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Dr. David Williams reflects on his time as a chiropractor in Castlegar as he enters retirement

Dr. Williams retires after 37 years of practice in Castlegar
Dr. David Williams poses with his office companion of 40 years, his skeleton Red. Photo: Submitted

Dr. David Williams has served Castlegar as a chiropractor for 37 years. In mid-November, he closed his practice and stepped into retirement. Williams’ wife Laura was a cheerful staple at the practice, running the front office for many years. She too has retired.

Here are some of Dr. Williams’ thoughts on his time in Castlegar.

As I reflect on retirement I look for symmetries in the beginning and ending of my career. I find them in a gorgeously hot August, watching Summer Olympics (Los Angeles then, Tokyo now) as we waited for a federal election in September.

The election was why we were here. I was doing a locum for the local chiropractor, Bob Brisco, as he was campaigning to become the area’s MP. It was supposed to be a five week gig, which happily ran for a further 1919 weeks.

In service to symmetry, one of the patients on my last day of practice (Nov. 12, 2021) was also one of the patients I treated on my first day here (July 31, 1984).

It was an honour to be of service to some truly wonderful people. I was blessed to live in an area of such serene beauty.

It was a satisfying career, hitting the three keys to a job that I would occasionally advise (ie. nag and natter) my younger patients to look for.

It stimulated the mind — where you had to be actively thinking and learning every day. It nourished the body — providing enough money to fulfill all of my needs and some of my wants. I think having so much money that it gets you everything you want is ultimately damaging. And thirdly, it fed the soul. I got to help people heal from their pain (most of the time). How cool is that? I liked that most of all.

I think what I disliked the most in my career was dealing with the statement I would hear a few times a year: “I don’t believe in chiropractic.”

This always drove me crazy. Belief and faith are for the unknowable, for God, not science. And the science of chiropractic is well established.

I’m not asking for belief, but rather trust. Trust that I’m adhering to an evidence-based practice built on a foundation of studies that followed the scientific method. This led me to the development of my creed. It ain’t no Nicene, but it goes like this:

“I appreciate and acknowledge the validity of findings and conclusions arrived at through rational thought and the scientific method.”

This has become my stock answer to the vaccine hesitant. On the one side of the argument, you have the world’s experts endorsing the use of vaccinations for COVID-19 as overwhelmingly safe and effective, based on the findings that have adhered to the scientific method (which sets rigorous guidelines to ensure that the results obtained from an experiment are the closest we can get to the truth). On the other side of the argument, against vaccinations, you have — what? Some guy’s opinion that your aunt reposted on Facebook? Conspiracies and gut feelings and hearsay? But sorry, I rant.

My teenage self would be outraged that I didn’t make a retiring mix-tape. If I did, I would end it with a song written by Pete Townshend — All Shall be Well. When I first played it for Laura she said, “That wasn’t written by him. That was written by Julian of Norwich, you idiot.” The “you idiot” wasn’t said, but implied. Julian of Norwich did indeed write the lyrics, 700 years ago, and I bet she never saw a dime in song royalties.

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”


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