A Continuum of Care

Kathie's Story

There had been an accident. Kathie found herself in the Urgent Care waiting room with her son, Jonathan. One thing Kathie hadn’t anticipated, guiding her son through the healthcare system.

Kathie and her husband Ken Schroeder have spent the last 18 years raising their two sons Jonathan and Sam in Arlington, WA.

“You hope that they make good choices and you try to train them up right,” said Kathie. “It's fun to see them grow up and become their own person.”

The Schroeder’s have been a part of growing the sport of lacrosse in their community. Jonathan’s speed and agility training along with his academic achievements were helping him reach his next goal of playing lacrosse at the university level. He had taken it upon himself to connect with coaches across the country throughout the recruiting process.

“One of my goals this year was to really think about all of the ways we needed to get him ready to be on his own and in college, and that's everything from making sure he knows how to do his laundry, to changing the oil in the car,” said Kathie. 

Kathy with familyOne day, Kathie found herself in the Urgent Care waiting room with Jonathan.

As they began navigating Jonathans’ care, Kathie recalled that from her initial interaction at check in, the friendly and empathetic MA’s, to the patient first approach by the PA, the Skagit Regional Health team streamlined the process to get Jonathan the care he needed quickly and conveniently.

She also noted that the best care comes from respect and clear communication.

“When you include the person in the process and the decision-making, you're educating them. They're going to follow their care program better, and they're going to want to listen to you, believe what you have to say,” she said.

Sean, the PA assigned to Jonathan’s case, introduced himself to Kathie and proceeded to work directly with Jonathan, focusing on his needs and care with compassion.

“It was all about Jonathan, figuring out what had happened and making sure there weren't other injuries that we hadn't noticed or considered,” she recalled.

Sean’s demeanor was a relief for Kathie.

 “I didn't want to have to be mama bear. I didn't want to find the energy somewhere else to have to assert myself and be my sons advocate. I was working from a place of emotional weakness,” recalled Kathie.  

Unfortunately, the reality of his situation affected far more than the next few weeks of Jonathans’ life. They learned that he had a broken bone in his hand, one with an extended healing time because of its location.

“That's sort of when everything went south, as far as emotionally,” Kathie recalled. “He had plans. It was hard enough to deal with the fact that he'd been in this accident, but the potential ramifications at that point is what hit us the most.”

Kathie and Jonathan were facing a host of unknowns when they were referred to Orthopedics and Sports Medicine specialist Dr. Jimmy Dang.

Kathy with sonI was familiar with Dr. Dang, if we're going to go somewhere, he's a great doctor to go to,” said Kathie. “Kids take their cues from the parents, and if the parents are anxious, they're going to be anxious.”

Kathie continued to experience the same high level of care all the way through Jonathan’s recovery. The Orthopedics and Sports Medicine clinic maintains a high caliber team of professionals serving the local community.

“He [Dr. Dang] cares. He wants whatever the physical injury is, or ailment, to have no negative impact, and if he can, make an improvement,” noted Kathie. “He was always really calm, patient, and seemed to have as much time as we needed.”

They found that the support and care was consistent from Urgent Care to Orthopedics. Appointments were conducive to Jonathan’s school schedule and were close to Kathie’s work. They didn’t have to schedule follow-ups months in advance and didn’t wait long when they arrived.

“Any time you interface with the healthcare system, you need to be your own advocate,” Kathie said. “When he goes off to college, if he gets sick, I'm not going to be there. He's going to need to understand the healthcare system, what works, what doesn't, what questions to ask and that he needs to speak up for himself.”

When their patience began to wane, Kathie reached out to Dr. Dang inquiring if surgery might speed things up. Dr. Dang contacted her directly, advocating against surgical intervention.

“I thought that was really wise and prudent, and I really appreciated the fact that he called me personally,” she recalled. “Skagit Regional Health is a group of caregivers that truly care about the people in their community.”

Beyond the unknowns for Jonathan’s care and recovery, the Schroeder’s were new to the college recruiting process and weren’t sure how this injury would affect Jonathan’s lacrosse aspirations.

“It's frightening to let them go off and be in places that you don't have control of,” said Kathie.

Jonathan proceeded with his planned recruiting tours wearing a brace and continued treatment under the care of Dr. Dang. The coaches were not deterred by his setback.

He was cleared to participate on his high school varsity basketball team; and secured a scholarship to study business and represent Baldwin Wallace College in Berea Ohio on the men’s lacrosse team.