All Great Things Must Come to an End!!

I’ve been dreading this day since I learned the heartbreaking news 10 days ago. My Mom’s beloved doctor is leaving the Neurology practice in Maryland and moving to Denver. I’ve been in absolute denial and have even prayed that the announcement of her departure was some sort of a cruel joke. While this may not seem like such a big deal given that Mom doesn’t recognize me or her doctor, it’s actually a huge deal for us. If you’ve read my book “Being My Mom’s Mom”, the name Dr. Katherine Coerver may sound familiar. I wrote several pages about her, proclaiming her to be the best doctor on the planet. And for good reason I believe. She cried when I showed her the pages I had written in order to get her approval before the book was published. She couldn’t believe that someone would actually mention her in a book, but that’s because I don’t think she has a clue about how exceptional a doctor she really is.Mom may not remember Dr. Coerver, but from the moment she walks into the exam room a sense of calm and contentment comes over Mom that not even I can duplicate. She doesn’t just hold Mom’s hand when she talks to her. She looks into her eyes, and smiles and for the length of our time with her, Mom is her one and only patient. When my sister died in 2011, I called Dr. Coerver from LA and she confirmed that my sister’s death was not news Mom needed to know. The very next visit to her office, Dr. Coerver gave me much more than the normal “I’m sorry for your loss”. She gave me one of the best hugs ever, and told me that I was an amazing daughter who always made the best possible decisions for her Mom. At the moment, I feel woefully unprepared for what comes next. How do you replace a doctor like her?

In my presentations, I encourage caregivers to always be prepared and to have a plan and a backup plan. I’ve failed to heed my own advice and I never saw this coming. I have no plan and definitely no backup plan simply because Dr. Coerver’s shoes will be almost impossible to fill. I’m praying that I can strike gold twice and find the care and compassion in a doctor that I want and need for Mom.

Our last visit this morning was as sad as I knew it would be. My impression of Dr. Coerver’s impact on Mom was confirmed within two minutes. Mom hasn’t spoken a complete sentence in a few months. Her responses are typically limited to “yes”, “no” or her all-time favorite “ok” repeated over and over and over again, no matter the question or topic of conversation. When Dr. Coerver asked Mom if she would come to visit her in Denver, Mom thought for a minute and then said “Nooooo, I don’t like to travel!!” Pretty Amazing!! We gave her a thank you note with our picture in it for the 8 outstanding years she was Mom’s doctor, and after a little help from me with the letter D, Mom was able write the rest of her name on the note by herself. 

We all hugged, took pictures and fought back tears. Dr. Coerver began to read our note as we left the exam room. Mom asked “we done?” “Yep Mom”, unfortunately, we are done, yet we’ll keep moving forward, and quickly get a new plan. We couldn’t have survived today without Tim picking Mom up, waiting for us and then driving Mom back home so I could quickly return to work. Thank you Tim!! Team Doris was in Full Effect!!! Now all we need is a new neurologist!



13 thoughts on “All Great Things Must Come to an End!!

  1. Loretta what an exciting statement. You are the best and I’m sure your research will be great. I’m here to help you throughout the process.

  2. Wish I knew someone to recommend. Maybe some of your friends know of a Dr. you could check out. There must be more than one good Dr. in the area you can interview. Thinking about you & hoping things work out.

  3. Loretta, thank you for sharing this mighty transition and the honest confession of your dread. Poignant. There are those folk in whatever profession/vocation who embrace and embody far more than technical competence or proficiency in the administration and exercise of their craft, for they also exude a personal, human warmth of care, a compassion that is palpable. Clearly, given all you have said about Dr Katherine Coerver, she is one such person. Gifted both in skill and grace. Her departure is a loss. Indaresay a part or element of your dread is your grief in her leaving, I pray you and Doris peace and, for you, perseverance in your search for Dr Coerver’s successor, for God knows she cannot be replaced

    • Definitely grief for me on her loss and I shed many tears last night. I’m happy for her too as she’s leaving for love and no one deserves happiness more than she does. Thank you Paul for your prayers.

  4. Loretta, Did you find a doc to replace her that you’re happy with? Coerver had been recommended to me and I nowI can appreciate why. Thank you!

    • Unfortunately I haven’t!!! Still looking!! It’s tough out there trying to find a doc who is compassionate and caring and treats their patients like real people!!

      • Sigh. I am looking for a doc for my husband. Our internist had recommend Dr. C two years ago.

        Best of luck to you. I found your posts to be wonderfully inspiring.


      • Thanks so much Pat!! Sigh indeed!! Where are all the good doctors?????? I’ll let you know if I find someone!! I still have my fingers crossed!

      • Thanks much! Wish we could clone another Dr. Courver. Please let me also know if you tried another doctor that you would not recommend. Take good care!

  5. I was a patient of Dr. Coerver and have to say how much I miss her and her caring ways. I don’t think she can ever be replaced. I am now on my second Doctor and well no comparison. She brightened our days and encouraged us to be our best I think I will just have to travel to Colorado to get the best care from the best Doctor. Thank you writing such a beautiful article.

    • Dr. Coerver was simply the best!!! I too thought about going to Denver!! That’s how much I love her!! At least you know I didn’t make up how great she is since you were a patient!! Thanks so much!!!!

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