May 8, 2013
I’m not very good about checking my mail. You see, the mailboxes are by the opposite door from which I usually enter my apartment, and if I’ve just gone grocery shopping or I really have to go to the bathroom, I don’t bother running down to see what’s in my box. But I do check it at least a couple of times each week. And, frankly, at my old place, I probably didn’t need to check it much more frequently than that; I just happened to walk past it on my way to my apartment so it wasn’t a big deal to open my box to see if there was anything inside.
But I did check the mail today. And as I was sorting through it as I walked up the stairs to my flat, I noticed an envelope from Grand Rapids. Why was I getting mail from Grand Rapids? I thought our relationship was complete. I was discharged. They reimbursed me my $12.96. What? Did they suddenly decide I owed them money?
Nothing of the sort. At all. It was a letter stating that the doctor was retiring. He was the only physician in the practice, so the practice would be closing. A records release form was also included along with instructions for if you wanted a copy or wanted your records forwarded to another practice.
I may have had to find a new OB practice, but at least I didn’t have to find a new fertility clinic. Driving to Grand Rapids regularly was mileage enough. If I weren’t pregnant, I’d have to drive to Ann Arbor to see someone who would work with a single woman. And now his regular questions about where I work make sense. He wasn’t just looking to expand. He was looking for a partner. He was looking for someone to take over so that his current patients wouldn’t be left in the lurch. And he didn’t succeed. And now all these women, these couples who are driving from all over? They have to find someplace else to go. My heart aches for them. But I’m relieved. I’m not one of them.
Oh, and by the time I got the letter? Yes, the practice was already, effectively, closed. There will still be office staff into the first week of June to process records transfers, but the doctor is retired.