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Dead at 43

My friend S. would have been 44 today, but she died last night in an accident. She was 2 years away from retiring to the Philippines with her boyfriend.


A little about S.

She was by far one of the best LPN’s I’ve ever worked with at Kaiser and had a great energy about her which made the urgent care flow so well.

Her and I would pick up shifts together. And though I was the MD and she the LVN, she definitely was the boss, not only ordering me around, but the RN’s, MA’s, phlebotomists, and pretty much anyone else who crossed her path.

I used to call her Doctor S. because she just owned the fucking floor. And because she’d order me around. And because I was also her doctor and she’d tell me what to order for her. And because she usually knew what was wrong with the patient.

Her work ethic was amazing. Her and I would often be dismissed as having more fun than working diligently, but we moved some meat through that Kaiser urgent care.

I’d show up to see 14 patients for my evening shift, only to find that S. had moved 8 more onto my schedule because another doctor was slow or behind. Chest pain patients never intimidated me so she always switched those patients to me. And she knew I had no problem denying drug seekers for their opioids so she’d swap out my gyn patients for the drug seekers.

S. also cost me a lot money! That woman could eat! She’d force me – literally taking my wallet out of my white coat – to pay for potlucks which I felt we had every other day. There was always some excuse like, oh it’s an even day of the month or she lost 1.2 pounds.

On weekends, we’d all meet up at Chili’s where she’d get her ribs and fries. Never a salad. No, that woman couldn’t be bothered by anything that was green, except for money, usually my money.

She’d round the troops, too. It was a $140 ordeal every Saturday or Sunday night after work. We’d have 5-8 of us there with cocktails, finger foods, and dinner.

She never failed to flirt with the hottest, buffest waiter. The only woman who could make a grown tough man blush. Chili’s will miss you.

Over the years S. met every woman I ever dated. She met my ex-wife. She’d set me up on dates. She’d never approve, of course, but she was so kind to them when they’d come by my work to drop off food or bring me a fucking scrapbook – which was a little freaky after dating for like 3 weeks. We didn’t stop talking about that for a long time.

Sadly, my phone blew up this morning with lots of texts and VM’s that she died in an accident last night. Wish you would have gotten to enjoy your retirement which you were so close to homie.


Retirement plans

I left KP several years ago and we still kept in touch over text, regularly.

She had plans on retiring to the Philippines where she is from by age 44. She had family there and had even started a pastry business remotely which was doing well.

Her and I would discuss retirement strategies though she wasn’t the most frugal person. But once she got serious about it, she opened a Vanguard account and last time we spoke she already had $75k saved up.

With her cash savings, her pension, the pastry factory, and some work as a teacher in the local nursing school she would have had more than enough to live a very nice lifestyle in Cebu.


Living today

S.’s bday reminder will live on in my calendar for may years to come and I’ll remember when I look through my photos.

I am living my life to its fullest, as best as I can fathom doing so. I’m retired and doing the kind of work I enjoy. It’s never perfect, is it? There are always a few hiccups to deal with. But it’s a beautiful thing to own your life – your time – and do with it as you please.

S. was on the path towards early retirement which I’m sure she would have enjoyed the shit out of. I hope that you, doctor whoever, who is reading this, will also live your daily life to its fullest.

Whatever living today and living in the moment means to you. Whatever legacy you want to leave behind. Whatever you want to be doing, if you knew that you only had a short time left on the planet, I hope you are doing that or relentlessly working towards that.


In S.’s memory

I will stop worrying about shit that’s out of my hands. Everyone deals with some bullshit and some problems can seem bigger than others. But they are all bumps on the road.

Life is good if you can stop and enjoy it and make the best of it.

I’ll eat something greasy and unhealthy tonight for you, S.

I’ll have the sweetest and grossest watermelon margarita. I know that was your favorite. I’ll pour out some for you.

I’ll get off behind my computer screen and go do something fun today.

Tapos na Doctor S.

4 replies on “Dead at 43”

So sorry for your loss. She sounds like an amazing person.

It is sad they there are so many more cases of people who have set aside stuff for the future and plan a retirement only to never get to experience it because of a life cut short.

My dad died at age 50 (he was an internist) and I wrote about how he inspired me to even want to FIRE before I knew what that was. He put off things and worked hard but never got to enjoy it

Dude how do you cope with pops dying at 50?! That’s insane. Have another docto buddy whose dad totally died unexpectedly at 50 – I mean so many missed opportunities there. Thanks for sharing this.

Rest in Paradise Shella. So fun to work with. She had a great energy about her and made everyone laugh. She’ll be very missed

OMG, Unbelievable that she is gone 🙁
I’ll miss her beautiful smile and energy. RIP

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