Locums for a Small World Blog

"Doc" Rick Abbott rides again (part 1)

Posted by Saralynn White

describe the imageWilliam Richard "Rick" Abbott, MD, is an ER doctor who loves a challenge. He met his wife, Jean, on his first day of medical school—when he was assigned to a cadaver with her—and 42 years later they're still colleagues, friends and lovers (TMI?). He's a clinical professor at the University of Colorado where, if our social media is anything to go by, he's very popular. He went to Tasmania on a locum tenens assignment for us and we've written about him in our newsletter. He put this experience into his own words:

I've had some great experiences doing things that came out of nowhere and were unplanned (and probably should have been thought out better). A couple of years ago, I took a "cold call" directed to my wife asking if she might be interested in a job in Australia. I said she wouldn't, but I might. About eight months later I was just north of Antarctica, working in Launceston—a former penal colony in Tasmania—at what is their finest hospital (in my opinion).

Then about a month ago Global Medical (the same folks who sent me to Australia) contacted me with a request: would I be willing to volunteer as a medic on a week-long bicycle ride for charity. Scott Wilson, the recruiter, knew I was an avid cyclist so a few calls and emails later I was ensconced as the "Doc" on the ride.  

We rode from beautiful Yosemite Valley, through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, across the windy flats of the San Joaquin Delta, out to the California coast, and then south to the highlight of the trip—across the Golden Gate Bridge. The scenery was incredible, the camping was delightful, the food was good...yada, yada, yada.

San Juaquin Delta in CaliforniaYosemite Valley

But wait! There's more...

There actually was some medical stuff to do. One rider used her face to do an imitation of a broom sweeping up the road and got rather colorful set of facial abrasions and bruises. One rider had a fractured radius and rode in a cast. And one who was three weeks out from a pelvis fracture and had to use crutches to get to the bicycle but rode for at least part of each day. By the way, the charity supplied a kit (which they use for all of their fundraising "expeditions) that included stuff for high altitude sickness and even a pregnancy test!

In California's Central ValleyMade it to the bridge!





But wait! There's more...

Did I mention the group was from Wales? It’s one of the reasons that I was interested in this "job". My family emigrated from there in 1906 and it turns out one cyclist lives on the outskirts of the town where my family came from. Many of the riders knew the town well, explaining it recently underwent a “rehab” and is no longer a pile of run down old mines and slag heaps, but "green" and pleasant. I even learned how to say "Hi" in Welsh - though since I can't gargle well enough to speak Welsh words, the pronunciation of "shwmai" is a mystery to me. 

The finish line The iconic Golden Gate Bridge







But wait! There's more...

I knew basically nothing about the charity the ride was for—Velindre, a cancer care center (or "centre" as it were) at Cardiff in the south of Wales (much smaller in population and area than my home state of Colorado). Google helped me and the group helped even more, but that’s another story for another day. I will tell you this: the required contribution to ride in this event was about $7,000 USD and fundraising efforts covered the gamut...

Topics: Dr. Rick Abbott, San Francisco