July 31, 2020

COVID Cancellations and Retirement Fun

By Harry C. Knipp, MD, FACR

Already a (shamefully) sedentary guy, staying home to work at the computer, read books, do crosswords and study my daily ACR Case in Point® hasn't been a hardship. For the first time in nearly 20 years, I did have to cancel my annual Florida Orioles spring training trip.

I feel sorry for our daughter-in-law, Lucy, wife to my son Dave (radiologist and MSK fellow at MGH) and mom to our cute, little granddaughter (age 1). Lucy is a native of Chengdu, China — home of the pandas. Due to the pandemic, she cancelled a long-awaited trip home to Chengdu to visit for the first time in years and show off our little one to her family.

We also have a daughter with two little grandsons in Miami, and have been having fun doing shows for them on FaceTime with an old hand puppet, Rowlf, the muppet dog and star of TV's Jimmy Dean Show of the 1960s. The puppet was a gag gift from my chief resident during radiology training in the 1970s. Little did I think that wacky dog would be so much fun 40+ years later.

Another son is a filmmaker and had great success with a short he made last year that premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood at the HollyShorts festival. It then played the Vale Festival and several more. The short was filmed at our lake log home in western Maryland, and it's fun to see our house on the big screen.

In November 2019, we took a 2,500-mile father/son road trip to Bristol, Memphis, and Nashville, TN, and Greenwood, MS, to do background photography for a full-length script he's completed involving an aging country music star.

Cleaning out basement closets where my wife and I stashed boxes of "good stuff" over 20 years ago has uncovered some treasures. Just yesterday, in a musty little book from the 1800s, I discovered a letter written by a great, great aunt when she was a schoolgirl in Baltimore, dated Oct. 1, 1861! The letter was to a teacher who must have gone off to fight in the Civil War and her imagination of bombshells bursting over his head and cities on fire.

I also found a Bible inscribed in 1891 from my great grandfather to his then father-in-law-to-be, which he gifted two years before my great grandparents married. My great grandfather received his MD in 1887 and worked as a physician at the University of Maryland, and is the first of our five generations of University of Maryland doctors.

University of Maryland, Baltimore, continues as my prime focus during retirement as I am chair of the Board of Trustees of our 75-acre, 7-school graduate campus in downtown Baltimore, and its affiliated foundation. Just today, we had a round of several conference calls setting up emergency matching funds for each of the schools to help our students and their families weather the COVID storm.

In the past year, I have dipped my toe into the world of our sister specialty, radiation oncology, by joining the Board of Directors of the independent, nonprofit Maryland Proton Treatment Center, a state-of-the-art, five-bay center, and the only one in Maryland. My primary contribution has been in marketing, as the lay businessmen involved haven't figured out all of the subtleties of marketing to referring physicians to which we radiologists are quite accustomed.