Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald: Do it today


Life is sweet, but it is so short. Make every moment count.

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Do it today

When I graduated veterinary school, one of my first clients was a kind, older gentleman who had been my pediatrician when I was a child. That was back in the 1950s, when physicians really made house calls. I remember him coming to see my brother or me when we had measles or mumps, chicken pox or the flu, and my mother would make him a sandwich. He worked hard, visiting 20 to 30 houses daily. He had no hobbies; he ministered to his practice. He was a legend in our neighborhood.

Years later, during his retirement, when he brought his dog to me, we would talk about customer service, about medicine, and about philosophy. He told me that while in practice he rarely went on vacations. He had worked to put his kids through college and build a nest egg that he and his wife could retire on. He said that his wife was very patient, almost a saint. He promised her that upon his retirement they would see the world, that he would take her to all the places she had never seen. Meanwhile, he continued to work. He retired when he turned 65, with a huge pediatric practice and his reputation intact. However, the day after he retired, his beloved wife died, after her years of patience. The old gent would tell me in our discussions, “Don't wait, Kev. Do it today! My wife waited all of those years for me.” He would always tell me, “Go book a trip for yourself right now. I'll wait.”

There is great wisdom in what the old fellow said. We get caught up in our own world, too self-important, too busy, and too myopic to see the big picture. We should seize the day and buy those tickets to the play, sign up for that photography class, or go to our children's soccer games. We should not wait for things to slow down or for our twilight retirement years. Life comes with no guarantees. It also has never been known to be especially fair. Life is sweet, but it is so short. Make every moment count in the exam room and at work, but never forget the other treasures in our lives-the people that we love. Make time for them, and make time for yourself. No one has a tombstone that says, “I could have seen one more!” Take the time; it is all that we have.

See you next week, Kev

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