Thursday, January 17th, 2019

S Shopper Stories


Cherished memories of a career enriched by service to others

by Kymberly Bach

Recently retired, Dr. Louis Carideo considers it a privilege to have had such a rewarding career.

Recently retired, Dr. Louis Carideo considers it a privilege to have had such a rewarding career.

Retirement is the latest adventure on which Dr. Louis Carideo is about to embark. After more than forty years in practice, his colorful outlook on life makes the story of his career a celebration of a job well done. Dr. Carideo’s ability to connect with others on a personal level by sharing his experiences has made him a beloved friend and trusted confidant to so many patients.

Dr. Carideo’s father—Dr. Louis Carideo—was a family practitioner in Philadelphia. “He had an office on the first floor of our home,” Dr. Carideo recalls with a smile, “so there was a constant stream of people coming and going. I had full range of the house, so frequently I’d go down and help him out by handing him tools during different procedures. Many of our relatives would go to him with their problems—depression, divorce and such—and as a youngster of five or so, I thought those interactions were very interesting. I’d hide behind the door and listen in on the different conversations he was having—many of which were not appropriate for a youngster. But instead of those conversations scaring me off, they helped me begin to understand the feelings and emotions of others at a very young age.”

An intrepid youth, “Little Louis”—as he was affectionately nicknamed— first dreamed of becoming a train operator. Then he flirted with the idea of becoming an artist. His father never “told” him to become a doctor, but his quiet guidance steered him in that direction.

“My father was such a role model,” Dr. Carideo says. “I learned so much from his participation in the cycle of life, and that is what directed me toward being a doctor. All the things about being alive were in my father’s domain: sickness, suffering, dying, joy and hope. These were all so interesting to me because people are so interesting.”

Dr. Carideo started college as a biology major, indulging one of his true passions: science. His fascination with anything related to the subject led him to apply to and attend medical school in Philadelphia. 

"As a doctor, everything you see teaches a life lesson.
You gain insights into what the real issuesin a person’s lifetruly are.
Patients open the door to you and grant you the privilege
of being part of their lives,
and you are enriched by what you learn from them."

—Dr. Louis Carideo

“As a doctor, everything you see teaches a life lesson,” the doctor observes. “You gain insights into what the real issues in a person’s life truly are. Patients open the door to you and grant you the privilege of being part of their lives, and you are enriched by what you learn from them.”

Dr. Carideo’s belief that vulnerability makes one a better doctor has not only helped his patients deal with their issues, but it has helped him deal with issues of his own. “For instance, someone came in to talk to me about their mother passing away, which gave me the opportunity to share the experience of losing my mother,” he explains. “Sharing my own little stories became a way for me to help other people deal with whatever their story was.”

Most everyone has a bucket list to complete, and as Dr. Carideo faces retirement, his list is extensive. The first item on the agenda takes him back to his love of trains.

“As I mentioned before, when I was young I wanted to be a train operator,” he says, unable to suppress a smile. “I have model trains running all through my home. My wife, Jean, and I will be taking the Canadian Transcontinental train through Toronto, the Rocky Mountains and Winnipeg. My wife doesn’t share my love of trains but she loves to travel, so she’s just thrilled that we’ll be going on a trip.”

As an avid sailor, another item on the doctor’s bucket list is sailing a boat with a group of his friends and exploring local areas that were originally mapped by Captain John Smith in the early 1600s. The Chesapeake Bay, Cape Charles, Onancock, Tangier Island, and the Rappahannock River are all on the list. Because of his schedule, he was never able to take off more than four days, but now he’s delighted that he’ll be able to take an extended trip and just hang out with the guys.

His bucket list includes spending some quality time with his adult children.

“I’ve known since I was five that living in a family was extremely difficult,” Dr. Carideo says, “and that is what helped me stay married. At times it was a struggle to stay connected to my children, but Jean—being a very powerful woman—and I mean that in the nicest way—urged me to nurture those relationships. I learned how to balance family life with the push and pull of my practice.” He plans on expanding his sailing efforts further by taking his son to Maine for a retreat where they will work with a master boat craftsman. They will learn how to make a boat from beginning to end; from cutting the wood slats to working with fiberglass they will have a finished boat to bring home after the week-long program. Next will be a forty-mile bike ride in Colorado with his daughter. “My daughter is crazy,” Dr. Carideo says jokingly. “She likes to climb and hang off mountains in the Himalayans. We’ll keep it simple and stay on the bike paths that parallel the highways in Colorado. I want this to be a fond memory for her for the rest of her life.”

Dr. Carideo’s office closed on March 1 and there has been no shortage of people offering their accolades on a job well done, many bringing pies and cakes for him and his staff to enjoy. Several local doctors will be accepting his patients, but he plans on helping his colleagues out  by sometimes covering for them at Chesapeake General on weekends and during vacations.

“From the old days when I started listening outside the door of my dad’s office to being able to open the door to my patients in my own practice, it has been a privilege to have such a rewarding career,” Dr. Carideo states proudly. “The memory of it is something I will cherish forever.”

Dr. Louis Carideo