by Neena Strichart
Besides a spouse or blood relative, few of us have a more intimate relationship than we do with our primary doctor. Over the past several years I have been blessed to have had my medical needs looked after by local physician Dr. Ronald Bitter. Whether I had an ache, pain, fever or more serious condition, Dr. Bitter was there to see that I was back in perfect health as soon as possible. His gentle ways are so soothing, and his medical expertise, in my opinion, is second to none.
A few years back I had simultaneously contracted both H1N1 (Swine Flu) and double pneumonia. Sicker than I had ever been in my life, having him visit me daily in the intensive-care unit gave me hope for recovery. There for over two weeks, my days and nights were spent just struggling to survive. My only respites were my breathing treatments and visits from my darling husband Steve and Dr. Bitter– who were both dressed in what appeared to be full hazmat attire. I was, after all, in what seemed like a double-secret, locked-down, private, highly contagious, sterile bomb shelter/alien observation facility. I was allowed no visitors, except Steve. Heck, I wasn’t even allowed to use a phone. Not speaking with my mother for nearly two weeks was agony. Thanks to Dr. Bitter and the specialists he recommended, I recovered in about two months. I am still grateful for his kindness and medical acumen.
For those of you who read my mother’s column a couple of weeks ago, you know that Dr. Bitter is the person who recommended seven years ago that she consult with oncologist Dr. Robert Nagourney after she was diagnosed with stage-four ovarian cancer. I am thankful that recommendation saved her life and she is still totally cancer-free.
I know that in Dr. Bitter’s nearly 40 years of practice he touched many people’s lives, and we have all been blessed to have found him. Now, it appears, he is retiring to pursue more personal pleasures. To bid him a proper farewell, his staff and colleagues at Long Beach Internal Medical Group hosted a lovely retirement reception late last month to allow Dr. Bitter’s patients to thank him publicly. It was a bittersweet affair, complete with refreshments, beverages, hugs, kisses, stories, and of course, lots of tears.
My family and I wish Dr. Bitter well, and I encourage him to consider part-time doctoring if his wife decides that she married him for better or worse, but not for lunch. I love you, Dr. B. Thank you for all you have done for me and my family.
For those who don’t know Dr. Ronald Bitter, here is a bit of his biography…I found the information on his office’s website, lbimg.com .
Although a native Californian, Dr. Bitter grew up on a farm in Idaho. Prior to opening his private practice, he had 18 years of higher education and medical training. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees were received from Brigham Young University, his Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota, and his M.D. From the University of Hawaii. He did his internal medical residency and was chief resident at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Bitter has held the position of instructor in physiology at the University of North Dakota, graduate teaching assistant, and graduate research assistant, political research field supervisor, and clinical teacher at the University of California, Irvine.
His interests include participation in church activities, athletics, music, and 20 years of scouting where he received both the Eagle Scout and Silver Explorer awards. He is also a member of Sigma Xi and the California Medical Association.