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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Bill Pekarski: Day 156, Living life on my terms

Bill Pekarski:

Day 156, Living life on my terms.

What are the things you look for when selecting someone to be your family doctor? Do you look for someone who is knowledgeable? Someone you can relate to and is down to Earth? Someone who will go out of their way to help you? Someone who you trust? Someone who you can grow old with? Well, I have all of that and, he has also happens to be a great personal friend of mine.

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.


Laurie G. said...

This article could not have described Chris any better - great job! I am proud to say that I have had the pleasure of calling Chris my doctor for over 5 years. I had viral meningitis almost 5 years ago and after a 7 day stay @ West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh Chris was my local attending physician between my return visits to Pittsburgh. He is totally dedicated to his career and the care he has for his patients is never ending. I am thankful that he chose to stay in this area which makes me comfortable in knowing that I have a doctor that I can rely on to give me the best care he can offer when I need it.

Anonymous said...

Lets not be to honest here. Word gets out going to be longer wait time for appointments. ;-)

Carol Puri said...

I also love Chris. He always has the time to talk to you and you never feel rushed. I was so happy I found someone like him out in the middle of no where, lol Great article about him. I hope he stays here.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree, I have been a patient of Chris for several years and credit him for saving my life. It was Chris who Identified a serious Aortic Aneurism I have and with out his help the outcome could have been much different. Our Community is so lucky to have a man with his talents in our area and I want him to know he is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Chris is a fantastic PA-C, not a physician or doctor. There is a difference and as an RN you should not be muddling the difference.

Anonymous said...

518 don't be such a hanus human.

Anonymous said...

5:18 I bet his patients would much rather have him and his staff than MD and their staff in the whole CCMH network. In that office you are treated like you are a person from the time you come in the door. Janelle is never to busy to listen Chris always gives you 100%. They truly care about the patients. Not like that in the other offices. That's why I transferred to them

Anonymous said...

Great article about a great healthcare provider. Chris always takes time for his patients no matter how busy he is! Our local Hospital should recognize these providers and do a little more to keep the good ones in our area!

Anonymous said...

Chris McMonigal is my family doctor also and I'm always impressed by his calm influence. A few months ago I heard he was leaving his position. I'm sure glad that hasn't been the case. Thank you to Chris for your dedication. Thanks Bill for highlighting Chris and his dedication to our community. I enjoy your daily writings and look forward to them. Best wishes to you and for your continued recovery.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like 518 is a feckless oaf and somebody peed in his corn phlakes.