I enjoyed a nice visit with Murfreesboro chiropractor Dr. K. Wayne Latimer a few days ago.
He reminded me that he was retiring from practice after 35 years.
I congratulated him and asked how he felt about the transition.
"I'm ready," he replied simply.
Many tend to think of retirement as something people do when they get older. Latimer is a very agile young man and obviously has a lot of life left in him. I don't envision him wearing out a rocking chair anytime soon. I asked what he thought he might do with all his new-found free time.
"People have asked me about that," he said. "I tell them that I will now do seven days a week what I have been doing on Saturdays and Sundays for 35 years: Enjoy spending time with my family."
Latimer earned his retirement the old-fashioned way – he worked for it.
He has served literally thousands of local residents. He has offered traditional chiropractic care as well as other conservative treatment options in Murfreesboro for longer than any other currently practicing chiropractor.
He asked me if I minded if he gave my name to his patients as a recommendation for their ongoing care.
I agreed without hesitation, but told him that they may be disappointed in anyone but him. He has some very loyal patients that have depended on him for care for decades.
Whenever any doctor retires it is often difficult for his long-time patients to settle on a suitable replacement, especially if they have seen the doctor for several years.
It may seem like no one is like "good ole Doc."
Not long ago someone asked me whether I had any retirement plans. (I wonder if I was looking older or moving slower than usual that day.)
I said that I had about 50 more years to practice before I retired. I'm just now getting good at what I do!
I told them that retirement doesn't seem that attractive to me. I hope to die in my sleep at the age of 103 after a full day in the office. I realize that I might change my view in a few more decades. But until then, I plan to keep working.
Being a chiropractor doesn't really feel that much like work to me.
There's quite a bit of effort involved. But it isn't work.
It is my passion.
After office hours I often end up spending my free time reading books and attending more seminars to learn more about caring for people in pain.
It is in my nature to seek to understand how things work. And there is nothing more fascinating than the human body.
In my daily work my role is often to determine why a patient's body is not functioning in the way that it should and make suggestions for how they might correct the problem.
The chiropractic profession has changed a lot during Latimer's career. He has witnessed substantial growth and development of the diverse healthcare profession that was founded on a natural drug-free approach to wellness.
Throughout its history chiropractic has never been as popular as it is now.
Patients are seeking alternatives that focus on helping them restore their health, rather than treat their symptoms.
As Latimer can attest, this has been a core principle of chiropractic care for a long time.
I wish Latimer all the best as he and his wife, Joann, begin the next phase of their lives. Wherever their travels take them I am sure they will continue to serve others.