I am a patient at Maple City Health Care Center, a volunteer and past employee. I am writing this letter to share with you how much MCHCC has impacted my life as well as the lives of many others in this community.
Maple City Health Care Center is so much more then a health care provider to me! Although the staff has changed over two decades since I first came here, the faces are always of very caring individuals who I know care about the vision of MCHCC, the vision that Dr. Gingrich so well shares. I sometimes think of it more as a community center then health care center because of the variety of resources available.
When I first became a patient at MCHCC, 1989 or 1990, I lived just two blocks up the street. Twice Dr. Gingerich came to my house, the one time was when my two year old daughter had fallen and hit her mouth on the steps. I called the office to ask if I should bring her in, but expressed I was feeling queasy. Someone on the phone told me to put my head between my knees, and hold on. The next thing I knew James was at the door! He took a look at Ashlee’s mouth and assured me it was going to be fine, there wasn’t much you could do about a gum line injury like she had. And I was fine now that the bleeding had slowed up.
The other time Dr. Gingerich and his wonderful wife Barb had been on a walk in the neighborhood, and they stopped by, I was horrified at first. There were toys all over the place, and I felt embarrassed, but Barb said to me “do you know what your house looks like to me?” “A healthy, lived in home” they put me right at ease talking about their son, Daniel who is Ashlee’s age, and showing me how we had a common connection, parenting! I felt very happy to have them come to my home, and connect with me.
Once while waiting in the waiting room at MCHCC, I came across a news letter and to kill the time I began to read it. I noticed that “my doctors’ office” was asking for items needed. One of the items was a computer desk or something, but what struck me was that I felt a part of MCHCC, that it had needs that maybe I could fill. I felt that I might have something to offer to this amazing establishment! I left that day feeling empowered, with a little more self value then I had came in with.
During an exam with Dr. Gingrich, he asked me how I was doing. I always laugh inside a little when asked that by a doctor, it seems obvious I am not doing too well, I am here. Anyway, I am sure I answered, “Oh, fine except for …”. But James looked at me, and paused and said, “No, how are you really doing?”
Well, I was young and a mother of two children already and I was dealing with depression but trying very hard to hide it even thought I hardly understood it all myself. From that visit James encouraged me to see the counselor available at the Center.
It was a life changing experience for me, to deal with a variety of issues with a professional. I don’t know what direction my life may have went without that opportunity. I may have started “self-medicating” with drugs and alcohol or god knows what. And one of the things that I came away from counseling with is, I had value, as a person, a woman, wife, mother, whatever my title, I had value, something to offer. That means a lot to me.
The volunteer work I am doing is with a program called More than Money for Health Care. To me it is in the name.
Patients that have been unable to make a payment on their bill, on our sliding scale’s fullest discount, now have the option of taking care of their bill with more than money. They can volunteer for organizations that need help. They will have an opportunity to "give" to an organization while at the same time taking care of their bill. They may feel a sense of purpose, they may find a new fit, they will find a new network of connection in the community, and they may see others in greater need then what they are experiencing. They may feel more value in themselves to have the opportunity to give, to be useful, and to be taking care of their responsibility for their medical care. They may feel empowered.
These are all things I have felt. Recently, I had been battling depression over the last few months, as I have been unemployed and unable to find a job. I began to lose confidence in who I am, what I am capable of doing, no purpose, etc. I had worried I would lose my skills and abilities, as I had not used them in so long! And then Amy Crossen, the nurse practitioner, told me about the idea that was going around there for patients in my shoes. I asked if I could help with the program, and in about a week I got to get started. And at first, for just a minute, I did feel a little rusty, a little unsure of myself, but only for a minute. It all came back to me, I have been able to do what I am good at, and participate in a program to help others do the same!
Maple City Health Care Center is a vital part of the Goshen Community, offering affordable health care and a quality of care that I have never experienced anywhere else.