Clocks and Pecan Pie – Dr. Milt Fowler

Dr. Milt FowlerA Randolph resident, Dr. Milt Fowler had been an internal medicine physician in the region for 36 years. Originally from Indianapolis, Dr. Fowler helped create the Rochester Health Center. He practiced there and in Randolph for 29 years. In 2005, he transitioned to practicing only at Gifford internal medicine in Randolph.

Married with two sons and two grandchildren, Dr. Fowler enjoys traveling and woodworking. It is his relationships with patients that have kept him serving the community where he lives and works for more than three decades.

Below is his story as told in his own words, as featured in our 2012 Annual Report.

“Nearing the end of my medical training and beginning the search for practice opportunities brought my attention to a medical journal ad placed by Phil Levesque, then CEO of Gifford. During the recruitment process, Phil and his wife Sandy’s hospitality and vision for Gifford were all the convincing I needed. That was more than 36 years ago, and we (my family along with the Jewetts and DiNicolas, who all came at the same time) are still here. None of us could have anticipated being here this long, or enjoying the richness of the Gifford family, or the beauty and talent of the people of central Vermont as much as we have.

Dr. Milt Fowler

At top – a 1979 portrait of Dr. Fowler. Bottom – Dr. Fowler with a young patient, also from 1979.

During those years, we have had the rare privilege of being part of the joy and sometimes tragedy of so many lives. All of our lives are connected in some way in this community, and the honor of caring for your neighbors and friends is difficult to fully articulate. It is a privilege. An office visit isn’t just caring for an illness in a stranger. In a small town, you are caring for someone whose family you know and about whose life history you are familiar.

Donald Dustin of Braintree is just one example. A furniture maker, he had donated a beautiful Shaker clock to a local church auction. The craftsmanship was notable and at the end of his next office appointment, I asked him if he would mentor me on woodworking. “Of course I would. When do we start?” was his reply. Then followed months of his tutoring, nudging, and pushing. It was during this time that he developed terminal cancer. We kept working together in his shop, and he often called asking, “Where the heck are you? We’ve got work to do.” We continued our clock project with Donald sitting in his wheelchair, barking orders, cigar smoke swirling around his head. The clock’s face was painted by Bill Olivet, another talented patient. “Our clock” is at my home in my study.

Unforgettable was also Rochester summer resident and professional violist 90-year-old Marguerite Schenkman who fell and sustained a large laceration to her scalp just before a concert at the Park House. At the Rochester clinic, she refused to be sutured before the concert. We wrapped her head in a gauze turban to control the bleeding, attended her concert, then repaired the wound after the Beethoven pieces were complete.

Or how could one forget 90-year-old Priscilla Carpenter walking to her appointment the afternoon of the famous Valentine’s Day snowstorm? She climbed over snow banks to get to her visit with a warm pecan pie in hand, which she slyly placed on my office desk.

It is experiences like these that make the daily stress of practicing so rich. It is what drew us and has kept us here. What a privilege.”

~ Milt Fowler, M.D.
Gifford Internal Medicine Physician

Dr. Mitt Fowler

Above left – Dr. Fowler works in his shop crafting clocks, a skill he learned from patient Donald Dustin. Above right – Patient Priscilla Carpenter greets Dr. Fowler with a pecan pie, which they then share, toasting with a glass of milk.

 

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