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94-year-old retired surgeon scrubs up for final time to check item off bucket list

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OGDEN, Utah -- In the operating room at Ogden Regional Medical Center, Dr. Calvin Reynold MacKay -- better known as Dr. Ren -- scrubbed up one last time Saturday to prep for surgery, KSTU reports.

It was a mock surgery, but a special day all the same.

"He was just elated," said Darren Jacobson, executive director of Mountain Ridge Assisted Living Facility, where MacKay lives.

"It's been a really fun day," agreed Lauri Gordon, director of surgical services at Ogden Regional Medical Center.

The hands-on experience was part of the Mountain Ridge Assisted Living Facility's "Livin' the Dream" program, and it was on MacKay's bucket list.

"It's wonderful," he said of the experience. "Everybody's so good to me. I don't deserve it."

MacKay, 94, is a retired orthopedic surgeon. He graduated from the University of Utah and did residencies all over the country, including Seattle, New York and Louisiana.

He served in the United States Navy, and performed surgeries at three Utah hospitals: St. Benedict's (now Ogden Regional), St. Mark's and LDS hospitals.

He called the operating room at Ogden Regional "a wonderful place" and noted "surgery has changed a little."

"It's something very special," Gordon said. "I think, you know, once you're in the OR and you love it, it's your home and so it was like for him coming home."

A team of surgeons helped MacKay in a mock surgery, showing him the latest technology in the field.

"He was able to see a couple of operating rooms," Jacobson said. "He was able to see the DaVinci robot and actually use the DaVinci robot, which he's never seen before."

Looking back on his career, MacKay said he owes it all to some very special people.

"You couldn't do it without good nurses," he said. "They know what instruments to use, when to use them, and they'll hand them to you before you even ask for them."