By: Dick Wolfsie

I’ve had the same barber for 35 years. We’ve had the same housekeeper for almost 40 and our CPA was with us for over three decades until she retired, probably because she was sick of looking at my shoe box every April filled with receipts. I had the same dentist for decades, although as I think back, I have had several different teeth. Oh, and I have had the same wife for 44 years. But she has not suggested retiring. Yet.

All those still on the job would be tough to replace. And now, after about 25 years,  my primary care physician is calling it quits. Many local MDs went to Dr. Kevin Coss for their personal health needs. Kevin was known as the doctor’s doctor.

You never hear that expression about other professions. I asked my plumber (who’s been our plumber for 25 years) to tell me who in town is known as the “plumber’s plumber.” “Most plumbers fix their own plumbing,” he told me. “Unless they have a reputation for not showing up on time. Then they call someone else.”  Don’t worry, I don’t know what that means either.

When we first arrived in Indy my physician was Bob Palmer. He retired years ago and, sadly, has since passed away. Bob was a diminutive guy and when he wrote me an email, he signed it “Your dwarf internist.” But don’t sell him short, he was not only a superb practitioner but a WWII bomber pilot having flown over 70 missions. His office was decorated with photos of him in uniform standing by his plane. I preferred this décor to my urologist’s office which is furnished with pictures of…well, let’s just leave it at that.

Dr. Bob once examined me and the nurse came in with a worried look. “Dr Palmer needs to see you right away.” Shaking, I went back to his office.

“You have Wisenheimer’s disease,” he told me.

Still trembling, I asked what that was.

“While examining you,  I saw that you have on a black sock and blue sock, that’s Wisenheimer’s disease.”

I told him I had another pair of socks just like it at home.

Bob was one of the few doctors who would come out to the waiting room and personally summon the next person into his office. A small commitment in his time, but a huge investment in the doctor/patient relationship. Once I noticed him watching a woman as she signed in for her appointment. He later told me that watching a person interact with another person was helpful for him in determining their social skills, which might assist him in his care for the patient.

At the Community Hospital Annual Physicians Dinner, Bob always gave an award to the intern with the best handwriting, meaning one day a nurse or pharmacist could decipher what was written on the prescription pad.

But now back to Dr Coss. Like Dr. Palmer, he put me at ease and spent a solid hour with me at my annual checkup. He always sat down with me during our conversations.  So, I never felt like he was rushing through the examination. Over the years, he diagnosed at least three potentially serious issues and successfully treated or referred me elsewhere. Even during what I will call the year-long hypochondriacal period of my life, he was patient and understanding.

Thanks, Kevin Coss. I hope retirement treats you well. Just like you treated all your patients.