We ♥love ♥love love♥ our family doctor, Dr. Don Thompson. He came into our lives when we were struggling with our previous doctor following an atrocious labour and delivery.
Just imagine, in 1982, there were doctors galore and switching doctors was as simple as making a phone call. Glenn’s sister, Evelyn Cavanagh, worked in the lab at the Peterborough Clinic when it was at 327 Charlotte Street and we consulted her for advice about which doctors were accepting patients. Evelyn told us about a British doctor who had recently come to Peterborough from Northern Ontario. Within moments of meeting with him, I knew he was going to be our family doctor. Common British words like fortnight and whilst rolled off his tongue ever so smoothly. I could sit and listen to him talk all day.
I gave him a blow by blow version of my horrid birthing disaster and the problems Jeremy was having with dairy products. Dr. Thompson suggested a non-dairy formula which took care of that little problem. Given, my first birthing experience, Dr. Thompson reacted with shock that I was expecting a second child.
My second labour and delivery was completely different and it had nothing to do with a new doctor. Dr. Thompson called me early in the day and stressed that I not wait at home too long because second babies usually have shorter labours. I assured him, I would cooperate.
It took my body the entire day to convince Allison to leave her warm, dark, comfy home. I clearly remember the obstetrics resident, Dr. Stretch, commenting, “This isn’t going to hurt at all.” I thought the nurse was going to swallow her tongue. Obviously, he had never tried to eject a watermelon from his body. When Allison was about ten minutes away from making her glorious entrance, Dr. Thompson waltzed into the birthing suite. As Allison emerged into the light, Dr. Thompson uttered something crazy like, “Nothing to it, Melda. You should have a dozen babies.” I was not amused.The very next day, while in the hospital, a cold sore erupted on my lip. That set the maternity ward on its end. It was if I had SARS or EBOLA. Immediately, my day-old baby was put in isolation because she, too, could be infected with the virus which can cause complications in the very young, the very old and those with a compromised immune system. On the third morning, Dr. Thompson called and told me my cold sore had the whole floor in an uproar. Would I mind going home? I was more than happy to oblige.
When Allison developed problems with dairy, Dr. Thompson addressed it right away. He took care of her hand when she burned it on the closed barbecue lid. He stitched up the cut in Allison’s head from a whack of a lacrosse stick. Dr. Thompson looked after Jeremy when he had salmonella poisoning. He looked after Glenn’s Addison’s Disease.
Many of you know I have had mental health issues for many years. Dr. Thompson tried diligently to help me. If I remember correctly, he saved the hour at the end of the day for people who needed to talk. I occupied many of those time slots. On one occasion he asked if the fact that I was dressed in black from head to toe indicated anything about my state of mind?And then we moved away to Marmora to work for the McConnell group of funeral homes and Dr. Cliff Derry, a man of few words, became our family physician. He retired and Dr. Andy Quinn of Tweed accepted us.
In 2004, we picked up moved to Bobcaygeon and Dr. Jim Fagan became our doctor. We along with the whole town were shocked when he passed away from cancer. Local physicians were not accepting patients. Would we ever find another doctor? We did not want to rely on using the ER at Ross Memorial Hospital, PRHC or walk-in clinics.
I had one of Oprah Winfrey’s “Aha Moments.” Putting pen to paper, I wrote an actual letter – not an email, not a text message – to Dr. Thompson asking him to, once again, be our family doctor. I remember the excitement I felt when Dr. Thompson’s receptionist called to tell us that he would be pleased to welcome us back. Woohoot!
Although the Peterborough Clinic had moved to 26 Hospital Drive, we felt like we had walked into the old office. The intervening years evaporated and it was as if we had never been apart. The number of orchids had multiplied tenfold. Dr. Thompson is an old school doctor. Once he enters the room and closes the door, time seems to stand still. No signs warning “One question only.” Just a friendly, “What can I do for you today?”
As mentioned previously, we are making plans to move to Nova Scotia. However, we have one primary concern: how long it will take to find a doctor who will accept us and what if we don’t like him or her? If we could, we would clone Dr. Thompson and take him with us.
Thank you, Dr. Thompson for being there for our little family through thick and thin. A smile will break across our face whenever we think of you. And when others speak glowingly about their family doctor, we promise to pipe up, “You should have met OUR Dr. Thompson.”