Day 156, Living life on my terms.
His name is Chris Mcmonigal and for the past 6 years he has been seeing patients at the Potter County Health Center located on Elk Street in Coudersport. His office is actually in a building that was constucted next to my childhood home, on a piece of land which I used to mow and play baseball.
Chris is a PA who is blessed with a pleasant demeanor that accompanies his outstanding clinical knowledge. He is able to talk on a level with his patients so that they can easily understand him. It doesn’t matter if you are 4 or 84, he knows how to make you feel comfortable with your health care.
For me, choosing Chris was a no brainer. I actually worked beside him in the Emergency Room at Bradford Regional Medical Center for five years. He has been working part time there since 2008, honing his skills of providing care across the entire health continuum.
I have assisted him with stitching up little children who are more scared than anything. I remember one little boy who had a nasty cut on his forehead. Chris sat down and talked with him for several minutes before even grabbing his tools to repair his injury. His reassuring voice and confidence calmed the child, making it easier for us to manage the situation.
Very often, when you work with small kids it can be difficult to keep them still and prevent them from grabbing things or getting their hands in the way. Chris would take a pillow case and tell the patient to pretend it was a superman cape and they can wear it on their back with their arms tucked safely inside while he stitches. The kids usually smile at the idea and comply, making our job much easier.
It is easy to see that Chris has a special place in his heart for children, but like I said; he cares for people of all ages and he does it well.
I have talked to older people who were so happy to have a young man of his caliber bring his practice to our area. In recent years, the turnover of family physicians in our area has been astronomical. Chris has been here full time now for the past 6 years. I asked him one time what kept him here and he told me; “I just love my job, my patients, and the people that I get to work with.”
That is saying quite a bit since he lives in St. Mary’s and commutes here on an almost daily basis. He and his wife Jennifer have made their home there and are happily raising their six year old son, Noah. Maybe that is why he is such a good family practitioner; he is truly a dedicated family man.
As far as education, Chris attained his BS in Biology from Penn State and then went to Drexel PA School in Philadelphia for a Master of Health Science. Being the type of person to pay it forward and share his knowledge; he is now involved with Lock Haven University’s PA Program precepting students through Charles Cole.
I said in the beginning that he would go the extra mile for his patients. I know this first-hand as back in 2012 when my legs quit; Chris actually came out to my house to check on me several times. He was instrumental in getting me in contact with a Neurologist at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh to have the surgery that restored my leg function. One time, he even visited me at home with a PA student from Lock Haven. As a Registered Nurse myself, I was only more than happy to let her get some experience examining me and reviewing my situation with Christian. That day I realized what an outstanding teacher he was as well.
Another point I mentioned in the beginning of this story is that you have to trust your doctor. Well, working side by side with Chris in an emergency room, he has more than earned my trust. He has earned my respect!
The final benefit I spoke of was having a doctor close to my own age with we could grow old together. While that is certainly not the most important thing, it is a happy benefit for me.
Today I am dedicating my progress to my family physician, Mr. Chris Mcmonigal. He has stood beside me through my journey to hell and back, playing an important role on my road to wellness. I am eternally grateful that he can continue to walk beside me; as both a PA and a friend.