Chicagoans master the art of growing older
L. Dobson, 91
Catherine L. Dobson, MD'32, practiced obstetrics and
gynecology for nearly 70 years, retiring three years ago as a
clinical associate at the University of Chicago Hospitals. During
her career, she spent a month each in Afghanistan, Tunis, Honduras,
and Vietnam providing charitable medical care. Over the sofa in
her Hyde Park retirement--home apartment hangs a painting of a
young woman. Though the portrait is of her, she's quick to point
out an inaccuracy: "You don't wear beads when you play the violin."
was born on the West Side of Chicago, and I attended a boarding
school in Davenport, Iowa. While there I made up my mind that
I wanted to be a doctor and that never changed. Becoming an ob--gyn
seemed the natural choice in a profession that didn't really recognize
women. I was a resident at Cook County Hospital. Nothing was rare
there. You saw everything.
stopped playing the violin when I started my medical practice.
I was too busy. But I liked my patients. I loved the positive
feeling of caring for them. It's very hard to say that any one
particular medical advance stands out. Now the fathers are invited
into the delivery room, whereas before they were not. They're
part of the picture, as they should be. The more they understand,
the better off the whole family is.
fact that you could be original, original in what you do and for
whom you do it, has guided me. I worked in Vietnam during the
war doing medical work. It was a completely different world. Part
of the time you were afraid--afraid of getting in a taxi, afraid
of being involved with the war effort. That was the main one.
We didn't know it was going to be a war effort. I learned that
people are not important to governments as individuals.
would tell young people to take it easy. Things are not necessarily
what they seem. They should not be too worried about what they
see, because they might be wrong. You're never through learning,
really. Your work helps you develop and then you realize you've
made it. You've been there. Your life's experienced."