After 38 years of being a doctor at Theresa Thomas Health Care Center in Ashland, Dr. Robert Hayes Hanley is ready to wake up to the sound of silence.
“I’m tired of waking up in the morning to someone else’s alarm clock,” Hanley said.
Though the 65-year-old general practitioner loves his Ashland patients and his job, he said he’s ready to not worry anymore.
Hanley has worked at the center since 1976, just a year after the center opened and will be retiring at the end of the month.
With a love for gardening, biking and traveling, Hanley hopes to fill his forthcoming free time with hobbies.
“I want to be able to come home from a trip and relax and enjoy it, reminisce,” Hanley said. “Rather than just getting so absorbed with work that you can’t even remember that you went on a trip.”
After working in the field for so long, Hanley has seen the medical profession evolve. Most recently, doctors have had to adjust and adapt to the inclusion of technology.
Now the center’s patient records are all digitized and doctors operate solely with computers instead of the old fashioned way of paper files. This is a direction many doctor’s offices and hospitals are going in.
In addition to the transition to digital records, there has been an increase in the number of prescription drugs and in the number of curable diseases, Hanley said.
“Medicine has really exploded in the past 30 years or so,” he added.
When Hanley retires near the month’s end, he said will miss his patients the most.
“There’s a lot of super people who I couldn’t have met any other way,” Hanley said.
Over the years after seeing numerous patients and Ashland citizens, he has developed a number of personal relationships, adding he absolutely loves the people in Ashland and the town.
Each time Hanley visited with a patient, he said his mood was not always the best. At times, Hanley said his worries got the best of him but his patients always knew how to make him laugh and turn his mood upside down.
“I’m frequently the one that gets healed in the process,” Hanley said.