Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver of the Year Dr. Amy Ship

In accepting the award, Ship spoke of the importance of small gestures in the doctor-patient relationship – specifically, the art of listening with both eyes and ears. “Returning the (patient’s) gaze is one of those powerful small gestures,” she said. “It encapsulates empathy and compassion – being present, fully present, to another human being: pausing to look back. To say with our eyes that we are listening, that we hear.”

It’s a lesson she teaches medical students who rotate through Healthcare Associates. “I’m proud to be a primary care doctor,” she said. “Primary care is focused on continuity, of knowing one’s patients through all their illnesses and the complexity of their lives. And primary care is focused on prevention – on protecting you from the consequences of untreated but silent diseases and from unnecessary tests or hospitalization. That’s care we all need and deserve.

“I look out tonight at a room filled with people who have the minds, energy and position to change medicine, and I want to make it clear that primary care needs saving. Those who practice it need to be given the time to do it right. Primary care can literally save lives, but it can not be done [...] continue the story

I have a future!

Good morning. I was asked to tell the story of how I overcame adversity. You see, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s over 15 years ago.

I certainly thought I had overcome the adversity of my disease. Well, as it turns out, I’m not sure I have overcome anything. I am still as scared as I was that fateful day I was diagnosed. I am still as confused as I have ever been about how and why things happen both to me and to those that I love. Yes, I am fairly certain that I have not overcome any adversity of late, and certainly not the adversity of Parkinson’s. But that is not the end of this story. God willing, I would like to share with you all how Parkinson’s has helped me become the person you see before you today. I would like you to meet Gregory Layer.

It began when I was only 25, shortly before I graduated from Cal Poly in December of 1989. I noticed a slight tremor in my left foot. Over time, my tremor became more and more difficult to hide. During the next few years, I went to see a variety of doctors – neurologists, acupuncturists, [...] continue the story

Surely you can step twice in the same “river” …but

“You should go,” my brother said “You have Parkinson’s. If you don’t go now, you may never get to go.”

My other siblings often asked why I have not gone back to Vietnam, the country of my birth, the country that I left 30 plus years ago as an eleven year old. Especially the one sister who still lives in Vietnam, after hearing about my numerous trips to many other parts of the world, “How come you go everywhere but never come back to Viet Nam for a visit?”

“I will, sis. Someday, I definitely have to go back,” I promised. To be blunt, I don’t know why I haven’t gone back. Most Vietnamese living abroad love to go back, like an annual pilgrimage to the motherland. Some go back to look for a wife, some go back to behave as sex tourists, some go back to take their foreign-born children to discover their ancestral roots, some return to open businesses, or simply to see their loved ones. Whatever reasons – most have gone back since the Vietnamese government started welcoming the “Viet Kieu”, literally means “Overseas Vietnamese”, and their remittance wealth.

I have a brother-in-law who never wants to go back either, [...] continue the story

It changed my life and our relationship

Two years ago I went through the agonizing process of finally being diagnosed with PD. Thinking it was developing faster than the “usual” process I was referred to the Booth Gardner Center at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, WA. What a blessing this PD research center is! In the year and one-half I have been seen there both my wife and I have learned how we have needed to “do things differently” in our lives. We both retired “early” (at 62) after 36 years of careers for both of us. I was a pastor and my wife was a special education teacher. One of the words I have heard over and over from the Booth Gardner “team” is “If you really want to do it, don’t let PD tell you that you can’t!” Throughout this journey I have seen things change in my life that I struggle with daily. Lately I have lost the ability to sing. That has been my biggest loss to date as I have sung my whole life. So, today I do a great lip sync with any song I hear. As I have been told, “If you enjoy it, find another way to enjoy it.”

Mac’s Story

My name is Mac and I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 5th grade. Much of elementary school I spent frustrated and angry at my inability to understand my peers and converse with them. The diagnosis finally gave me a reason for my struggle; it galvanized me to work hard in trying to learn how to imitate and eventually understand the behavior of other people. It also helped when I started playing the “World of Warcraft” video game. When playing this game, I could see how people conversed in text form and was able to take the time to edit my responses without the awkwardness of making eye contact or the pressure to respond quickly. I began to improve socially and soon found I had made some good friends who understood I had difficulty, but thought no less of me. Though I now was able to talk to others, I still found it stressful. Something that has helped is my archery, which has taught me to keep calm and not let emotion get to me. I am currently a sophomore in a charter high school. Many of the negative symptoms that once plagued me have either disappeared from view or [...] continue the story