Sometimes it is hard to say goodbye, but Dr. John Craig is ready to look back on his time at the Elmira Medical Centre fondly as he gets set to sail into retirement on October 5.
For 39 years, Craig has been treating patients at the Elmira Medical Centre, working his entire career as a doctor in town. Having the opportunity to make new friends as he has worked to ensure the best health of his patients, Craig has treated multiple generations of patients.
While his long career in town has given him many things to remember with a smile on his face, he says working with the community and spending 27 years of his career delivering babies have been some of the highlights.
“Working in Elmira has been a real treat – the people are so welcoming. Working with the Mennonite community, having Mennonites in your practice is very educational and very rewarding. They’re a very rewarding people to work with, they’re so easy to get along with and I have learned so much from them. The other highlights … I delivered babies for 27 years. We stopped doing it now for the last 12 years, but delivering babies was a real pleasure. Getting to bring babies into the world and seeing them grow up in your practice, that’s very rewarding. I even had a few patients who I delivered them and [then] I delivered their children. So that was sort of rewarding,” said Craig.
Having a nurse for a mother inspired him to become a doctor. Originally, he did not think of becoming a doctor, instead leaning towards becoming a professor while he was doing his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Waterloo. He says the isolation he felt while working in the lab is what encouraged him to follow his love of working with people, leading him to apply to medical school.
“It was science that led me into medicine, but it was more of the people that drew me into medicine,” he explained.
He would start medical school in 1976 at Western University, completing that in 1980. After a one-year rotating internship in Regina., Craig got married and returned to the Kitchener-Waterloo area – the place where his wife is from – and heard that the clinic in Elmira was hiring. He officially started working at the Elmira clinic in November 1981.
Just shy of 40 years later, Craig says it is just time for him to retire. Now 67-years-old, he is two years past the date when he should have hung up his stethoscope. However, that rule was not set in stone and he chose to keep going. In most places, he says doctors over the age of 65 would reduce their hours and not take on so much work, but here in Elmira that is not possible, and he decided to retire this year.
With his time winding down, Craig says he feels there isn’t much left he needs to accomplish, and he is happy with the legacy he is leaving to the new person who will take over.
“I feel quite satisfied. You always feel a little bit of guilt [wondering] who’s going to take care [of the patients], but we’ve got a good young family physician coming in to replace me, so I’m not worried. I know people will be well taken care of, so no I have no regrets and I don’t think I have anything more to accomplish,” said Craig.
As of next week, he will no longer have to wake up each day and go into the office, instead having to find new hobbies to occupy his time. Craig says he does not yet know what he is going to do, but he does enjoy photography, summer and winter sports, and renovation projects, all things he hopes to do now that he has additional time on his hands.