To my wonderful patients from West Lake Family Practice,
This note is a month overdue, not from neglect, but from the inadequacy of my words each time I sat down to write. I simply cannot express what a privilege it has been to care for you and your families. Many of you have been trusting your healthcare to me for almost two decades- first at my practice on 38th street and then in Westlake. I truly cherish our friendships and shared experiences- through occasionally bewildering medical challenges and with your "real life" experiences, both the joyous and the sorrowful. When I think about the practice of medicine, it's not about cancer, diabetes, weight, heart attacks, depression or sore throats- it's about the complete person dealing with these challenges, and his or her stories and relationships. That is why I love family medicine.
When I took what I had hoped to be a six month leave of absence last year to finish up two writing projects, I had every intention of returning to WLFP. Unfortunately, publishing world turnover created chaos in one project, extending my leave to a full year. Meanwhile, medical care is obviously in the midst of upheaval and evolution, and primary care practices in particular have been swept up in these changes. WLFP is no exception, as I am sure you are aware. Like any business, our practice both gained and lost personnel as the ownership changed hands. I believe many of these changes in healthcare will push the practice of medicine in the right direction (such as electronic medical records) but patience is required, as the growing process can be challenging for all of us. With all of these changes, however, the timing is right for me to make another transition in my career.
Although I miss the patients, co-workers and staff at WLFP, I am truly enjoying being back at the University of Texas, seeing students in the urgent care area of the health center. (The reflection from my Aggie ring makes all that burnt orange look maroon...) Seriously, though, please make sure your current Longhorn students know I am available for them! Additionally, many of you know that I have been working with our Bishop Emeritus, John McCarthy, on his book (very near publication), and I am excited to bring my life full circle soon by joining the team at Seton's McCarthy Clinic (named in his honor.)
A special thank you to Cary Douglass, MD, for inviting me to work at WLFP a decade ago, and always supporting my editing, writing, publishing, and media adventures. To Scott Gaertner, MD, & Kristyn Fagerberg, MD, I miss you both and wish you success at West Hills Family Health Center.
To Mary Sue and the front office staff, thanks for juggling my schedule without complaint. To Deana and Lorie, I know you will keep taking great care of our patients, thank you! To Virginia, all the best...until we meet again.
BOTTOM LINE: My dear patients, I will not say goodbye, but only "till we meet again"...and many thanks for your trust and friendship.