Details for Thank You 10/13/18 CH B&W
Thanks for a Wonderful Career! On September 30, 2018, I retired from the full time practice of Ophthalmology. I began my practice on August 13, 1981. When you are doing what you love, it is not easy to stop. Life is only so long and there are many things that you postpone because of work responsibilities… it is time to move to the next phase of life. The ambulatory surgery unit staff, ward secretaries, custodial staff, hospital operators have always treated the patients with efficiency, skill and compassion. The folks at admitting and who answered the front door were great, and the volunteers, I will miss you all. And I cannot forget the people who plow the snow, salt the walks, and keep the place running smoothly. No one could have asked for a happier or more successful practice than I have had in Chippewa Falls. My patients, the Hospital and its Staff, my office Staff and my partners, as well as good neighbors and family are responsible for my amazing life here. I cannot take credit for anything without the help of all of them. My office staff has always put patients first, and tried to be gentle, helpful and kind to our patients. They have kept me on task for clinic, surgery and correspondence. They laughed at my jokes and made certain that my charting was up to standards. They ordered supplies, dealt with billing and insurance, scheduling work times for employees and doctors, filed charts, fit spectacles and contact lenses, handled the difficulties of day to day stuff so I could take care of the medical and surgical needs of my patients. I am grateful to them for making my life so much less complicated. I am a fan of Albert Schweitzer and his thoughts are an echo of my own, he said: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” I love what I do and did. Every day was an opportunity to try to help someone, and on some days I actually was able to do that…then I was successful! Most of my patients were kind to me and to others, and that was a joy to behold. They trusted me and that made me work harder so I would not betray that trust. At times being an M.D. would tire me out, and my patients helped me continue with encouraging words and homemade gifts. Without their kindness and generosity, some days would have been very difficult. St. Joseph’s Hospital has helped me as well. When I wanted to perform the Hospital’s first intraocular lens implant 37 years ago, they asked what I needed and supplied the necessary surgical equipment and moved St Joes eye surgery into the 20th Century (It was the 20th century in 1981!). From there we worked together to perform the first retinal detachment repair, and along with Dr. Tom Dow’s help and expertise, the first corneal transplant. I remember the charity that Sister Francis showed to a patient of mine who had no finances to pay the hospital bill. He needed a surgery or he would have lost his vision in a few days. I told her I would drop my charges, would she do the same. Her answer was simple and typical of her and the Hospital’s mission, she said, “that’s why we are here, let’s do this together”. You could not do that today with governmental regulations, but I am sure, even today, if she were still alive, she would have figured something out. My partners have been so helpful to me. I was given some sound advice years ago. Hire people who are smarter than you. I was successful in following that advice when I hired Jeff Brown and Terry McCanna. They were both trained at Wills Eye Hospital, rated as one of the top Ophthalmology Hospitals in the United States. They are just plain smart. They brought their knowledge and ideas to daily interactions as we discussed patients. More importantly, however, is their ability to choose new technologies based upon their true merit rather than its purported benefit. They always place patients ahead of anything else. And best of all, their clinical judgement and surgical skills are amazing. I felt gifted by their expertise. I know that without gratitude, there can be no happiness. Only when you are truly grateful, can you be truly happy. I am grateful to all of you for allowing me to be part of your lives for so many years. And last but not least, I am eternally grateful to my patient, understanding and loving wife Sue and my children Anne and Joe, who stood by me through all the times when emergencies and long hours kept me from attending many of their sporting and school events, and family gatherings. In future years, I will follow Albert Einstein’s advice and: “Strive not to be a success, but to be of value.” I can only hope! Keep kindness alive and we will all be healers. Thanks again, Peter Holm, M.D.