A Telemedicine Story: Samantha

Samantha was freaking out.

Not only was she wearing a scratchy paper hospital gown, but she was anxiously awaiting the results of her mammogram, done earlier in the week. A double whammy. Her heart beat faster. She was sweating despite the flimsy hospital covering.

Her mother had breast cancer, so she had a good chance of getting it too. A triple whammy.

What would happen if she had a tumor?

Would she have to have surgery? What would be removed? A lump? A breast? Two?

Would she need chemo? Would she lose all her beautiful hair?

Who would take care of the kids during the surgery? Not her irresponsible and newly divorced husband.

How could she pay off the medical bills? She barely had a real job. Just a low-wage custodial gig at a community college. Something she took so she could take classes there to become a librarian. Yes, a librarian. She always liked to read, research and write in her diary. But that was the future. Today was uncertain.

Exposed is exactly how Samantha felt.

Fortunately, she had Dr. Krista. Not only was she the trusted family doctor, but she also delivered Samantha and her two boys, Wyatt and Sam. In this suburban town of Eden Springs—population 23,000, about 40 minutes southwest of Minneapolis—Dr. Krista knew everyone, and everyone knew her. It was a nice community, a growing community, and people got along. In the twenty-plus years Samantha lived in Eden Springs, she had seen the city grow from a little dot on the map to a bustling suburb, complete with a large mall, a regional transportation center, and many new medical facilities—although not a hospital, yet. The one constant that Samantha could depend on was Dr. Krista. She was always there for her.

Samantha thought back to three months ago. She had been feeling horrible. Her cold was getting worse. She should have gone to see Dr. Krista, but who would pick up the kids from school and watch them afterward? She had just gotten divorced, and her ex couldn’t be bothered. She couldn’t sneak away from work to see the doctor, either. Was it her imagination, or was everyone watching to see if she could handle her job and be a single mom? At 8:00 p.m. she couldn’t put it off any longer. She plunked the restless boys in front of the TV, picked up the phone and called…

Can telemedicine fill the gap when Samantha loses her doctor?  She learns more than she bargains for trying to keep her family safe. Share her journey.