remained in our lives to my greatest gratitude.

  2. so sorry for your experience (the loss of your good doctor, not having the experience of having one). I am a family doctor, work in a residency training program, and at an early point made the decision to stay where I was so that I would have continuity with my patients as well as they with me. It was a very good decision.

    1. What a good decision. It really is important to have that continuity and not leave your patients searching to start over with a new doctor. I treasured the doctor I saw first at age three. He stayed in my hometown until a heart attack took him before he retired. Whenever I went back to my hometown he was still my doctor and my good friend.

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