2020 A Year of Miracles
by Christopher Knippers, Ph.D.
“2020 a year of miracles” might sound like I am in denial or at least insensitive to all the challenges being experienced by many people right now; however, the reality is, it has been a year of miracles in my life.
My primary home has been in Palm Springs since the late 90’s. We have also had a beach home since around 2000; but my medical specialists were in Palm Springs. I discovered that the desert, despite its elderly population and its reputation as a playground of the rich and famous, has less than first rate medical care with the exception of oncology and to some degree cardiac surgery. I certainly could not find competent medical care for diabetes, ophthalmology, nephrology, nor cardiology (after Dr. Hackshaw retired).
In 2019 we went to the beach for the summer and I decided to see a few specialists in Newport Beach where Hoag Medical Care has had a reputation for excellence since the year and month of my birth. I assembled a team of specialists over the summer and was very happy with the treatment I was receiving. I decided to stay at the beach so I could follow up with my excellent team of doctors.
The vision in my left eye had been greatly impaired for over 4 years. The “best specialists” in Palm Springs had been unable to even diagnose the problem, much less treat it. However in one session with my new ophthalmologist in Newport Beach, he quickly diagnosed and treated the eye in 10 minutes; and I immediately regained full sight in that eye. It was a surreal experience.
After several sessions with a new cardiologist (a very charming but tough young woman) my heart function which had been predicted to worsen, began dramatically improving. She even helped clear up neuropathy, which had almost grounded me from my primary form of recreation, long walks on the beach.
I had been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension which was unresponsive to medications (did you know that Viagra was actually created for pulmonary hypertension?); however a pulmonologist at Hoag did a thorough workup and my lungs began improving (no Viagra involved).
My new diabetic specialist takes a very unique approach to his role as physician. It is difficult to capture his unique approach; but I will just say he is very approachable, professional without any sense of superiority of formality, very encouraging, optimistic, and is matter of fact in his style. He was determined to obtain for me what many other doctors had said was impossible for me. He got me a modern Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (no finger sticks/blood draws required), followed by a state-of-the-art insulin pump so that I no longer had to inject insulin 4 times a day (nor at all)). All of this 100% covered by insurance (thanks to his coding) after many years of personally paying hundreds of dollars a month for diabetic supplies and insulin. Having blood sugar control immediately began happening after 63 years of daily (actually hourly) struggle. I no longer worry about my blood sugar control.
In the new beautiful dialysis clinic with the most efficient professional staff I’ve ever experienced, my attitude toward those 3 times a week, 4 hour sessions of dialysis was no longer something I dreaded. My kidney function is much improved.
My new primary care physician is another charming take-charge young woman who has helped me tremendously, and acts as a coordinator for my overall healthcare.
So, while 2020 has been much too challenging for many people, I just have to report that miracles have continued to happen.
I can only expect that the amazing things that have occurred in my life this year are a precursor to great things to come.
Thank you, God!