Gary Cooke
Special to The Union

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December 16, 2013
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Happy holidays, doctor’s orders

An informal poll of local physicians reveals that while everyone celebrates the holidays in unique ways, the common focus is on just one thing — the family.

“The holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family,” said pediatrician Dr. Doug Wagner. “Our turkey tradition is to smoke it on the Weber, and I always make cornbread oyster stuffing. Another tradition is to attend Christmas Eve services at our church and to take a family walk. Getting the kids outside to throw around the football or shoot the hoops is a great way to get some exercise after a big meal.”

At the home of Dr. Brian Evans, vice president for medical affairs at SNMH, the tradition involves expressions of thanks.

“Our family practices a tradition which I believe is becoming common,” Dr. Evans explained. “As we sit down for dinner, we encircle the table and each of us states what we are most grateful for. Participation is optional, but everyone always has something to say. As I listen, the thing I am most grateful for becomes abundantly clear — family.”

Dr. Evans has another tradition that makes co-workers quite happy.

“One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is make English toffee,” he said. “I’ve pretty much got it perfected. When I arrive at the hospital with a fresh batch, I am quickly surrounded and the toffee disappears. I believe the dentists in our community owe me a debt of gratitude for the many fillings that have been loosened by this tradition.”

Dr. Ken Deitchman, who specializes in occupational health, said he will enjoy spending time with his sizeable family, which includes seven children and four grandchildren.

“It’s a revolving door with lots of family and friends coming and going,” he explained. “It’ll be a full house, but I’ll find time to relax, kick my feet up, and have long conversations with the kids. It’s a great time to really catch up with everyone.”

Anesthesiologist Dr. Thomas Luisetti, is on call this year, but he said he plans to have fun just the same.

“My family celebrates by being at home with each other,” he said. “We have holiday meal together and open gifts. It’s a fun family time with our four kids.”

Dr. John Lace, a pulmonary medicine specialist, celebrates the season in a way that has special meaning for him. He takes part annually in the Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count. He offered this advice for having a pleasant holiday season: “Avoid unrealistic expectations, and don’t overload your schedule.”

“I enjoy the holidays by spending time together with my family,” said Dr. Martin Engle, radiologist. “Each year we have a great time finding a tree together.”

Like Dr. Lace, he offers this advice for holiday dinners: “All things in moderation.”

Dr. Roy Foliente, a gastroenterologist, also will be on call, but vowed to find a way to spend time with his family during the holidays. He said he would be staying in town to enjoy “all the comforts and beauty that Nevada City has to offer.” He added, “I’m hoping for a white Christmas.”

Dr. Ryan Smith, cardiologist, said his family has a tradition of staging a family talent show each year.

“All the children in the family give performances with a musical instrument or dance they are interested in,” he said. “This annual activity has been passed down from my grandparents and that tradition brings us rich family memories.”

This year, however, Dr. Smith will also be making a special announcement.

“My wife and I are expecting a baby,” he said. “We’re looking forward to sharing the gender with our family on Christmas day.”

Regardless of your holiday plans or traditions, the staff, volunteers and community physicians of SNMH wish you a warm and joyous holiday season.

All physicians providing care for patients at SNMH are members of the medical staff and are independent practitioners, not employees of the hospital.


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The Union Updated Dec 17, 2013 10:53AM Published Dec 17, 2013 05:01PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.