Still here.

We’ve been back for 3 months now. It feels like a lifetime.

I’ve been working per-diem. More than I’d like, but we’re always short-handed and it’s hard to say no. Moreover every shift contributes towards the next airfare, the next Khao-soy, the next adventure.

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The best thing I bought was getting a new lease on life for Gypsy. One night, a couple of months ago, she was actively dying. We mourned her through the night. The next morning the vet recommended surgery. I was skeptical – I didn’t see how diarrhea. vomiting and losing one’s lust of life would be the symptoms of uterine cancer but I said yes. Anything to stop her suffering, including having her die on the table.

She didn’t. After a few days on the cusp, she got back to being her hairy, stinky, wonderful self. I told her that I could have bought a brand new puppy with the money I spent for her surgery. She wagged her tail and smiled, loving my sense of humor. “What a good joke” she said in dog. And it is. I’d have given a limb – out of the few I’ve got – to see her happy again. It was cheaper than that, albeit not by much!

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Dog fashions – after surgery, trying to avoid the dreaded cone of shame

Steve is trying to behave retired but he’s struggling. It turns out that talking about learning to play guitar is more fun than actually doing it. He turned to amateur radio. After buying a few of them on EBay, he discovered that it’s only old people who still do it. He didn’t like that. He’s now working on learning Morse Code and joining the amateur radio society of Thailand.

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His efforts to divest us of our belongings/responsibilities are not going well either. He sold the sidecar but not the motorcycle nor the sailboat or the camp in the Adirondacks. News flash: 1. Buying is easier than selling. 2. The things you own, own you.

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In between shifts and dog walks and enjoying sunrises, I’ve been writing. I’ve put aside the second draft of my ED novel, “Overdose” to ferment. My short pieces got ignored by such prestigious magazines as Conde Nast Traveller, Diabetes Health and AARP. In the spirit of writing what you know, I’m now working on “Wine and Food” magazine. I’ve earned my first writing money from International Living. I’ve had a couple of pieces published on Doximity. I started another book – provisionally called “Sick Cruising – the Journal of a Cruise Doc.”

I’ve recklessly succumbed to a major travel itch and I’ve scheduled summer trips to Paris, Azores and Thailand, while Steve chose to stay home with the girls. Remember the money from those shifts? Gone now.

Who knew retirement was so hard? I thought one just stopped working, started knitting, accumulated cats, and you’re all set. Not us. Like salmon swimming uphill to spawn, we’re struggling. Hope to get there some day.

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Retirement, you said? 

Thanks for being with us still, and please keep in touch. Let me know if you care – that’s why I write this. Otherwise, I’d just try another unpublished piece for a magazine.




17 Responses

  1. It’s become a joke in our house that if I’m eating something we say “don’t worry Tobin, you’ll get some later”. But since he can’t digest what I read, I just read this to him. I love your writing and I miss you. Thank you for keeping writing, even in limbo!

    1. Thank you Elizabeth! I miss you too, and I love seeing you pictures on instagram! Beautiful!

  2. “We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.”
    T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

    I love the wanderlust in your heart as I share it likewise. I love your purity of purpose, and envy your ability to follow your passions.

    Bravo, Gypsy! Keep writing.

  3. It was beautiful dr Jones and the pictures are amazing thanks for sharing loved it

  4. It was beautiful dr Jones and the pictures are amazing thanks for sharing loved it

  5. I hope you don’t mind if I share this with friends and family in similar situations, you write with such clarity and expression!

  6. Sitting next to you last evening and watching while you handle what comes your way in the ER with grace and a great sense of humor, I wonder how you keep it together. I wanted to ask you when the next one would be posted but I figured it was not the right place or time to ask, so I kept silent. This morning as I sit at the mall getting a pedicure, I got on FB and I see it. Couldn’t wait to read. Just wanted you to know that I look forward to reading your posts. Two questions answered. When are you going back for more adventure and when is the next post. Love your work Doc!

    Of all people you know what I went through with my own fur-loved one, I would have given anything to make them feel better. Enjoy them. 🐾

  7. I love reading all about your adventures. I too would have given a limb for one of my fur babies. They are our children. I’m so glad that she’s doing better.
    When my father retired, he always had a project he was working on. He once said to me “I’m not sure when I ever had time to work. ” I think we are so used to working hard every day, its what we are “supposed ” to do, so when we retire we don’t know how to rest and relax. Maybe per-diem is a good thing. You’re too great of a doctor to simply stop doing it. Hubby will find his niche in time.
    Miss you my friend.

  8. Love your post Rada and the pictures. They are beautiful. You are beautiful.

  9. I love reading your witty writings! Thank you for sharing…I look forward to the next!

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