It’s Sunday, June 15th. Tomorrow will start the first week in 22 years that I will not be seeing patients for chiropractic care. There is some sadness to be sure, but at the same time, I’m excited for the challenges of a new career. My move is into the world of internet technology, where I will be a part of the strategy team for an emerging company in the domain registry space. Though no longer in practice, I will always remain a Chiropractor in my hands and heart.
In looking back on my chiropractic career, I give credit to my father, who brought me into this profession as a child. I learned a lot from Dad’s legacy. I can honestly say that I will not miss Medicare or the commercial health insurance companies one bit. But I will miss my patients, and the many wonderful times we’ve shared. Just a few nights ago we shared a terrific evening at the office, where we said our goodbyes.
Just a few takeaways I have learned and experienced in practice:
– Chiropractic is a profession built not upon status, but upon success where medicine failed those in pain.
– The power of a chiropractic adjustment is awesome, and at times life-changing.
– Chiropractic IS NOT ‘Alternative Medicine’. It is not a part of the medical profession, nor is it alternative to anything.
– As a chiropractor, you need to have a thick skin and not worry about being on par with medicine. Most people will not call you ‘Doctor’, nor will the masses hold you in the same esteem as a surgeon or specialist. Selflessness is always better than narcissism, especially in this profession.
– Many patients, and unfortunately many family doctors know very little about how to evaluate the health of the spine. This leads to patients coming in far later for care, so that instead of just pain they also bring in joints that have irreversible damage.
– If we could MRI patients proactively, so that disc and joint issues could be detected even before pain came, it would help the health of our country tremendously. It would also decrease back and neck surgeries, as well as joint replacements.
– Chiropractic is a profession built upon results and referrals.
My wife Nellie and I came to Richmond in 1996, to begin our new married life. We walked into this empty space, which had formerly been a popcorn store, and immediately knew that this was going to be the place. We brought in contractors, and helped to paint the office during the days, and I went door to door to many hundreds of homes in the afternoons and evenings.
In my years of practice, I always held to the mantra that you could never ‘out-give’ yourself or your talents. I worked hard to educate and to help people learn about chiropractic – and the difference it could make for them and their families. The time spent helping many thousands of patients will bring me many good thoughts for my remaining years on this planet.
Now I leave what I’ve built to another doctor who will carry on the same tradition of giving for the sake of giving, serving for the sake of serving, and loving for the sake of loving. That’s chiropractic. It’s about the people you meet, the experiences you and the patients share, and the ability to use only your hands to effect the body’s inner healing to occur.
With that, I’d like to:
– Thank God for giving me good hands, and the ability to use them – and my mind properly.
– Thank my Dad for getting me into chiropractic. Dad was a pioneer in this profession, when there were still states that didn’t allow for chiropractic licensing. Dad will be missed.
– Thank my loving wife Nellie for giving me the support I needed to start this practice, and the diligence and persistence she lent during its many years of success.
– Thanks to all of my staff over the years, and most especially Elaine Larry, who was the most helpful and most loved of all of my staff. She may work for me, but we call her and her husband dear friends.
I will miss my patients very, very much. It has been a complete privilege taking care of them. If practice has taught me anything, it’s taught me that people need to hear the message of chiropractic. My chiropractic philosophy is a reflection of my personal life experience as a chiropractic patient, provider & educator. The many miracles that I have witnessed and my passion to see the next generation become less chemical-dependent and avoid surgery have been a daily driving force.
Dr. Stephen Ambrose, DC