Opinion: Is there a (new) doctor in the house?


I’ve had the same barber for 35 years, the same housekeeper for almost 40, and our CPA retired after 40 years, probably because she was sick of looking at my shoebox filled with receipts. Oh, and I have had the same wife for 44 years. She has no plans to retire … I don’t think.

After about 25 years, my primary care physician is calling it quits. Many local M.D.s 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 Dr. 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 World War II bomber pilot with more than 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,” she said.

Shaking, I went back to his office.

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

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.

At the Community Hospital annual Physicians Dinner, Bob 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.

Bob always came out to the waiting room and personally summoned the next person into his office. This was a small commitment in time, but it made a huge impression on the patient.

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 rushed in the examination. Through the years, he diagnosed at least three potentially serious issues and successfully treated or referred me elsewhere. Even during what I will call the yearlong 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.