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Hangin' Up the Spurs... .

Posted by VancePants on Monday, October 28, 2013

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Just completed my last weekend call at the hospital... and my last day as a faculty physician (Ob/Gyn) is, aptly enough, Halloween!

I've been on every other weekend call for the past 6 1/2 years (as well as every other Thursday)... and that's an improvement over my previous private practice obligations. After 32 years of not sleeping like a normal person whilst practicing the "Art of Medicine", i'm more than ready to hang 'em up.

Seen so many changes in the field since my residency training... and most, sadly to say, have been for the worse.  Reminds me of family farmers being crushed under the boot of "agri-business".  It's gotten corporatized... homogenized... and sanitized... with layers of administrators and bureaucrats.  Now there's more staring at computers... clickin' mice... following protocols (that may... or may not apply to the individual... and reflect insurance mandates versus medical best practices)... than direct interaction with patients.

Cynicism aside... it's been a great run.  Had the privilege of caring for patients and earning their trust/respect... and toward the end of my career, teaching Family Medicine residents the art of obstetrical practice, including cesarean delivery techniques... along wit other women's health care issues.  The interaction with the docs in-training will be what i will miss the most.

Anyway... "onward and upward" i always say: i'm in good health... still married... have a "nest egg"... Social Security in still there (whew!)... and am greatly lookin' forward to a balance of being active physically (tennis, bike riding... hiking) and relaxin' (yard work n' banjer)... as well as more time with family, and perhaps some travel.

This Friday the Residency Program is throwing a party at a cool restaurant (think there's a 3 drink maximum cuz' you can do laps in the Margaritas)... and i've had several requests to play my banjo.  Ain't gonna happen... just gonna kick back... reflect upon the journey... and enjoy the moment.

Cheers all!

54 comments on “Hangin' Up the Spurs... .”

Andyincov Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @7:49:10 AM

congratulations! Not wishing my time away, but retirement sounds like something worth looking forward to.

MrManners Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @8:05:04 AM

Doctor Ken.
when i grew up in a small town the family Doctor,put cast on broken arms,delivered babies and did some surgeries,malpractice was a word i never heard nor knew the meaning of.You didn't have to sign a paper ever 5 minutes giving up your privacy on your records nor were you worried about whether they were private or not.On occasion the doctor made house calls, one being me in a hurry coming to this world.
Insurance companies buy any law they want.seatbelts, tobacco etc.
Maybe you can at least sleep like a normal person, but remember you do play clawhammer.You really should do Clifftop next year,there are medical professionals there---Tom

AB Junior Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @8:21:58 AM

Congratulations Ken! I'm in the business and have heard similar sentiments expressed as yours more and more frequently over the past few years. We just finished a system-wide EHR installation that had more than one seasoned physician think about heading into retirement just a bit sooner! Enjoy the time with your family, friends and of course, your banjos!

Laurence Diehl Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @8:22:32 AM

Ken, I salute your service in what must be the most litigated field of medicine. I take your point about the insurance companies making up the rules - if I get hit by a truck I'll go to the doc - until then, I'm my own health advocate. My BP is 120/80 and my cholesterol is <200, how am I doing? ;>) And here's wishing you an easy transition into the next stage for you. Balance is the key. Maybe we will see more of you around the hangout too! (hope so)

banjerman Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @8:42:01 AM

Thanks for all you have done for the sick Ken. My doctor says almost verbatum what you mentioned.

rgoad Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @8:42:53 AM

Ken, thank you from the heart. I know what you mean about the changes in the profession putting up a wall. But you cared and it showed. Now you can doctor on hearts and souls with your music.

FWIW, you really should play at the party. You have a gift that does not belong under a bushel basket.

VancePants Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @9:14:00 AM

Wow... some great comments, fer sure!
Andy: yer right mate... stay in the moment and enjoy each day, but realize if you are fortunate, retirement can be a gift.
Tom: I hear ya man... "the times they are a-changin'"... but not like Dylan thought. Of course, there is still room for compassion and personal care... but it's "against the grain". Clifftop?... hmmm.
Abdul: Yep... EHR's (electronic health records) have made many of us wish for the old days of direct and efficient "paper charts"! The hospital record I used for labor and delivery back in SW Virginia was just 1 page with all the pertinent info at a mere glance... now... if I printed out the hospital EHR for a laboring patient... it exceeds 50 pages... the vast majority of which has no impact on medical decisions and much to do with medical liability CYA. Our particular product attempts to be a "Doc in a box" with many intrusive prompts... none of which are remotely helpful... unless the attending physician is a moron:)
Big L: yer doin' great sir... and a damn fine musician t'boot! Yep, no substitute for a healthy lifestyle... so please, DON"T ya git hit by no semi!
BanjerMan: thanks pardner... i'm afraid many docs of my generation are whistful n' sad 'bout the direction of the medical profession... .
Rick: as usual... your kindness is showing.
Hmmm... i'm off today... perhaps i'll record a vid... feelin' like Cumberland Gap!

muzzlehatch Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @10:26:10 AM

Congratulations and best wishes on your retirement!

alfiedog Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @11:36:19 AM

Enjoy it Ken, and i know what you can do with all your spare time. "Start playing the Fiddle" :-O Only joking :-) i tried that it doesnt work mate :-)

VancePants Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @11:52:24 AM

Thank you Phil... and Eddie, well I'll "fiddle away" enough time fer sure mate!
Now... back to recordin' that vid!

Wills Creek Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @2:34:05 PM

Jump in Ken the waters fine ! Enjoy yourself ! Have is the best policy.

jack_beuthin Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @5:39:47 PM

Congratulations Ken! I am envious, but I can see barn off on yonder horizon. Hope you have many enjoyable years of banjo pickin' and whatever suits your fancy.

VancePants Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @5:55:46 PM

Will do Frank... but takin' yer advice to "jump"... not dive in... might be too shallow!
Hey Jack... appreciate the sentiment sir. Oh... keep them horses warm n' dry in that barn... unless ya be a-ridin' 'em... winter's a-comin':->)

twayneking Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @6:29:43 PM

Congratulations. It's such a good time to be retiring with the medical field headed where it's headed. I know your patients will miss you. Vaya con Dios!

LNP Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @6:39:09 PM

I'll bet a bunch of folks will be missing you for quite awhile Ken.

VancePants Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @7:02:19 PM

Well Tom and Larry... I do hope at least some of my patient think of me with fondness and some sense of the appreciation of the training, long-hours... call-nights and continuing education... but what I really appreciate, is not ever gettin' sued! Now if only the med-mal insurance company would refund just half of what I paid 'em... i'd be sittin' pretty!

Chadbanjo Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @7:08:19 PM

Good for you man, enjoy your retirement. I think you deserve another banjo. To hell with the 3 drinks, have more, bring your banjo :)

VancePants Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @7:15:46 PM

Funny Mr. Chad Man... heck yeah... let them carry me out o' the place!
It's funny, but unlike most other folks when they heard I was retirin'... no one has asked: "Now what are ya gonna do with yerself?".
My first impulse is to take on a blank stare... pause and say... "Dunno... um, sit in a chair n' drool?". It's like i'd just wander aimlessly and mutter... which I may do when i'm a bit older... ha!

Paul R Says:
Monday, October 28, 2013 @11:26:08 PM

Wow! Does that sound familiar! Toward the end of my teaching career, when you met a fellow teacher you hadn't seen in a while, almost the first question asked was, "How long 'til you retire?" When I started, it was the most fun you could have and be legal. Then they invented paperwork.

Here's wishing you all the best in your new life. Now you'll have time to do more things for yourself, although, if you're like some of us, you'll be pretty busy sitting on boards of non-profits, jamming , and so on. Sit in a chair and drool? Maybe add, "Sit and listen to my arteries harden." (You really ought to think about doing one tune at the party.) Have fun!

Marinie Toman Says:
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 @3:36:22 AM

as they say in Ireland all the Breast and Bust of Luck in your new chapter, and of course health to enjoy your retirement, maybe see ya over here on your travels some day,lol

BanjoFlyboy Says:
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 @4:38:53 AM

Ken, all the best in your retirement and second career as a banjoist! Every day is now Saturday, so wishing you many many more!! Danny,aka "FlyBoy"

VancePants Says:
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 @6:38:50 AM

Yessir Paul.... the Overseerers and reams of regulation-based "paperwork" (or benchmarks) have really changed the character of our professions.
Thanks Marinie... and a breast n' bust t'ya as well! Yep, good health is the key... and perhaps we'll wander over to The Emerald Land that you call home... only been there once before... stunning.
Danny... seems like you got this retirement thing down pat... i'll be attending your next Seminar sir.

goose Says:
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 @6:46:31 AM

Much respect Ken, congratulations~

Banjoista8N Says:
Thursday, October 31, 2013 @2:56:23 PM

Every ending is a new beginning...congratulations...and play on!

VancePants Says:
Thursday, October 31, 2013 @3:11:14 PM

Thank you "Mr. T" (aka Bill)... yep... today is bittersweet... reflecting on many years "on the front lines" of medical care for women... reading thank you cards from patients... some photos with newborns, etc..
But as you said sir: "Play on".... cuz' we're all... crazy diamonds... .

jamesd Says:
Thursday, October 31, 2013 @4:13:38 PM

Ken, I really hope you enjoy your retirement. I thought doctors never actually really retire. Wishing you the best in your new leisure and if you retire from your banjo playing, you can always send them to me in North Carolina. Best wishes.

VancePants Says:
Thursday, October 31, 2013 @4:24:31 PM

Oops.... missed ya Dave and appreciate the sentiment.
Well Mike... not sure about "exciting new challenges"... i'm thinkin' more comfortable and long-term(:->) And yep, unfortunately, folks at The Hangout will have to endure more of my... ahem... "playin'"... ha!
James... James... James... shame on you my friend... already lustin' after me banjers! And furthermore... all my banjers are happy here on the FrontRange... and don't like travelin' in their cramped cases:)

Banjoista8N Says:
Thursday, October 31, 2013 @5:55:56 PM

Love the "crazy diamond"/PF reference Doc!
That's what I'm talking 'bout!
Shine On!

VancePants Says:
Thursday, October 31, 2013 @8:05:48 PM

Solid Bill... "ROGER (Waters) that"... heh, heh.

ccress Says:
Monday, November 11, 2013 @5:21:17 PM

Oh Wow!! Plop,Plop,Fizz,Fizz,Oh what A Relieve It what I'll be singing when and If I ever get to retire...hahahha I am sure you will love whats in store for you.No more crazy hours and being home doing whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it.Enjoy,enjoy! Congrats to you Ken!!!

VancePants Says:
Monday, November 11, 2013 @5:58:59 PM

Hey Cathy... Got Leisure??? Ha!!!!
Yep... my goal was to quit my medical practice before I died... or became demented. Pretty sure I accomplished the former... not so sure 'bout the latter.
Hopefully, I won't drive my sweet wife crazy... cuz' there will be... mo' banjo!!!

Denton Says:
Thursday, November 14, 2013 @10:50:37 PM

Congradulations. Now about your second career?

VancePants Says:
Friday, November 15, 2013 @7:12:58 AM

Second career??? Hmmm... stayin' fit n' healthy.... and laughing as much as reality permits (otherwise, folks think yer nuts:).
I did buy myself a new bike... a Trek 7.3 and ride every day the weather permits... otherwise, it's on the elliptical in the evenings... and forty+ push-ups a day.
Oh... and did I mention mo' banjo???

Cheers all and thank you for your kind interest in this change... for the better!

GrizClaw Says:
Friday, November 15, 2013 @8:43:39 PM

Hey Doc.....I noticed that you sold your Romero......are you getting a new banjo as a retirement present to yourself? I wish you good health and happiness in retirement and looking forward to a lot more videos!! Regards, Rick ( also happily retired)

VancePants Says:
Saturday, November 16, 2013 @7:46:34 AM

Astute observation o' retired one:) Yep... sold the Romero cuz' it wasn't one that I ordered from Jason... and plan a new custom from Colin Vance... when he returns from a trip abroad in January.
Oh... is there any other way to be retired, other than "happily"? Cheers Rick!

guywolff Says:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 @12:29:30 PM

I think the time has come for a collection of banjos .. Different times of the day need different tones .. Frettless at 7:30 . A nice tubaphone at noon a White Lady at 5:00 pm and so on .. Also there are jams around the country you need to get to for the rest of us .Some time at Clifftop... Jim Bollman at the Music Emporium Lexington MA. is worth a trip as is Burnunzio Upptown music In Rochester New York for great collections of banjos .. One From Chuck L ,Kevin E and Kevin F and Jason R oh and Greg G as well ... The Uk friends of Old Time might be a good trip ... If I can help with any other ideas just let me know . Now I have to get back out to the Pottery and work.Since Im living the dream there will be no retirement .. All the best , Guy

VancePants Says:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 @1:44:58 PM

Dang Guy... ya got it all planned my man!
Now... if I ever get t'playin' a banjer... any of 'em... anywhere's near you... then i'd be down with that son. But fer now... guess i'll jest be inchin' n' clawin' my way along this murky, convoluted path... and just maybe, i'll find me a jam where folks won't run fer the hills... ha! Cheers and thanks fer yer thoughts!

Torben Pedersen Says:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 @2:26:22 PM

Great Kenneth. - I`m sure you will enjoy....just like me....No meeting at job in the morning, or the night.....Playing music, when you want to, and when you are in the mood for it.. ... I really feel privileged......Congrats to you.

VancePants Says:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 @2:38:37 PM

I'll echo that "privileged"... we're "lucky ducks" fer sure Torben. Working a straight-up week on Labor and Delivery... or in Clinic was not that big an issue... it was the weekends and night call that got to me.
It's hard to describe the "ugh" feeling of those proverbial 2am phone calls from the hospital... and not infrequently, the resident docs are in a "spot of bother"... and I gotta get there pronto, rain, sleet r' snow.
Now I don't have no call... at all! Thanks pal.

kevinwholmes Says:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 @4:32:33 PM

Enjoy. Relax. Shoot the phone, then the TV. Learn a new instrument. Learn MANY new instruments. Don't join the circus; the hours and pay suck. 😊

VancePants Says:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 @4:58:50 PM

Thanks Kevin... good advice... but never felt the slightest urge to join the circus... there's enough of that all around us... um, especially the daily dose of Clownin' in the Capital... political sideshows, ad nauseum(;->)

kevinwholmes Says:
Thursday, November 21, 2013 @2:21:39 PM


Tom Smith Says:
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 @3:17:33 AM

Congratulations, Ken! Stay busy but have fun, or stay busy having fun if you can. Have you moved back east yet?

VancePants Says:
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 @6:40:50 AM

I like the "stay busy having fun" part Tom! We've decided to stay around the FrontRange (Windsor/Loveland Colorado) and we sold our home and moved into a rental (in the same S/D)... and building on a .4 acre lot in a very nice S/D with more greenspace than homes and scenic mountain/open space views. My wife's desire to be closer to her fam in TN was driving the move... but she suddenly decided she preferred it here (like me) and plane tickets a couple of times a year are no big deal:)
Retirement is basically like an extended vacation... love it! It's so nice when there's a "pay-off" at the end of a lot of long days and nights. Cheers friend!

JanetB Says:
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 @4:25:31 PM

Cheers to you, Doc Ken. This will be your first Thanksgiving when you're perhaps not on call. Blessings upon your retirement. Maybe I'll get inspired one of these years soon, too...

CGDA Says:
Monday, June 23, 2014 @12:44:35 AM

Hi Doc,
I'm also a retired doc (since January 1, 2014). I was a general and emergency surgeon, later a practitioner. I'm very amazed considering how much your afterthoughts are similar to mine, in spite we are living in different Continents. I suspect our love for the banjo is the same too! ;o))
All the Best:

VancePants Says:
Monday, June 23, 2014 @8:12:18 AM

Greetings Marco... interesting that we share similar sentiment on the State of the Medical Arts, and that we retired within a few months of each other. Not sure how much "burn out" and being on a short leach colored my thinking, but i am sure that i'm ab-so-lutely loving retirement!
One of the residents invited me to their graduation... so i guess i'll see my faculty colleagues and their charges at least one more time... and their may be a twinge o'nostalgia... but no regrets.
Cheers, and hoping you enjoy each day going forward sir.

reedbanjo Says:
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @11:44:15 AM

Now that you are retiring - you can slow down. Wade Ward never EVER played Chilly Winds very fast. I think that was one of the beauties of his getting along in years - he just wasn't in a rush. Not in playin' string music, or much of anything......
I went to visit him at his home, and as I knocked and waited, a neighbor lady came walkin' over. "You ain't-a-gonna find him home's Thursday.....and that's his courtin' day." At 85, or whatever he was then - I thought it was comforting to know that he still had priorities.....
............. Reed Martin

VancePants Says:
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @12:30:31 PM

Well Reed... that's great advice and another cool story, fer sure.
When i went to record my version of CW, i had just played along with the recording of Mr. Wards. I think my tempo is within +/- 5 bpm of his... just done the best i could on short notice:)
Anyway... thanks so much for sharing! Best Regards, Ken.

Colin Vance Says:
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 @10:53:03 PM

Really great to know you have some cool banjos to kick back with in this retirement phase... You deserve it it seems my good man!

VancePants Says:
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 @7:58:42 AM

Whoa... da man his-self dropped by! Well Colin... not sure 'bout "deserve"... but lucky, fer sure. Yep, banjers be a fixture in my day, and i've gone "all in" for yours, hence my new BHO tag: "VancePants".
It's been special getting to know a bit about you... and fortunate to have someone with your passion and skill work with me on the 3 builds. (nice that yer holding a banjo and not a fiddle in yer new pic!)
Best t' ya mate!

Colin Vance Says:
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 @12:56:21 PM

:) Ken, I appreciate working with folks like yourself so incredibly much. I Really mean it. The confidence and trust and enthusiasm all compel me so the much more to always do my best. And if we can all encourage that in one another, well Im in. .......ya I haven't been here in a while but checking in around these parts is a good thing:) Thanks again VancePants!

garman Says:
Thursday, November 26, 2015 @9:57:52 AM

Ken, best of luck in retirement. At least you have your second career starter, banjer. You are an awesome player. Keep on keepin on.

VancePants Says:
Thursday, November 26, 2015 @10:30:41 AM

Lucky to be retired from an engaging career in medicine... very stressful at times, but rewarding to be sure. Banjer is the perfect companion, along with family and dog "Lucy". Health/fitness is surprisingly good and yep, "keepin' on" be the only way t' fly!
Cheers and best t' ya as well!

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