I am a 72 year old single female, living alone. I have been a patient of my Internist/Primary Care doctor for over 26 years. Last week I received a letter from him that he was retiring today, February 23, 2018. The letter had been sent out in January but was lost in the mail. It so happened that I called his office for an appointment and his secretary told me. I was able to see him this past Wednesday for a Wellness exam (otherwise known in the day as a "Physical"!) and discussion of my future plans. Ever since learning this I have been crying off and on. During my appointment I asked that we leave "Discussion" for last. We proceeded through my exam and tests happily chatting away. It came time to "Discuss" and I looked at him and said, "I'm devastated". He stared back at me and I again said "I'm absolutely devastated" that you're leaving. I think I shocked him a bit and he apologized; I told him how happy I am that he is retiring and will be able to relax and do things that he never had the time for. We talked about possible routes for me to take in finding a new doctor/hospital. I gave him a letter to read and he said he thought I'd want him to read it later and I shook my head yes. It was a thank you for his years of care. Then the time came for me to leave. He shook my hand and I kissed him on the cheek and told him how very much I am going to miss him. He was a bit sheepish and had a slight tear in his eye and shook his head yes and when he opened to door to leave I heard a low heavy sigh.
Today he surprised me by calling with test results (which are also printed on MyChart for me to access). I was very cheerful and we discussed the results which were good and I again wished him well and he reciprocated by "Be well, Jane". I hung up the phone and burst into tears and am still crying 9 hours later!
I've had several type losses over the past two years that have affected my life. Right now I am alone, feel abandoned, frightened, so so sad. With the medical community changing the way it has into big business conglomerates, doctors' time and office hours have diminished. It has become a business, not a doctor's office. My doctor was "my main man" who was there when I needed him and/or would refer me to the particular specialist(s). When I think I am never going to see him again I panic.
I met him 26+ years ago when referred by a neurologist. Before, I had been seeing all types of doctors to get a diagnosis that none of them could give me. This doctor took all sorts of tests and I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. He cured me and it was a very emotional time for me finally knowing what was making me so sick. He also was very instrumental for me to obtain disability from my firm.
I do not plan to rush into anything – meaning getting a new doc right at this moment. I will do my homework and either go back to his group of doctors (prior to that for 24 of my years with him he had his own practice) or select one closer to my home. There are also City MDs near me should I get sick and a good hospital. His office was uptown Manhattan and it took time and cost to make my visit. He was so smart and caring that it didn't matter and I felt I was where the best doctors were – in the big City and not one of the outlying boros. (That's because I had issue with my GP before the Lyme.) I mentioned these added factors as I believe they have impacted why I feel the way I do.
My question is How Do I Cope – What do I do to ease my grief, because that's exactly what it feels like. I did have a psychologist tell me that it was indeed grief – a big loss- and it will take several weeks to adjust to the new whatever. I'd appreciate your thoughts.