Put back the 'care' in medical care

Deanna was the perfect dental hygienist: grown up, friendly, efficient, pretty to look at if my eyes accidentally peeped open as she spelunked in my mouth. She didn't scold me about flossing. She never prattled. She always said something positive, even when I fell short.

I saw Kelli for my annual gynecology visit. She too was crisp, bright and efficient. But if you had a question, she focused as if she had all the time in the world.

This year they each moved on to other places and opportunities. I learned about their departure from others.

We weren't friends, but we were friendly. I wish there had been a chance to say goodbye. After all, for five years they had their actual hands inside my actual body. It's not the same distance I keep with my accountant.

I'd have said thank you, you were great. Not everyone is as caring and encouraging, practical, patient and smart. Not all offices are as well-organized or as helpful with insurance questions. I think your kids are lucky you're their moms. If you open your own practice, I'll switch over. I appreciate how you conduct yourself. Have a nice life.

Maybe their offices could have sent little postcards or emails on their behalf. Everyone's busy, but still. These aren't personal relationships, but that doesn't mean we don't get a little attached. We don't see our caregivers as interchangeable pieces, one as good as the next. Medical care doesn't have to be that impersonal. It's personal care. It matters. At least, it should. It does to me.


  1. I actually did get postcards. One from the office telling me Kelli was leaving and urging me to call and reschedule my annual, and another from Kelli herself notifying me of her new office. Maybe it's just because I had an actual appointment scheduled out many months in advance.

  2. I knew it. Kelli always liked you best.