On this Father’s day, and every Father’s day since my father died, I like to think about all of the wonderful things he was to me – a loving father, an amazing doctor, a lover of life, a role model, and a believer in me.
As I reflect back about the numerous wonderful memories of my father, one memory sticks out to me – especially in this time of hopeful change. Since I was three years old – my father took me with him to the hospital on the weekends when he had to do rounds on his patients. He worked 7 days a week because he started his own practice and he never had a day off so if I wanted to spend time with him – it was with him in the hospital. I would hold his hand and walk as fast as I could trying to keep up with him as we flew down the hospital halls. He would drop me off at the nurses’ station and go to see his very sick patients. He was their doctor, but he was my hero. Even then as a young child there was no one else I looked up to more than him.
When we would go out to dinner as a family – we would often run into his patients who would come up to our table and tell us how he had saved their life and what an amazing doctor he was. All I knew, for as long as I can remember, is that I wanted to do what he did. And I wanted to work with him. He was the best doctor I had ever known – brilliant, compassionate and so hard working that I made it my goal to make this happen.
Fast forward 30 years – I was just about to finish my training to be an Interventional Cardiologist (yes – it took that long) to fulfill my wish of “doing what he did”. After 4 years of medical school, I had to do an internship and residency for 3 years, a Cardiology fellowship for another 3 years and then an Interventional Cardiology fellowship for another year on top of that. But finally – I was ready to fulfill my wish of working side by side with my father.
During those 30 years, my father had added two men to join his practice and they were both full partners by the time I was ready to join. I had known them both for decades and they had watched me grow up and go through all of my training. So, it came as quite a shock when they told my father that they wouldn’t allow me to join the practice.
“Why?” my father asked incredulously. The answer was because I was a woman. In their opinion, I was going to join the practice, have babies and take their hard-earned money!
One would think this would be a major dilemma for my father. He had started his own practice over 30 years prior and built it from the ground up. He had 3 offices, a staff of about 25 and had earned an impeccable reputation in the medical world. But he had no dilemma. He walked out that of the practice that day – left everything. He didn’t even need to think about it. He brought one assistant with him and found another office and didn’t look back.
I joined him the following year and we worked together for four amazing years after that. These were truly the best years of my career which I will always cherish. I still miss him every single day. When I walk down hospital hallways I still remember holding his hand. I still feel his presence right there by my side, cheering me on and supporting me every step of the way.
Thanks for letting me share my story.
Happy Father’s Day everyone.
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