Opening My Own Practice: The Rest is History
I worked as a general surgeon in Des Moines for about 8 years. I became a little bit burnt out with the amount of work after a while. When you’re a general surgeon you have to be on call all the time in a solo practice: nights, holidays, weekends, Christmas, Fourth of July. I was always working. I would leave very early and come back when it was night. My kids were young and I didn’t get to see them very much. Betty and I made a decision to change to a specialty, in order for it to be easier on our lifestyle. That way I could spend more time with my family.
Over the course of two years, I sub-specialized in vein surgery. I went to Europe and many different countries to learn the specialty, since these training programs did not exist in the United States at the time. I decided to specialize in vein surgery in the late eighties and that was also a very good decision, because there was nobody doing that kind of specialty in Iowa. I was the first one. So the practice became pretty busy right away. I got another surgeon to work with me and then two other female doctors, so we became a big office. From a solo practitioner to a 16-person practice, that’s a big change.
I don’t really know when I’m going to retire. I think it will happen in the next three or four years. I am not looking forward to retirement, I like to be busy and do things, so I have to find something else to do. It will not be easy for me since I enjoy my career as much as I do. I would like to become involved in the community a little more, volunteer somewhere and try to help other people. Basically, I’m delaying that part of my life as much as I can.