Sunday, August 28, 2022

Anesthesiologist's Second Calling, A Lifeguard

Eric Greensmith, MD (from WSJ)

I love this story. It gives me great hope as I transition into the second half of my career. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Eric Greensmith, MD (I believe his full name is James Eric Greensmith), an anesthesiologist at Milton Hershey Medical Center at Penn State Health, was starting to stare into the face of retirement and found it lacking. Sixty-seven years old at the time, he decided he wanted to try becoming a lifeguard again, just like he was fifty years prior.

Except his physical conditioning was quite removed from five decades earlier. He was five-foot eight and weighed 210 pounds. For a year he had to train to conquer the physical fitness tests: run half a mile in three minutes and forty-five seconds and swim 500 meters in ten minutes. At first he couldn't even run 100 meters. A year later, he was down to a muscular 175 pounds and passed the lifeguard tests with flying colors. 

Now he bikes routinely to his lifeguarding duties from his home, an eighteen mile round trip. He is at the Jersey Shore five days a week during this summer, two days per week after Labor Day. He still lifts weights and swims regularly to keep up his new job requirements. The other, much younger, lifeguards have all been very supportive of their new comrade. 

Kudos to Dr. Greensmith for discovering the fountain of youth. As many of us look forward to slowing down after a hectic demanding career, it's refreshing to see that there are alternatives to just playing golf or traveling to overpriced resorts once we lay our laryngoscopes down.

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