by Patricia Wyatt-Harris, MD
This year has been full of interesting, new situations. Many transitions have been made from the lives we were living before COVID-19 to the lives we are living now. I am getting ready for another transition: I am going to retire at the end of 2020.
I have been thinking about this for a long time, but announcing and planning for the change have just started.
I met with my office staff to determine how to reschedule future appointments to other doctors in our practice starting in January. One of my receptionists asked, “When you were younger did you ever really think about how to do this?” I always knew it would happen sometime, but it always seemed so far away.
Mailing a letter to all my patients didn’t seem like a good idea because the office would be swamped with phone calls. We decided on a plan to notify patients incrementally, and that will be starting soon.
I have started telling my patients. This news has been met with mixed reactions. A lot of patients say, “Oh, no, what am I going to do next year?” Some say, “I knew this was coming.” These statements are usually followed by “Congratulations!” and “Enjoy your retirement.”
I have some very long-term relationships with patients and their families. For example, I have delivered many babies for women whom I actually delivered. Ending these relationships is difficult.
Some have asked what I plan to do when I retire. I have written about being a grandma, which I love. Spending more time with my family is my first priority. I am also a musician. I play the violin and I take piano lessons, so I am looking forward to having more time for these activities. We also plan to travel in our camper as much as possible.
I have been called a “trailblazer” at times because I was the first married female resident in the Wesley Ob-Gyn residency. I was the first female resident in that residency to have a baby during training. Academic milestones were always planned for me, but I had to figure out how to have a fulfilling family life while becoming a physician.
There aren’t any handbooks out there to tell people how to retire. Lots of people are willing to give financial advice. My husband and I have navigated the transition to Medicare, which is quite confusing, even for a doctor. I am joyfully looking forward to blazing another trail into retirement.