A ^Retired Plastic Surgeon's Notebook

My Dad

A tribute to my father on the 20th anniversary of his death.

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Twenty years ago today I got the call from the Hospice nurse that my father had died.  He has been ill for a couple of years with leukemia and the news came as no surprise but it still hit me hard.  I spent the next several years feeling like a large chunk of me had been amputated.

It’s mostly true that time is a great healer and I only tear up occasionally when I talk about him – which is almost every day.  My children were all born after he was gone but they talk about him like they knew him because I have made sure that he is part of their life.

I became a surgeon partly because of my father.  He was a mechanical engineer who loved more than anything to problem solve and to fix stuff, whether it was a toaster, a cat door or the transmission on my 1972 Vega (really).  And he passed that love of fixing stuff down to all of his children, including me.

In medical school, I was resistant to the idea of going into surgery because of the very long and difficult residency.  I knew that my life would be on hold for many years if I chose the surgical life.  His advice was to give it a try because if I didn’t, I would always be asking myself “what if…”.   I took his advice and here I am 24 years into my practice of plastic surgery.  I survived the training (barely), claimed a normal personal life (a little late), and love coming to work every single day and fixing stuff.

Thanks Dad.  You are probably welding a crack in the Pearly Gates with St. Peter.

Thanks for reading.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder


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