Born in the Philippines, Dr. Connie Mariano broke ceiling after ceiling by becoming the first Filipino rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and the first woman to direct the White House medical unit for presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
“I pinch myself. I realize how blessed I am that I’ve had this life that’s been so amazing and unpredictable,” Mariano says. “To come from the Philippines, growing up there, I left when I was two. I think it really makes me appreciate being American because of all the advantages and opportunities I’ve been given.”
Mariano was born at the military base in the Philippines. Her dad joined the U.S. Navy in the 1940s and the family was always on the move. They lived in Hawaii, Washington, D.C., Taiwan and later settled in San Diego in the 70s where her dad retired and where she graduated from high school.
“I embraced the change. It was an opportunity to make the best of a situation,” Mariano says. “What it taught me to do is to adjust to every environment you move to because you’re forced to do that. You absorb the culture. It makes you more of a citizen of the world.”
The doctor’s interest in medicine evolved over time. She says the idea hit her after an OB/GYN doctor came to her junior high and described what it was like to deliver babies. After that, she says she knew she wanted to work with patients.
Because of financial difficulties, it made sense for Mariano to join the Navy and have her medical school paid through the military. She agreed to a contract that allowed her to receive her education through the military’s medical school in return for 10 years of service.
Mariano was getting ready to leave the Navy at the end of her 10 years. She had attended a business trip with her first husband to Palm Springs where she told him she wanted to give in to the life of a trophy wife. Those plans didn’t last long. She received a call from her boss telling her he wanted to nominate her for the position of Navy doctor to the White House. There’s a doctor from the Army, Navy and Air Force in the White House. She would be one of five candidates for the job. The two year contract consists of taking care of the president and travelling with them on Air Force One.
“My husband calls me back and tells me I should take the interview,” Mariano says. “He says you have nothing to lose, you’ll never get the job anyway. He was my first husband. I divorced him 13 years later… Nine months later I’m in D.C., it’s Christmas time, and I go for the interview.”
She was the only female out of the five who went to interview in D.C. She received the job on the spot.
“I told the person interviewing me, the longer I’m in the Navy the more stripes I’m going to get on my sleeve, the more they put me behind a desk. I am not a desk doctor, I am a trench doctor,” Mariano says. “You can put me anywhere in the world, I know how to take care of patients anywhere without being in a hospital.”
Mariano says taking care of Bush was like taking care of your dad, while Clinton was like an older brother since he only had eight years on her. It was difficult not to build a relationship with them, she says, because you’re with them day and night, in the White House and overseas. She says she saw the president sometimes more than she saw her own family.
“It’s exhausting. You don’t really get used to it,” Mariano says. “You pinch yourself because you get to see history in the making. You’re seeing these amazing countries. I tell the young doctors that I train that if you ever think this is boring then it’s time to leave. You should always get a thrill.”
She eventually left the job and retired because she missed her children. They were three and five when she started working at the White House, and they were 12 and 14 when she left. She says she didn’t want to miss anymore of watching them grow up.
After retiring from the White House, Mariano relocated to Scottsdale in January of 2001 to open her own clinic. She says with the lack of a winter and the great Mexican food the state has to offer, it was an easy decision. She misses the excitement and the people she worked with at the White House, she says, but she’s happy to be away from the drama and worry.
TED SIMON: COMING UP NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," DOCTOR CONNIE MARIANO WENT FROM BEING A LITTLE GIRL IN THE PHILLIPINES TO THE WHITE HOUSE, AS PHYSICIAN TO TWO U.S. PRESIDENTS. ALONG THE WAY, SHE BROKE MANY BARRIERS AND ACHIEVED AN IMPRESSIVE LIST OF "FIRSTS. DR. CONNIE MARIAN, NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON."
PROMO: "ARIZONA HORIZON" MADE POSSIBLE BY FRIENDS OF PBS. MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.”
TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING. WELCOME TO THIS INFOCUS EDITION OF "ARIZONA HORIZON." I AM TED SIMONS. DR. CONNIE MARIANO IS A TRAIL BLAZER. SHE IS THE FIRST PHILLIPONO IN THE U.S. NAVY AND THE FIRST WOMEN TO DIRECT THE WHITE HOUSE MEDICAL UNIT. SHE HAS HAD TO TELL PRESIDENTS TO TAKE THEIR MEDICINE AND SACRIFICE HER OWN HEALTH IN SACRIFICE TO OTHERS. SHE NOW RUNS HER OWN MEDICAL CLINIC IN SCOTTSDALE. WELCOME TO DOCTOR CONNIE MARIANO.
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: THANK YOU.
TED SIMONS: WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON YOUR LIFE, YOUR CAREER, DOES IT FEEL LIKE YOU? DO YOU THINK, THIS WAS QUITE A JOURNEY?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: I DO. I PINCH MYSELF. I REALIZE HOW BLESSED I AM TO COME FROM THE PHILIPPINES GROWING UP THERE, I LEFT WHEN I WAS TWO. IT MAKES ME APPRECIATE BEING AMERICAN BECAUSE OF ALL OF THE OPPORTUNITIES AND ADVANTAGES I WAS GIVEN.
TED SIMONS: DID YOU RECOGNIZE THAT IN YOUR CHILDHOOD, YOU GREW UP AROUND THE COUNTRY, DIDN’T YOU. YOU WERE A NAVY BROWN?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: I WAS. MY DAD WAS U.S. NAVY. I LEFT AT TWO, MOVED TO PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII, THE MELTING POT. EVERY TWO TO THREE YEARS, WE MOVED SOMEWHERE. I LIVED IN WASHINGTON D.C. IN THE 60’S DURING CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. IN THE '70S, MY DAD RETIRED IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL AND UNDERGRADUATED THERE AND WENT TO MEDICAL SCHOOL IN BETHESDA. I WAS CRISSCROSSED ACROSS THE COUNTRY, SO WE MOVED MANY TIMES SO HOME WAS WHEREVER THE MILITARY SENT US.
TED SIMONS: DO YOU FEEL AS THOUGH AND I HEAR FROM MILITARY KIDS, THEY EITHER REALLY ENJOYED AND TOOK TO HEART AND MADE THEM BETTER PEOPLE TO MOVE AROUND AND MAKE FRIENDS. OTHERS FOLKS THOUGHT IT WAS DIFFICULT AND A ROUGH CHILDHOOD. HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: YOU KNOW FOR ME, I EMBRACED THE CHANGE. IT WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THE BEST OF THE SITUATION. AND WHAT IT TAUGHT ME TO ADJUST TO EVERY ENVIRONMENT YOU MOVE TO. YOU ARE FORCED TO DO THAT. YOU ARE MOVED TO A NEW SCHOOL, MAKE NEW FRIENDS, ABSORB THE CULTURE. IT MAKES YOU A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD, THAT THE WORLD DOESN'T REVOLVE AROUND, L-A OR SAN FRANCISCO, NEW YORK OR D.C. LIVING IN TAIWAN, I LIVED THERE FOR THREE YEARS. MY FATHER WAS AT THE DEFENSE COMMAND. YOU REALIZE AMERICANS CAN BE NARROW MINDED LIVING OVERSEAS. I REMEMBER BEING ON A MILITARY BUS, MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES AND WE WERE GOING THROUGH THE FIELDS IN TAIPEI AND THEY HAD RICE PADDIES, AND I REMEMBER SOMEONE MAKE A COMMENT SAYING, “LOOK AT ALL OF THOSE FOREIGNERS. I LOOKED AT THEM AND SAID, WE ARE THE FOREIGNERS. IT'S THEIR COUNTRY.”
TED SIMONS: EXACTLY INTERESTING, WHAT GOT YOU INTO MEDICINE HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED? WERE YOU ALWAYS INTERESTED IN MEDICINE?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: NO, THAT EVOLVED OVER TIME. BEING A GOOD CATHOLIC GIRL, I WANTED TO BE A NUN. THEN I REALIZED YOU COULDN'T DATE. THAT’S A NO NO. THEN I WANTED TO BE A TEACHER. THEN THAT WENT SO FAR. IT WASN’T UNTIL I WAS IN JUNIOR HIGH THEY HAD CAREER DAY AND THEY HAD AN OBGYN DOCTOR COME TO THE SCHOOL AND DESCRIBE TO THE STUDENTS WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO DELIVER BABIES, SO I STARTED IN OBGYN. I KNEW I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING WITH PATIENTS.
TED SIMONS: AND YOU END UP GOING IN THAT DIRECTIONS YOU ALSO WIND UP IN THE NAVY. IS THAT BECAUSE OF DAD? THAT'S WHAT YOU KNEW?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: IT IS TRUE BECAUSE OF WHAT I KNEW, BUT BECAUSE OF FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES, NO WAY MY PARENTS COULD SEND ME TO MEDICAL SCHOOL. I WENT TO THE U-C SAN DIEGO ON A SCHOLORSHIP AND I WENT TO THE UNIFORMED SERVICES SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, THE MILITARY'S MEDICAL SCHOOL. SO ALL YOU TAXPAYERS PAID FOR MY MEDICAL SCHOOL EDUCATION. IN RETURN I PAID BACK TEN YEARS. IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD DEAL.
TIM SIMONS: AND YOUR CAREER TOOK YOU ALL THE WAY TO REAR ADMIRAL IN THE U.S. NAVY. DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE THE FIRST FILIPINO U.S. ADMIRAL IN THE U.S. NAVY?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: I DIDN'T UNTIL I HAD A REALLY GOOD FRIEND WHO ISIN THE FILIPINO/ AMERICAN COMMUNITY AND I WAS GETTING READY TO GET PROMOTED AND WE WERE SETTING UP THE EVENT IN THE STATE DINNING ROOM. MY FRIEND THAT IS AN ATTORNY AND SAID YOU KNOW I RESEARCHED IT AND YOU ARE THE FIRST FILLIPINO/AMERICAN ADMIRAL IN THE NACY AND SINCE THEN THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY FOLLOWING.
TED SIMONS: YEAH AND I CAN IMAGINE THE FILIPINO AMERICAN COMMUNITY MUST BE AWFULLY PROUD OF YOU.
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: IT IS. THEY ARE. ESPECIALLY WHERE WE STARTED, ESPECIALLY IN THE NAVY, MY FATHER STARTED IN THE 1940S. HE FOLLOWED HIS UNCLE. THEY HAD AN AGREEMENT WITH THE U.S. AT THAT TIME THAT FILIPINO CITIZENS COULD JOIN THE NAVY, SERVE TIME AND BECOME AMERICAN CITIZENS. IT WAS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR THEM. HE JOINED LIKE HIS UNCLES DID. BROUGHT US HERE TO THIS COUNTRY. SO THEY STARTED OFF IN THE NAVY AS STEWARDS. HE WAS ESSENTIALLY THE HOUSE BOY IN THE HOME OF AN ADMIRAL. HE TELLS ME THE STORY. HE SERVED A THREE STAR REAR ADMIRAL AND WORKED IN THE ADMIRAL'S HOME, COOKED IN THE KITCHEN, PREPARED THE ADMIRAL'S UNIFORM. EVERY MORNING HE PINNED THE ADMIRALS SHOULDER BOARDS ON PREPARED THE MEDALS. SO PART OF THE CEREMONY IS PLACING THE SHOULDER BOARDS. MY DAD PLACED MY SHOULDER BOARDS. WHEN HE DID THAT, HIS HANDS WERE TREMBLING.
TED SIMONS: AH THAT’S NICE. THAT HAD TO BE VERY EMOTIONAL FOR YOU TOO. YOU WERE IN THE WHITE HOUSE, LETS TALK ABOUT HOW YOU GOT TO THE WHITE HOUSE. WHAT DOES THE PHYSICIAN TO THE U.S. PRESIDENT DO?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: YOU WORRY A LOT. NO, WHAT YOU DO, WE FOLLOW THE PRESIDENT AROUND 24-7. WE ARE THERE IN CASE ANYTHING BAD HAPPENS IN TERMS OF PHYSICAL THREAT OR IF THE PRESIDENT BECOMES ACUTELY ILL THAT JEOPARDIZES THEIR HEALTH AND SAFETY. WE WORKED VERY CLOSELY WITH SECRET SERVICE AND WHAT I TERM AS PROTECTIVE MEDICAL SUPPORT. WHEN THE PRESIDENT IS DOING AN EVENT YOU ARE CLOSE TO SECRET SERVICE IN CASE SOMEONE TRIES TO ASSASSINATE HIM, A BOMB GOES OFF, HE TRIPS AND FALLS OR HAS A HEART ATTACK, YOU ARE THE FIRST RESPONDER THERE. THE OTHER REASON WE ARE THERE IS THE SENIOR PHYSICIAN HAS INPUT REGARDING THE 25TH AMENDMENT IN CASE OF PRESIDENTIAL DISABILITY. WE HAVE INPUT. WE DON'T INSTITUTE. THAT'S THE SUCCESSION AMENDMENT. THERE ARE FOUR SESSIONS OF IT. WHAT HAPPENS IS WE DETERMINE IF THE PRESIDENT IS NOT FIT TO CARRY ON BECAUSE OF MENTAL ILLNESS OR PHYSICAL DISABILITY OR SUDDEN ILLNESS. WE MAKE THAT CALL AND HAVE THE VICE PRESIDENT TAKE OVER TEMPORARILY.
TED SIMONS: THAT IS QUITE A RESPONSIBILITY. HOW DID YOU GET THIS POSITION? IS IT SOMETHING YOU WANTED? SOMETHING YOU LOBBIED FOR?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: NEVER HEARD OF THE JOB. NEVER KNEW OF IT. I THINK IT WAS AN ANSWER TO A PRAYER. I WAS SEARCHING AT THE TIME. IT WAS IN 1991. I WAS IN SAN DIEGO. I WAS IN THE NAVY. I WAS THERE TEN YEARS, I WAS A DIVISION HEAD FOR INTERNAL MEDICINE WORKING AT A GREAT HOSPITAL. THAT WAS MY HOMETOWN. MY FIRST HUSBAND AND I AT THE TIME HAD TWO KIDS, WE LIVED THREE HOUSES FROM MOM AND DAD, AND HE WORKED FOR A LAW FIRM. I FELT SOMETHING WAS MISSING. I FELT UNEASY THAT SOMETHING WAS GOING TO HAPPEN, BUT I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS. AT THAT TIME MY TEN YEAR COMMITMENT WAS DRAWING TO A CLOSE. I HAD TO DECIDE IF I WANTED TO STAY IN THE NAVY, MAKE IT A CAREER OR GET OUT. AS I WAS THINKING THIS MY HUSBAND SAID MY LAW FIRM IS DOING A RETREAT IN PALM SPRINGS. COME WITH ME AND DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. SO THE STORY TELL PEOPLE IS TRUE, I WRITEN ABOUT IT. WE WENT TO PALM STRINGS. I WENT TO THE GRAND BALLROOM THAT NIGHT FOR THE EVENT AND I WAS TIRED BECAUSE WORKING LATE HOURS DURING THE DAY, TAKING CARE OF THE KIDS AT NIGHT. I GO TO THE GRAND BALLROOM AND LOOK TO THE SIDE AND THERE'S THE LAW PARTNERS. I LOOK FOR THE WIVES TO JOIN THEM. I SEE THE OTHER SIDE, THEY ARE TANNED, RESTED, WEARING NICE CLOTHES. THEY HAVE TIME FOR PILATES AND YOGA. THEY HAVE TIME FOR THEIR KIDS.I TURNED OUT TO MY HUSBAND I SAID, I KNOW WHAT I WANT TO DO. YOU MAKE PARTNER. I'LL GET OUT OF THE NAVY AND I'LL BECOME A TROPHY WIFE. HE SAID OKAY LETS DO THAT. SO FAST FORWARD, MONDAY MORNING I GO BACK TO THE NAVY HOSPITAL, I GO DOWN TO THE OFFICE OF PERSONALL AND YOU CAN'T JUST SAY I QUIT IM OUT OF HERE. I'LL OUT OF HERE. YOU SUPPLY YOUR PAPERWORK IN TRIPLICATE AND NINE MONTHS LATER THEY SET YOU FREE. IT STRIKES ME THAT I'M DIVORCING THE NAVY WHICH I HAVE KNOWN ALL OF MY LIFE. IF THIS IS WHAT IT TAKE, I'LL DO IT. AS I AM LOOKING AT PAPERWORK, THE PHONE RINGS AND IT'S MY BOSS THE CHAIRMAN OF MEDICINE. HE DOESN'T KNOW I'M TRYING TO GET OUT. I JUST GOT A REQUEST FROM WASHINGTON D.C. I NEED TO NOMINATE FIVE CANDIDATES TO THE WHITE HOUSE. IT'S A TWO YEAR TOUR. AT THE END YOU CAN COME BACK HERE, RUN A CLINIC. IT'S GREAT. I CALLED MY HUSBAND AT HIS LAWFIRM AND SAID, LISTEN, CHANGE OF PLANS. I MAY PUT MY NAME IN THE HAT FOR THIS. I TELL HIM ALL ABOUT THIS. HE SAID WHERE DO WE HAVE TO MOVE? I SAID WASHINGTON D.C. HE SAID ARE YOU CRAZY? YOU HATE WASHINGTON D.C. YOU GREW UP THERE. MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, THEY DON'T HAVE GOOD MEXICAN FOOD. HE SAID, DON'T TAKE IT. I SAID OKAY. MY PHONE RINGS AGAIN. IT'S MY HUSBAND. BEFORE YOU CALL THEM, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE. YOU WILL NEVER GET THE JOB ANYWAY.
TED SIMONS: YOUR HUSBAND SAYS THIS?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: WELL, HE WAS MY FIRST HUSBAND. I DIVORCED HIM 13 YEARS LATER. ANYWAYS HE SAYS YOU WILL NEVER GET THIS JOB ANYWAY BUT IT'S A GOOD RESUME ITEM. INCASE YOU WORK FOR A HMO SO PUT YOU NAME IN. SO FAST FORWARD, I PUT MY NAME IN. NINE MONTHS LATER I AM IN WASHINGTON D.C. AND IT IS CHRISTMAS TIME, EVERYTHING IS DECORATED AND I GO IN FOR THE INTERVIEW.
TED SIMONS: AND YOU GOT THE JOB.
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: IT WAS A VERY STRANGE INTERVIEW. THEY TELL YOU WHAT THE INTERVIEW IS LIKE AND YOU THINK IT'S THE WHITE HOUSE, VERY PROFESSIONAL. I'M WALKING AROUND THE WHITE HOUSE COMPOUND, WITH FOUR OTHER GUYS BECAUSE I AM THE ONLY FEMALE. FOUR OTHER GUYS IN THEIR UNIFORMS, LOOKING LIKE CLONES FROM TOM CRUISE TOP GUN. YOU KNOW LIKE YOU. BEAUTIFUL HEAIR NICE TEETH, MEDALS, THEY ARE COCKY LIKE THEY ARE GETTING THE JOB. I DON'T KNOW ANYBODY THERE. WE EACH HAVE PRIVATE INTERVIEWS THE DOCTOR WHO IS THE FINAL SAY.
TED SIMONS: AND YOU OBVIOUSLY PASSED THE AUDITION.
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: WELL, WHAT HAPPENED AND IT TELLS ME JUST TO SPEAK WITH YOUR TRUE AND AUTHENTIC VOICE, THE FIRST QUESTION, WHICH IS APPROPRIATE, WHY DO YOU WANT THIS JOB? EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT. WHY DO YOU WANT THIS JOB? I PREPARED ALL OF THE POLITICALLY CORRECT RESPONSES. I SAID, IT'S PAY BACK TIME. I OWE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. MY FATHER WAS A POOR MAN RAISED IN THE PHILIPPINE, JOINED THE NAVY, BROUGHT US TO THE COUNTRY. WE WERE EDUCATED HERE, I GOT A FULL SCHOLORSHIP THROUGH THE MILITARY. I GOT MY MEDICAL CAREER. I OWE SO MUCH TO THE COUNTRY. IF I CAN REPAY MY DEBT BY SERVING THE COMMANDER AND CHIEF, THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO DO. I LOOK AT HIM, NO EXPRESSION ON HIS FACE. VEGAS CALLS IT POKER FACE. A FEW MINUTES LATER HE SAID WHAT CAN YOU DO HERE? AT THAT TIME I AM A COMMANDER I HAD THREE STRIPES. THE LONGER I'M IN THE NAVY, THE MORE STRIPES I GET, THE MORE THEY PUT ME BEHIND THE DESK. I AM NOT A DESK DOCTOR. I'M NOT A TRENCH DOCTOR. I KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF PATIENTS. ONCE AGAIN, NO FEEDBACK. I'M THINKING THIS IS THE WORST INTERVIEW OF MY LIFE. HE STOOD UP AND SAID, AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED WE CAN STOP THE PROCESS RIGHT NOW. I THOUGHT, OH NO. HE'S GOING TO THROW ME OUT. I DON'T CARE WHO WE ARE INTERVIEWING TODAY OR TOMORROW, YOU HAVE THE JOB. I'M GOING TO TELL BARBARA BUSH.
TED SIMONS: AND YOU DID GET THE JOB. WHAT WAS IT WORKING WITH THE FIRST PRESIDENT BUSH? WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: PRESIDENT BUSH WAS LIKE TAKING CARE OF YOUR DAD. PRESIDENT CLINTON WAS LIKE YOUR OLDER BROTHER BECAUSE THERE WAS EIGHT YEARS DIFFERENCE. HUGE DIFFERENCE IN GENERATION AND HOW YOU INTERACT WITH THEM?
TED SIMONS: DID THEY TREAT YOU THE SAME? THERE HAD TO BE RESPECT THEN. BUT YOU ARE THEIR DOCTORS. YOU LITERALLY HAD TO TELL THEM TO TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES.
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: WE DID. IT'S AN UNUSUAL SETTING TYPE. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR DOCTOR 24-7? IN THE MORNING WHEN YOU GET UP. IN A HOTEL ROOM DOING AN EVENT WE ARE THREE DOORS DOWN. I SAW THE PRESIDENT THEN MORE THAN I SAW MY OWN FAMILY. YOU SEE THEM EVERY SINGLE DAY. YOU CAN BE PERFECTLY WELL. YOU KNOW THEM. YOU KNOW YOUR OWN JOKES. YOU KNOW A GOOD DAY FROM A BAD DAY. HOW MANY DOCTORS SEE THEIR PATIENTS GO INTO THEIR HOME. YOU SEE THEM NON-CLIENT WHEN THEY ARE EATING THAT FOOD DOING WHAT THEY ARE DOING. AS A DOCTOR YOU SAY YOU HAVE A COLD. YOU TREAT WITH ANTIBIOTICS, WAIT AND WATCH. SOMEONE JOKED THAT CLINTON WOULD ALWAYS GET LARYNGITIS FROM OVER USE AND I WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT COULD TELL THEM TO SHUT UP. EVEN THEN IT WAS DIFFICULT BECAUSE HE LIKED TO TALK.
TED SIMONS: WERE THEY GOOD PATIENTS?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: YES.
TED SIMONS: BOTH OF THEM?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: THEY WOULD LISTEN TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY WOULD LISTEN. IT WAS HARD TO HIDE THINGS FROM YOUR DOCTOR BECAUSE WE TRAVELED WITH THEM EVERYWHERE. YOU HAD TO TRAIN THEM NOT TO THINK THAT THIS MINOR THING IS GOING TO BE A BIG DEAL. YOU REASSURE THEM A LOT. THEY GET USED TO MEDICAL CARE ALL THE TIME, 24-7.
TED SIMON: DID YOU EVER GET USED TO THE JOB BECAUSE YOU WRITE THAT THERE ARE 130 PLUS OVERSEAS TRIPS. YOU ONCE WORKED A 50 STRAIGHT HOUR SHIFT. DID YOU EVER GET USED TO THAT?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: IT'S EXHAUSTING. YOU DO NOT REALLY GET USED TO IT. YOU PINCH YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU SEE HISTORY IN THE MAKING. YOU ARE SEEING THESE AMAZING COUNTRIES AND THESE TRIPS. WALKING ACROSS THE SOUTH LAWN TO THE HELICOPTER, AND THEY ARE FILMING YOU, I TELL THE DOCTORS, IF YOU THINK it’s BOORING, YOU SHOULD LEAVE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS GET A THRILL WALKING ACROSS THE SOUTH LAWN TO THE HELIPCOPTOR OR WALKING DOWN THE COLONADE TO THE OVAL OFFICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS FEEL THE THRILL BECAUSE IT'S A GREAT HONOR TO DO THIS.
TED SIMONS: DID YOU LEAVE BECAUSE OF FAMILY ISSUES?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: YOU KNOW I LEFT BECAUSEI WAS ASKED TO STAY BY "W." I LEFT FOR FAMILY. RECOUNTING THE STORY, IT WAS MY KIDS. I MISSED THEM AND I MISSED MOST OF MY CHILDHOOD. THEY WERE THREE AND FIVE WHEN I CAME TO THE WHITE HOUSE. THEY WERE 12 AND 14. I MISSED THEIR WHOLE CHILDHOOD. AND ONE WEEKEND I HAD A SATURDAY OFF. I WENT TO THE BASEMENT TO GET SOMETHING AND FOUND A BOX OF SCHOOLWORK MY KIDS WORKED ON AND WE SAVED. MY YOUNGEST SON JASON HAD A JOURNAL AND I FOUND IT. I LOOKED AT THE JOURNAL ENTRY. THIS WAS WRITTEN AROUND SEVEN. HE HAD WRITTEN, TODAY MOMMY IS ON ANOTHER TRIP WITH THE PRESIDENT. WHEN SHE IS AWAY, THE HOUSE IS DARK. IT'S THOUGH SHE IS DEAD. YOU CAN NEVER GET YOUR KID'S CHILDHOOD BACK.
TED SIMONS: SO GEORGE W. BUSH WANTS YOU TO STAY BUT YOU SAY NO SO IT'S TIME TO MOVE ON. ARIZONA, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: THAT WAS AN ACT OF GOD TOO. I WAS GOING TO STAY IN WASHINGTON D.C. BECAUSE I WAS GOING TO SET A NATIONAL HEALTH PROGRAM FOR G.W. HOSPITAL. I WAS SETTING UP HOSPITAL AND OUT OF THE BLUE MY JOURNAL FROM THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION ARRIVES.I NEVER READ ADS BUT I OPEN IT UP THERE WAS A HALF PAGE AD FOR THE SCOTTSDALE MAYO CLINIC PHYSICIAN. I THOUGHT, THAT'S NEAR SAN DIEGO, WHICH IS HOME. I CALLED MY FRIENDS AT MOTHER MAYO AND SAID WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT SCOTTSDALE? THERE ARE TWO GREAT DOCS THERE. THEY CAME FROM ROCHESTER. WHY DO YOU WANT TO KNOW? I'M RETIRING AND MAYBE I'LL TAKE THAT POSITION. WHY DON'T YOU COME TO ROCHESTER? I SAID I LOVE YOU GUY, BUT I DON'T DO WINTER ANYMORE. I CAME TO SCOTTSDALE AND IN JANUARRY IT WAS SUNNY AND BRIGHT AND GORGEOUS AND THEY HAD GOOD MEXICAN FOOD. WE MOVED HERE.
TED SIMONS: YOU MOVED HERE AND STAYED HERE AND MOVED HERE BUT YOU DIDN'T STAY OUT OF THE HEADLINES. YOU WERE IN THE HEADLINES WITH ONE INCIDENT MONICA LEWINSKY SITUATION, THEY NEEDED BLOOD FROM PRESIDENT CLINTON. YOU DREW THE BLOOD, DIDN'T YOU?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: I DID. IT WAS THE HARDEST CHAPTER WRITING THE BOOK. THE INDEPENDENT COUNCIL WANTED A BLOOD TO MATCH THE BLOOD SO THEY CAN MATCH THE D-N-A TO THE INFAMOUS BLUE DRESS. THE WHITE HOUSE PHYSICIAN SHALL DRAW IT. THEY USHER ME INTO THE MAP ROOM. DAVE KENDALL WAS THERE. IT WAS EARLY IN THE MORNING. ROBERT BITMAN REPRESENTING KEN STAR AND A WOMAN FBI AGENT. WE DREW THE BLOOD. THEY WENT OFF WITH A TUBE OF BLOOD. DAVE SAID, DRAW ANOTHER TUBE. I SAID, WHY? DRAW ANOTHER TUBE. NOBODY TRUSTS ANYBODY IN THIS SETTING, SO WE DREW ANOTHER TUBE. I'M SORRY, MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE TO DRAW ANOTHER. WE KEPT THAT IN THE WHITE HOUSE FRIDGE.
TED SIMONS: WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME HERE. THERE IS SO MUCH I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT. THIS HAS BEEN A GREAT CONVERSATION. YOU WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TORNADO FOR EIGHT OR NINE YEARS. YOU HAVE BEEN IN ARIZONA NOW 15 OR 16 YEARS. DO YOU MISS THE BUZZ? DO YOU MISS THE ADRENALINE?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: I MISS THE GOOD PEOPLE I WORK WITH IN THE MILITARY AND SECRET SERVICE. I DON'T MISS THE DRAMA. I MISS THE EXCITEMENT. YOU CAN USE THAT AND YOU FEEL YOU ARE DOING YOUR COUNTRY A SERVICE SERVING IN WASHINGTON. YOU GET ANXIETY. I DON'T MISS CONSTANTLY BEING WORRIED THAT THE PRESIDENT IS GOING TO BE SICK OR INJURED OR DIE IN OFFICE. I MISS THE PEOPLE BUT NOT THE DRAMA. NO DRAMA. I DO NOT WANT THE DRAMA.
TED SIMONS: YOU PROBABLY NEVER TIRE OF LOOKING AT YOURSELF OR HEARING OF YOURSELF AS THE AMERICAN DREAM. YOU MADE IT, DIDN'T YOU?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: I WANTED TO OPEN THE DOORS FOR OTHER PEOPLE. YOU KNOW SHATTER THE GLASS CEILING. YOU PASS THE HAMMER TO SOMEONE ELSE SO OTHERS CAN GO THROUGH. WE HAVE A THREE STAR NAVY ADMIRAL FILIPINO IN D.C. DR. RAQUEL BONO WHO IS AMAZING. I JUST SMILE. I SAY, WE OPENED THE WAY. YOU MAKE IT BETTER FOR EVERYBODY ELSE.
TED SIMONS: YOU CERTAINLY DID. YOU HAVE QUITE A LIFE HERE. CONGRATULATIONS ON THIS AND CONTINUE SUCESSS IS THIS SCOTTSDALE?
DR. CONNIE MARIANO: WE ARE WAY UP NORTH OF THE 101. WE ARE ACTUALLY CLOSER TO CAREFREE.
TED SIMONS: I'M SURE THEY LOVE YOU OUT HERE AS THEY DID IN WASHINGTON. IT WAS WONDERFUL TO SPEAK WITH YOU. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. THAT IS IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.
Dr. Connie Mariano: Former White House Physician