July 31, 2020

Life After Radiology

By Joseph A. Marasco Jr., MD, FACR

After many years of radiology practice and leadership in the 26-member Almar Radiology group in Pittsburgh, PA, I retired from practicing in 1996 to serve as the medical director of one of the group's hospitals for two years. I then entered full-time retirement and vowed to never read another medical article and devote the rest of my life to activities involving the church and musical organizations; so far I've been faithful to that goal. I left Pittsburgh in 2000 and have lived on Amelia Island, FL, ever since.

My church activities have included various involvement in the Amelia Plantation Chapel, from serving as president of the governing board and as a cook for men's breakfast. I have also participated in community Bible study for 18 years with most of the time spent as a core leader.

In addition, returning to studying and playing the violin has been paramount along with involvement in musical organizations. During the years that I was in practice, I served three years as president of the Pittsburgh Opera and another 12 years as executive vice president, and I am now a life member of the opera board. My involvement in Florida musical organizations include several years on the board of the Jacksonville Symphony, President of ARIAS, member of the symphony's Amelia Island support group, board member of the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival and violin performer in string ensemble groups.

A pivotal musical experience for me occurred in 2008 when the general director of Pittsburgh Opera precipitously resigned the position and the opera company was devoid of a leader. The Pittsburgh Opera board asked me to serve as interim managing director and I did so for six months until they recruited a new general director. It was an interesting and intense time flying back and forth from Florida to Pittsburgh most weeks and also making periodic week-long trips with my wife. However, it was also fulfilling and great fun!

Fast forward to 2013 when my dear and now departed friend, Dr. Neal Coleman (a cardiologist from Illinois who was president of the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival), approached me at church fellowship hour bemoaning the loss of the festival manager. Having enjoyed my Pittsburgh Opera leadership experience, I told Neal that I would be willing to help out until he was able to recruit somebody. I'm just a boy who can't say no! I'm still serving as executive director of the festival and am having a wonderful time despite dealing with many complex issues.

I'm not a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist, but now in my 88th year, I'm convinced that in addition to physical activity, we all need something to keep our brains active after retirement from a medical specialty that we loved. Indeed, for some of us, continued involvement in radiology may be the answer. My 92-year old internist and dear colleague in Pittsburgh has retired from seeing patients, but still loves to teach medical students and residents despite using a walker due to severe spinal stenosis. I lost my dear wife of 62 years in 2016 and staying in contact with people through various activities has helped with the grieving process.

Let's all find something to be passionate about and keep our bodies and brains active. If we're blessed with good health and longevity, let's live life to the fullest!