Friday, August 1, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Career change: Dr. Washburn blasts off

DSC_2301e

By
From page A1 | September 18, 2013 |

“It’s the right time to leave and start something new,” said Dr. Earl “Trey” Washburn of his recent retirement. Washburn’s last day at Marshall Medical Center was Aug. 29. After 37 years as a pediatric doctor in Placerville, Washburn, who said he planned to never retire, is ready to try something new — writing children’s books.

Important Subscriber Update

We will be switching to a new online subscription service on Tuesday, August 5th. If you are already a subscriber with login access to MtDemocrat.com you will need to re-register under the new service. This will not affect your bill. Please take the time today to click "Subscriber Verification" to verify your subscription with us and continue your access to MtDemocrat.com before the new service takes over.

We apologize for the temporary inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience and continued support while we make this transition.

- Mountain Democrat

1-Month Access
Subscriber Verification
Help?

“I’ve become a card-carrying member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators,” said Washburn, 66, whose first book, “The Washburn Cousins Blast Off,” was written for his four grandchildren. “Grandchildren are a great place to cut your teeth on writing — they’re a pretty uncritical audience.” He is working on a second book for his grandkids, but has plans for a mainstream book for middle grade students.

Children have been the major part of Washburn’s professional life as a pediatrician — a career he never foresaw himself doing. “The whole thing was so surprising. I would have thought I’d end up as a high school chemistry teacher instead.”

During his first week as a pharmacy major in college, Washburn realized he didn’t want to be a pharmacist, but he had no idea what he did wanted to do. “I went to my college advisor who gave me some vocational tests. One test, the Strong (Inventory of Interests), told what you’d be happy doing, but not whether you’d be good at it.”

The test predicted Washburn would be happiest as a medical doctor or a musical performer. “In my heart of hearts, music would be the best, but the talent wasn’t that great.” So Washburn became a doctor and found that the vocational test had been a good predictor of his happiness on the job.

“I love winning — being able to figure something out and then it works,” said Washburn. “I love the long-term relationships with families and when the second generation starts coming into the office.” Washburn referenced one of his surgery professors whose daughter became a friend and her children and grandchildren became his patients. “That’s fabulous. What a wonderful thing to be able to do,” he said.

After graduation from University of California, Davis, School of Medicine in 1973, Marshall Hospital was Washburn’s first real job. “It stuck,” said Washburn. “I’d grown up in Northern California and Marian, my wife, had family in the area, so we looked for a place close to family that needed a pediatrician.” Placerville had no pediatricians but had recently acquired two obstetricians. “Before that, family doctors delivered the babies and took care of the children, but with two obstetricians, there was an opening for me,” said Washburn.

“When we moved here in 1976, there was already a Dr. Washburn, an optometrist,” said Washburn. “It drove his office people crazy at first because people would show up for pediatrics.”

In addition to being a pediatrician, Washburn was also an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at UCD’s School of Medicine for 25 years. “That was enjoyable for a long time. The students came here. Dr.  Thayer, a surgeon, was one of them,” Washburn said.

Along with the successes he and his little patients experienced together, there were heartbreaking cases as well. “I was clearing out my office and I found a lot of mementos from patients and their families,” said Washburn. “Not everything was happy, but it was all real.”

One memento was from the family of a child who had died of leukemia many years ago. “The mother made something for me and brought her other children in as patients. They all grew up and brought their children to me.”

Washburn and his wife of 43 years, Marian, raised their two sons in Placerville, building friendships and a life of service to their community along the way. “We developed a close circle of friends and we still get together once a month to play bridge. We’ve been through thick and thin together,” he said.

Marian Washburn’s 20 years as a city planning commissioner, city council member and Placerville mayor cemented their relationship to the city as well.

“One day, I looked at the spreadsheet and realized I could retire at 66. I gave two years notice, but it was like planning my own funeral,” said Washburn. “I really love the job and the kids and families I’ve come to know, so it’s been bittersweet, but even if I waited another few years, it would still be bittersweet.”

Washburn said there have been a lot of saying goodbye, hugs and reassurances in the past six months. “It’s been hard, but retiring is what we all work toward. I’m still young enough to reinvent myself. For the first time I have the opportunity to restructure my life around me. It may sound selfish, but after college, medical school and working, you’re always dancing to someone else’s tune. I’ve wanted to work on writing for quite a while. I just needed the time to do so.”

Writing, walking the Washburns’ rescue dog, Stella, and traveling with Marian is part of Washburn’s new life, but, for a while, there are still ties to the old one.

For the rest of this year Washburn is still chairman of the Pediatric-Perinatal Committee at Marshall. He’s been a delegate to the California Medical Association for 22 years and has another few years as a board member on the Sierra Health Foundation. “It’s time to wind down, but I won’t run out of things to do. Things end up finding you,” he said.

 Washburn said he is glad to have lived long enough to see the “Promised Land” — the new birth center at Marshall Medical Center. “The maternity ward was there since before I arrived.” He also feels confident in his pediatric replacement. “One thing that’s been wonderful about retiring was finding a super excellent doctor to replace me — not just a doctor, but an outstanding doctor.”

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or wschultz@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    News

    Sand Fire 95% contained

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

     
    Cameron Park house burns

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Supes delay petition

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

     
    Fire generated small city, inspired volunteers

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Two fires in town

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3

    .

    Opinion

    Missing the point

    By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    The weekly Daley: The wrong side of history

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

    Billingsley’s bullets: Advice from my psychiatrist

    By Bob Billingsley | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Letters

    Olives need less water

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    EID rate discrimination

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

    Second Amendment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

     
    Pollock Pines’ Fourth of July Parade

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

    Water conservation

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

     
    Koby

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Debt reduction at EID with Coco?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    Time for change in CP

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

    .

    Sports

    Camp draws good numbers

    By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post | Gallery

     
    New law tackles gridiron concussion problem

    By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Outside with Charlie: Rafting denied

    By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A9

     
    Racing returns with big 5-division card

    By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A9

    Roundup: July 31, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Prospecting

    Sing while you paint

    By Placerville Arts Association | From Page: B1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

     
    The making of a champion

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B2

    Plenty of golden fun during SlugFest

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Things to do: Aug. 1, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2

    Art on the Divide is showing new exhibitor

    By Art On The Divide | From Page: B3

     
    ‘The Flu Season’ stirs emotions

    By Ovation Stage | From Page: B4

    Guitar group performs in Sutter Creek

    By Sutter Creek | From Page: B5

     
    Time to register for classes at Center Stage

    By Center Stage Dance Academy | From Page: B5

    Get a groove on in Sutter Creek

    By Sutter Creek | From Page: B8

     
    Chris Young in concert at Carson Valley Inn

    By Carson Valley Inn | From Page: B8

    The music continues at Bear Valley Music Festival

    By News Release | From Page: B8

     
    Sacramento Museums are celebrating

    By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B9

     
    .

    Essentials

    Weather stats

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

     
    Crime Log: July 17-19

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

    .

    Obituaries

    Larry A. Randall

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Mark A. Smith

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Jeffie “Jeff” Lee Callahan

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Patsy Ruth Wing

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Lisa Oliver Rose

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Real Estate

    Avoiding the deal killers

    By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

     
    Decorating your home by the numbers

    By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

    Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

    Press Release | From Page: HS7

     
    Luxury home sales jump

    Press Release | From Page: HS11

     
    Pending home sales decrease in June

    Press Release | From Page: HS13

     
    Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

    Press Release | From Page: HS17

    Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

    Press Release | From Page: HS23

     
    .

    Comics

    .

    Home Source

    Decorating your home by the numbers

    By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

    Avoiding the deal killers

    By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

    Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

    Press Release | From Page: HS7

    Luxury home sales jump

    Press Release | From Page: HS11

    Pending home sales decrease in June

    Press Release | From Page: HS13

    Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

    Press Release | From Page: HS17

    Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

    Press Release | From Page: HS23