Rorie Dean, Office Manager
Today, we're featuring a personal letter from Rorie Dean, our Office Manager, billing expert, and healthcare system aficionado, on how her time at The Lanby helped her navigate a difficult family situation.
The Lanby has been up and running for almost a year now, and since we’re nearing the anniversary of our very first Baseline Visits, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’m here and what we’ve done in that time. We have had some amazing experiences with our members; times we’ve intervened at just the right moment, times we’ve been able to celebrate a new life or a new milestone. For me, however, The Lanby meant the most when my soon-to-be father-in-law was dying earlier this year.
My fiancé’s father, Kevin, was a man who hated going to the doctor. Like many of our members, he had avoided doctor visits and screenings as much as possible. But he was in his seventies, and skipping annual screenings was one of the reasons we lost him so quickly. When he started feeling sick, he went to an urgent care where he was poked and prodded and released with instructions to follow up with various specialists. His lack of medical literacy meant that he had no idea how severe his symptoms were, or that he was in danger, until it was too late for him to do anything about it.
Early on he was referred to a gastroenterologist but discovered the doctor recommended by urgent care didn’t take his insurance. I got wind of the problem and stepped in to find him someone else who met our standards and who I could bully into seeing him right away. I quickly discovered that urgent care hadn’t released any notes or test results and was able to facilitate things there as well. Once the GI saw Kevin’s scans, he knew what I knew: Kevin almost certainly had advanced cancer.
Things moved very fast from there, and I spent a lot of time on the phone with my fiancé and his family trying to explain the doctor’s notes and next steps to them. When Kevin was admitted to the hospital I truly hit a wall. Not even the most determined Lanby team member can make a hospital attending return a call. I have never had such a frustrating experience in my life. And in hospitals, everything seems to move so slowly. It takes hours to get a consult to set up an IV drip. Every time you find someone helpful their shift ends. The list goes on. The thing that kept me on track was remembering that I was the only person in our family who knew how to manage his records, appointments, consults, and care.
I am so grateful for the time I’ve spent at The Lanby, because if I hadn’t started this job last year, my family would have been completely lost. At no point in their process did anyone explain how to move forward to the next step. Most of the time, I’m not sure Kevin really knew what was happening with his health.
I know we talk a lot about patient advocacy here, and to many of our members it seems like old news, but we aren’t just here for our optimizers and personal health experts (although we love y’all). We’re here because everyone deserves the best possible chance at a long and healthy life.