On March 1st of this year, my dad will celebrate 40 years in practice as a chiropractor in the same small town in Maine. Working for 40 years in any position is an accomplishment, but I know that my dad has used those years to improve the lives of thousands, and has viewed his work as a way to serve and heal others. I decided that I might learn a thing or two by asking for some of the wisdom he has gained over the years, and thought you might appreciate some of his answers to my questions.
Aaron: What are the benefits of being a small town doctor?
Dr. Basko: When you enjoy helping people and seeing them get better you really make a connection. Your patients become a “big family”. You become involved with the whole family and get to know their joys and sorrows¸ their difficulties and celebrations. It is very rewarding to treat multiple generations and a privilege to have their trust and confidence. Everybody knows your name and patients are very loyal if you give them your best.
Aaron: What do you see as your purpose in work?
Dr. Basko: I am very fortunate and blessed to have a skill and knowledge where I can be part of the process of restoring health by using my hands. I also have the freedom to pray with and counsel my patients. Many times they need that as much as anything. In that way my profession is also a ministry. I can point them to the Great Healer. I am humbled in knowing that God has used me in this way.
Aaron: What has been the biggest challenge in your work?
Dr. Basko: In my work people are hurting and in pain. They have problems and conditions that are very negative. My job is to give hope to their situation. Staying positive can be a big challenge. I have two wonderful sources of positivity – my faith in God and His power and grace and my beautiful wife who is my “touch stone”. She keeps me positive and on the right track.
Aaron: Who was your most interesting patient?
Dr. Basko: My most famous patient was Katherine Hepburn. Katherine was referred to me by a patient. She was visiting a friend in our town. They called to ask if we had time for a new patient. We said sure, they said it was Katherine Hepburn. We asked if this was a joke. It wasn’t. She was gracious and quite the lady. We had a nice chat as I treated her. After, the people in the waiting room had a spasm when they realized who she was. I just treated her like any other patient and then got nervous when she was gone.
Aaron: What professional opportunities did you have?
Dr. Basko: I was fortunate to have been the secretary/treasurer of my state association for four years and then was appointed by the governor to the Board of Examiners as secretary/treasurer for four years. I administered exams and validated credentials for prospective doctors.
Aaron: What have you seen change the most in your years of practice?
Dr. Basko: I find the thing that has changed is the requirements for paper work, documentation, insurance company demands and political entanglements that have complicated healthcare. It was a lot more fun when it was simpler and there was more patient interaction. Less can be more!
Aaron: If you could tell your patients one thing, what would it be?
Dr. Basko: Health involves body, mind and spirit. Balance and moderation is the best policy. Feed and nurture each part of your being. Laugh more. Follow your doctor’s directions because you are paying him for his advice.
Dad also shared a few fun facts that have made his work more of an adventure.
His youngest patient? 2 days old
His oldest patient? 102 years old
His most unusual patient? An angora rabbit
Longest any patient has commuted to see him? 806 miles
Finally I asked him if he had any advice for those just starting out on a career path.
Dr. Basko: We are all born with talents and tendencies. Try to match your passion with a career or profession. Find out what makes you excited or engaged. Make sure you choose something that you enjoy. If not you will be miserable and unhappy. Ask God to help you understand His plan for you. Things can always be tweaked to make it work. Make an action plan, pray and proceed one step at a time. A life work is made up of many days put together. Don’t forget to enjoy the doing.
“A life of work is made up of many days put together.” My dad has set an excellent example for me and all his patients of the way we should all spend our “many days”. Congratulations, Dad!