Doctor retiring after 34 years

Published 12:01 am Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dr. Darshanna Vyas holds up a photo of her family, which is one of the reasons she’s retiring. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News

For the last 34 years, Dr. Darshanna Vyas has treated the people of Andalusia like family.

Now, Vyas has decided to say “goodbye” to them and “hello” to the newest members of her family – her granddaughters.

“I never thought I’d retire,” said the internal medicine specialist who made serving the families of Andalusia her entire medical career. She and husband, fellow internist Vijay, completed medical school in India, and later finished their residencies in Chicago. On Oct. 10, 1977, the couple came to Andalusia.

“We were looking for a place that needed two internists,” she said. “My whole view of the U.S. was like Chicago. It was so cold, so when we started looking for somewhere to go, I said, ‘Let’s go somewhere warm.’”

Andalusia, Ala., fit the bill to a “T,” Vyas said.

“We came for a visit and never left,” she said. The couple, who was expecting at the time, packed up their then-4-year-old daughter to begin their new life in Small Town, U.S.A.

“And that’s exactly what we were looking for – small town life,” she said. “There was some cultural shock, going from Chicago to Andalusia, but I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”

The couple’s two children graduated from Andalusia High School. One is now a neonatologist at Atlanta’s Emory University; the other earned an MBA from Northwestern University and now works for a “big corporation” in Atlanta.

“My granddaughters call me Baa-baa,” she said. “And they’re the main reason that I’m retiring. Before I could only go for a weekend visit, and that meant only one day to spend with them. I’m ready to be with them when they need me.”

Vyas’ last day was July 1; however, her husband, the other Dr. Vyas, has taken over her patients. She said he has also modified his schedule because of her retirement.

“He’s working two weeks on, two weeks off,” she said. “That gives us time to do all the things we’ve wanted to do – travel, visit with family. I think I may even read a book. I love to read.”

Vyas said during her 34-years practicing medicine, she has grown to love the people she treats.

“These people are my family,” she said. “I have shared so much of my life with them, and them with me. I’ve always looked at them and said I would do this if this person were my mother, my father.

“They know how much I love my family, too,” she said. It’s a sentiment that is evident in the number of family photos lining the walls in the office and the waiting and exam rooms. “They’ve watched my children and now my grandchildren grow up. Every three months we change photos, and if we’re late, we hear it.

“Still, I’m ready to spend time with my grandchildren,” she said. “I’m going to miss it, though, and my patients.”

A reception honoring Dr. Vyas is scheduled for Tues. July 19, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. in the Andalusia Regional Hospital lobby.