This is different.
First, a story. Ten years ago, I had just moved to the area where I live now (Fredericksburg, VA). My ex had filed for divorce while we were in the middle of the move, and he was being stationed in Korea for a year … so I was alone with two young kids in an area where I didn’t know many people, trying to cope with a huge life change.
It was very hard.
Then one night, a Saturday of course (because everything bad happens on the weekend when nobody’s open), and late, my 5 year old daughter had a very high fever with a rash. I could have taken her to the E.R., but I also had my 8 year old son, and wasn’t sure if sitting in an E.R. waiting room was the best thing for my daughter.
I knew a doctor had spoken at the Unitarian Universalist Church I’d just started going to, and a new acquaintance of mine was a friend of the doctor’s. So I asked my acquaintance if I could have the doctor’s number, just to see what I should do. That doctor was Patrick Neustatter.
I called him, at like 11 pm or midnight on a Saturday night, and he wouldn’t have known me from Adam. Ok, from Eve. But he talked me through things to look for, when to be concerned, when not to be concerned, and what to do. And he told me to call him back if I needed to for any reason. In my sea of aloneness, having nobody to turn to, this man was so kind and helpful. It was an inexplicably precious gift.
Well, years passed, I became more comfortable in the community, and through various gatherings, Patrick and I became friends. He and his wife graciously host parties and events at their home, and when I got married 4 years ago, they let my husband and I get married there.
Having retired, Patrick spends much of his time as the volunteer Medical Director of the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic, in Fredericksburg VA, making sure that everyone who needs health care has access to it. He tirelessly works to help people understand their own health care, and how they can get the care that best suits their needs.
And he wrote a book (a wonderful read – fun, irreverent at times, and full of so much good information), called Managing Your Doctor, dedicated to helping people take charge of their own healthcare, which is so important in this day and age.
I honestly can’t recommend the book enough.
Additionally, he has started a website to serve as a companion to the book. In this website, he is publishing a blog, has a Q & A (so people can ask him their own questions about the health-care system), and has a section of patient horror stories, so we can see what pitfalls we might want to avoid.
So herein, I am shamelessly promoting his book and his website, because it is all in the spirit of helping people, and letting people know how they can help themselves. I recommend buying the book, but also reading the site, leaving comments or questions, and telling friends and family about Dr. Neustatter, because there truly is something there to help everyone- and if there’s not, ask, and Dr. Neustatter will help you too.