Dr Hilton Koppe reflects on his recently published memoir.
One Curious Doctor is a collection of short pieces born out of my experiences working as a GP in the Northern Rivers since 1988. It also includes stories which have their roots in my personal journey as a migrant growing up in 1960s Sydney, as the descendent of grandparents forced to escape Europe to survive, and as the son of parents who died prematurely from conditions that modern medicine could not cure.
In 2019, these worlds collided. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I received this diagnosis both as a shock - This can't be happening to me. I'm a doctor. Not a patient! And as a gift - Does this mean I actually get to rest now?
As the fallout from the trauma of the diagnosis began to settle, I tried to work out how I ended up in this position.
Was the PTSD a consequence of vicarious trauma from working as a GP for over 30 years? Did it come from my life-long feelings of being an outsider trying so hard to fit in? Or was it a result of trauma experienced by my parents and grandparents in their search for security across three continents?
Maybe it was all down to my personality type. My nature. Did the qualities which made me a trusted doctor also make me more vulnerable to the inevitable impact of caring for people over many years?
I do not yet have answers to these questions. But I am keen to share my ponderings with you.
My hope is that the stories in One Curious Doctor will resonate with those of you who may have had similar experiences.
This curious doctor has done his best without always getting things right. I ask you to care for these stories as a kind doctor might care for a new patient - with curiosity and compassion.
What readers say…
Hilton Koppe reflects on his life-journey, and some of life's most challenging questions, with great clarity, affection, intimacy, and uncompromising honesty. He takes you into his confidence, allows you into his life, the life of his ancestors, and into the consulting rooms of a country doctor’s practice.
- Arnold Zable, author of Cafe Scheherazade
What happens when a physician can't simply heal himself? Does he still get to call himself doctor when he no longer sees patients? Hilton Koppe writes an honest, vulnerable, gorgeous memoir inviting the reader into his journey from illness to health, from his family's origins fleeing Lithuania and Germany during World War II to becoming a doctor in Australia.
- Kim Suhr, author of Nothing to Lose, Director of Red Oak Writing
One Curious Doctor offers the reader an exceptional experience of honesty, vulnerability, insight and transformation. Hilton Koppe, doctor turned patient, turned writer, takes us on his momentous journey of a life awakened by the practice of medicine and the necessity of giving it up. Hilton has listened deeply to the human heart, his patients' and his own.
- Kelly DuMar, author of girl in tree bark
Available at https://www.hiltonkoppe.com/Shop.php