House Call

I started crying at the fax machine yesterday. It wasn’t because I didn’t know how to operate the fax, although I have to admit I can barely remember how since it is a rather archaic means of transmitting information. Actually, I was holding a paper titled “Request for Medical Records” that I intended to fax to our pediatrician’s office in order to have my children’s records transferred to a new pediatrician. In the end, I just couldn’t do it.

Oh, I had to send the paper eventually. Our insurance had already changed, effective August 1st, so I really had no choice. But I decided I would rather send it by snail mail, accompanied by a nice letter explaining that we weren’t leaving our beloved pediatrician for any other reason than a change of insurance. It had seemed like a good idea to put the kids on my insurance, and in the process save hundreds of dollars each month, but I didn’t really count on the emotional cost when I originally made that decision.

We’ve been seeing Dr. Straub at PAA since the day Thomas was born–almost 9 years ago. And I’ve known Dr. Straub for the better part of 36 years, since he was my own pediatrician, too. Through the years he has been there for my family in ways that go above and beyond the average pediatrician’s care. He has, in no particular order: saved my newborn’s life; given us excellent advice; taught me how to trust my own instincts as a parent; delighted my children with his off beat humor; calmed us in an emergency; helped us through the tricky process of diagnosing our son; reassured me that ‘normal’ is relative; offered a thousand complex explanations with a patience unmatched by other doctors; and basically been the benchmark by which I measure what a great physician should be.

I’ve had many friends over the years question my preference for a pediatrician whose sense of humor they do not understand. I have always had a hard time explaining–it’s more than just the knowledge that he is extraordinarily intelligent, and has years of experience to draw on–it’s that he always looks my children in the eye and converses directly with them, instead of around them. It’s that he always puts my children first, even if that means putting me second. And after all, he’s their doctor.

When the phone rang tonight, a part of me already knew who it would be. In true form, Dr. Straub was making a house call–something he did for us on various occasions over the years. He said he understood the issue with the insurance, but he wanted to reassure me that I can still call him anytime that I need him. And he wanted to give me some recommendations, if  I would like them, on a new pediatrician at UK. His ultimate concern was for my children and their health; no matter where they’re insurance might take them.

It’s rare to find someone so dedicated and so in love with what they do for a living. It’s just this kind of care and thoughtfulness that has always made Dr. Straub my favorite pediatrician, and the one I’ll still turn to when it really matters.

So tonight I hung up the phone and I wiped away my tears. We’ll move on and the kids will be okay. And if they’re not, I know where Dr. Straub lives. 🙂


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7 responses to “House Call

  1. How wonderful to find a doctor like that! I had the same doctor growing up until I moved to California. I’ve had good luck since then, but I’m not expecting that to always be the case. I hope your new doctor is as wonderful as the last!

  2. Julia Shaw

    Jamie forwarded me this link-thanks so much for the kind words about my dad! I know that he truly cares about your family and will miss having you all as patients. I’m sure he would be thrilled to know how much you appreciate him (and understand his sense of humor).

    • copynoll

      I’m so happy to hear from you. I tried to tell your Dad some of this on the phone, but I am just better at saying what I mean in writing. So glad Jamie thought to forward to you.
      Hope you are doing well!

  3. Mike Daugherty

    My daughter, a patient of Dr. Straub when she was growing up, sent this to me. I’ve known Dr. Straub personally and professionally since he was a resident physician. I couldn’t agree more with all that was said. He’s a “doctor’s doctor”, or in his case, a “doctor’s children’s doctor.”

  4. Jim Noll

    I wonder what your post says about the future of healthcare in America? We can’t help view healthcare through our personal experience. I don’t know Dr. Straub, but have heard you say so many good things about him over the years that I wish our kids had a pediatrician like him that we felt so strongly by about – and actually we really like our group here in northern Kentucky. More than a right to choose healthcare, we want assurances that we are getting quality healthcare for our children and ourselves. I’m happy to see the for profit insurance companies pushed aside in favor of a system that treats heathcare as an individual right and a public good.

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