As we age, it is a good idea to develop a close working relationship with a good mechanic and a good doctor. It should come as no surprise that each of these technical professions is populated by folks who, in the end, either tow their mistakes to the salvage yard or bury them. It also should not be surprising that each of these professions is populated by folks who are really good at what they do and others that have met the minimum standards necessary to hanging a shingle or picking up a wrench. Let’s have a look at the differences.
When you are young and in good health, a doc-in-a box can take care of most of your medical needs. These days there is a good chance that you will see a physicians assistant or nurse practitioner for the occasional bout of flu or sprain, a scenario that works most of the time. I know these professionals are well trained and meet the minimum standards for non-acute primary care, however; I prefer the trained eyes of a physician when I present for a feeling of tightness in my chest or an episode of blurred vision. I also feel it is important to establish a record with a single PCP, who sees Steve coming through the door with a problem as opposed to seeing a problem coming through the door named Steve. I have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with a wonderful PCP in Jefferson City, Dr. Neal LaPointe, since 1992. Dr. LaPointe is a doctor who actually practices medicine and handles many problems that are quickly handed off by today’s physicians to one of hundreds of specialists and sub-specialists. When his extensive experience suggests the services of a specialist is needed, he will quickly enlist their assistance. Only through years of communication and trust can a relationship such as ours develop. Two factors have combined to force me to change PCP’s this year, to a new but established osteopath in Springfield, Mo. who I believe shares Dr. LaPointe’s philosophy. First is the growing list of problems associated with aging, arthritis and a stressful profession, necessitating more frequent visits to the doctor’s office. Secondly, the distances involved in traveling to Jefferson City from Springfield when you don’t feel well really don’t make much sense. Choose your doctor carefully, it may well be the most important partnership, outside of marriage, that you form. Below is a picture of Dr. LaPointe.
To a great extent, our lives revolve around internal combustion engines. A significant portion of our income is committed to the ownership and maintenance of cars, trucks and other forms of fossil fuel burning devices. We are seeing the impact of various adaptations of electric powered conveyances, all wrapped in conventional vehicles, with conventional systems and technology. There are technicians, who are skilled at system replacement and there are mechanics who are skilled at actually repairing and servicing systems as opposed to simply swapping them out. Occasionally, these folks are one and the same. Motor vehicles have been a huge part of my life since turning 16 and earning an operator’s license. In the course of patrolling our streets and roads for many years, I have developed relationships with some of the finest mechanics in existence, many of which worked within our Highway Patrol garages. One of the best mechanics that I have ever known is an affable, down to earth fellow who can shame an Admiral in language skill, all the while tearing a complicated fuel delivery system apart to locate and replace a defective component. He is also a terrific body man, able to straighten and rebuild nearly anything driven or towed into his shop. He can work on diesel engines, heavy equipment, and nearly any marine engine in existence. A beer or two sharpens his analytical skill and his shop is always open to a friend. He has saved me a fortune over the years with his ability to correctly diagnose a problem and repair it, charging a fair fee for his services, all the while sharing his salty philosophy about life. If you have not developed a relationship with a mechanic like my good friend, Scotty Stunz, do so. You will enjoy an experience where “flat rate” doesn’t exist and the job will be done correctly. You will also come away with a new perspective of life in general, an earthy perspective where the unvarnished truth trumps the spin of America in our world today. Pictured below is Scotty Stunz.
So it is with doctors and mechanics. These are two professions that demand honesty, skill and experience. From my perspective, you are missing something if you do not have a relationship with a member of each of these professions where trust is the first consideration. In this season of giving thanks for all that we enjoy, take a minute to thank your doctor and mechanic….