The Times They Are A-Changing!
I was born in the Territory of Hawaii in the pre-World War II days when economy of those Pacific islands was strongly tied to agriculture — mainly sugar cane and pineapples grown on plantations that covered almost every available acre. Dr. Garton Wall, plantation physician, delivered me from my mother’s womb in Honolulu on a night he covered the on-call schedule for his town-based friends at Kapiolani Hospital, a fine institution, which is still operating today, 84 years later.
In my teen-age years, when I announced I wanted to attend medical school, Dr. Joseph Palma, a pediatrician, invited me to spend some time with him at work to see what the practice of medicine was all about. I’ll never forget what he said that day. As we walked side by side through the lobby of his busy clinic, Dr. Palma put his hand on my shoulder and forcefully said, “Richard, remember this. You take care of your patients and they will take care of you.”
Likewise, in Santa Rosa, California, Dr. Lee Zieber, a general practitioner and the man who would later be my father-in-law, served his patients by answering their telephone calls at home on weekends and in the evening. He
made house calls using an old battered sedan and sometimes a horse drawn carriage in rural areas where the roads were not paved. He often accepted prunes, chickens or other farm products for his fees.
Compare those memories with the practice of medicine in the year 2018 and you will understand why I currently urge everyone to be an active participant in every aspect of their health care. Today, no matter how dedicated caregivers want to be, there are so many rules and regulations imposed by governments and health insurance carriers that an enormous amount of professional’s time is taken up dealing with those ever-changing issues, leaving less and less time for their patients’ needs and concerns.
Fortunately, there is a great deal of assistance readily available. I learned the basics of medicine using weighty, bound textbooks such as Gray’s Anatomy and Harrison’s Principles Internal Medicine. Today, current electronic editions of those or similar titles are instantly found on-line. In addition, there is so much more information available through the Internet, as well as publications such as Aging Well Denver. This newsletter focuses on providing information designed to help nearly anyone better understand and assist them as they manage their family’s health issues. The publication’s focus on the prevention of disease and decreasing the rate of aging is especially welcome to me.
I am looking forward to reading the first edition of Aging Well Denver and, perhaps adding an article or two in the future based my own unique perspective and experience.