From the Mountain View Clinic Medical Director
"It’s Wednesday afternoon and I'm running late, as usual. This is the third Wednesday of the month and I’m watching the clock a bit more closely because I know my day is not over after Mrs. Jones comes in for her 5:15 pm appointment to check her blood pressure. The 3rd Wednesday is RotaCare night, meaning I need to press myself a little harder to finish my end-of-the-day tasks so I can get over to my “second job."
During my 20-minute drive to Mountain View I wonder if I have the energy to see more patients today. It’s been a hard week so far, and I’m sensing my typical "running on empty" feeling with regard to medical decision making; the feeling I usually get at this time of day. The traffic was light, however, and as I pull into the parking lot on the El Camino Hospital grounds I once again notice that slight up-tick in energy I associate with coming to volunteer here. Walking down to the basement level, I remember the various physical spaces we had occupied before, thankful for our larger and (hopefully) permanent home here underneath the YMCA. Gaining momentum I glide through the doors only to be greeted by Nidia, Martha and Glenda, whose smiles don’t necessarily contradict their “time to get to work” body language, ushering me toward my assigned exam rooms for the evening. I receive an equally enthusiastic "hello" from Lou in pharmacy as I hand him two cases of diabetes medicines I recently scored from the sales reps for the benefit of our patients. The gratifying hug from Cheryl, RotaCare’s supreme coordinator, quickly melds into a few moments discussing tricky patient issues that came up since last time we spoke on the phone.
Well, as usual, I’m spiritually and physically being refueled by this place, and with the other volunteers already at full throttle, I dive into to see my "first patient of the day." The stories are familiar, yet unique. These patients come to us because they have no other way to get healthcare. We treat them for acute problems such as back pain and bronchitis, and we manage and follow their chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension. It is even more satisfying knowing that our patients will leave RotaCare tonight with their medications in hand; no need to struggle with the wearying financial conflict of medication vs. groceries. Though our budget is modest, we do provide medical care that is the quality standard of the community. Over the years we have been “in business” we have indeed slowly expanded our scope of service, a point of pride, while at the same time a frustrating transparency through which we see ever more needs still unmet in our society.
My last RotaCare patient of the day departed, I smile with familiarity on the emotional renewal I have again enjoyed, juxtaposing poignantly with my physical depletion – a very long day. Sitting down belatedly for some dinner (donated by local restaurants) I realize that we all came to RotaCare tonight because we believe we are making a difference. We will all come back again next time because we want to keep making that difference."
From a Patient