The Holbrooks, Primary Care


​How our doctor became as precious as our passports.

There’s a place in Iceland where you can literally touch the European and North Atlantic tectonic plates at the same time. They call it the Land of Fire and Ice, and it’s easy to see why. As you walk through, you’re surrounded by geysers, steam vents, hot springs and, obviously, volcanoes. It’s simply an amazing, beautiful place that we feel lucky to have seen.

Aside from our family and each other, I’d say that being able to travel is what Doug and I value most. We’ve been to all seven continents together — that includes Antarctica. We’ve been all over Europe, on safari in Africa, floated down the Amazon and were in Beijing before the Tiananmen Square uprising.

Our kids gave us a map that we have on our wall at home. On it we’ve placed red pins on all the places we’ve been and green pins on the places we want to see next.​

There are still a lot of green pins. And every one of them, it seems, has a bit of adventure to it.

But we’re getting older; there’s no stopping that. So the most important thing to us is that we stay as healthy as we can, for as long as we can, to let us enjoy the things that are important to us.

Our primary care physician and UW Medicine play a big part in making that possible. We had been at an HMO for years and, frankly, we didn’t feel like we were getting the care we needed. So when we had the opportunity to change, we took it.

As we researched our options, we noticed that UW Medicine was consistently nationally ranked for their hospitals, doctors and nurses. We said, “If something happens to us, we want the top care we can get in this area. That’s the network we want to be in.”

With our healthcare network decided, we set about researching doctors. And that’s when we found our primary care physician. She had all of the experience and qualifications we were looking for, and from our very first appointment, we knew we’d made the right choice.

At the time, we had to make the drive up to Seattle to see her, and it was worth it to us. But when she moved to the UW Neighborhood Clinic just a short drive from our home, we thought, wow, wasn’t that lucky!

I suspect that most people don’t really think about their healthcare provider unless they’re unhappy, which was the case with us. But in a way, it’s a good thing that we were because we’re wildly happy now.

We look to our primary care physician for a lot. She’s like a partner to us. She knows our history, she listens to us and she’s our advocate.

When we go to see her, we never feel like she’s in a hurry. She’ll sit and talk to us, listen to us, answer our questions. If we need some tests or specialty care, she refers us to the very best resource possible.

It’s actually surprising to us how much we’ve come to rely on UW Medicine. When we’re planning a trip, our physician will not only make sure we have the necessary immunizations, but she makes sure we know about health risks where we’re going and has even given us medication we might need, for example, if one of us gets sick in a remote jungle.

Actually, that’s happened.

We’re so thankful to have found a physician we can trust in a system like UW Medicine. Because of that relationship, Doug and I have total confidence that we’ll be able to enjoy all the things we want to for a long time to come.

Naturally, we make sure that we’re doing everything we can to stay healthy ourselves. We take walks together, go to yoga, we eat well. But I guess we look at healthcare a bit like travel — it’s better when you have a partner.