A New World

A New World - Patient Story

Imagine for a moment that you just moved to a new country with your husband and your four children. Your new home is a one-bedroom apartment that you share with another family. Your children sleep on the floor in one corner and the other family’s children sleep in the other. You have no friends and no other family. You don’t even speak the country’s native language.

 

That was the situation one HSNT patient found herself in.

 

“We moved [to Dallas] on December 19th, 2000, very close to Christmas,” says the patient, who will be named Gabriela due to her wishing to remain anonymous. “I had a baby in Brownsville, it was my first time in Dallas. I didn’t speak a word of English. It was kind of a rough beginning.”

“I’m having a better quality of life than before. Having the opportunity of this help is huge.”

In between working to support her family, taking English classes, and shuttling the kids to church, Gabriela barely had time for anything else. Then, in 2007, Gabriela and her husband divorced. From there, it was a different kind of life, every penny counted. Healthcare was something she couldn’t afford to worry about.

 

“After my first three babies, I started having problems…. There was no way for me to go to a regular OB/GYN, it was just too expensive. The first appointment they wanted to do blood and sonograms; it was too much. It was actually a doctor from an OB/GYN who sent me [HSNT].”

 

Since that first visit to HSNT’s Denton South Center, Gabriela has made the center her new medical home. She’s been able to treat her polycystic ovaries, which appeared after her third child, as well as receive preventive treatments for things that could’ve turned into something worse. Healthcare was something she couldn’t afford to worry about. HSNT helped ease that worry.

 

“Recently, I was driving and I was having bad cramps and they said I need a sonogram and I was like ‘I can’t do that right now’ and they called me back and they told me ‘We can help you…’ I thought it was going to be just a discount…but [that visit] was totally free. [For my usual visits] I pay $45 or $50, which is awesome. That was a big help.”

 

These days, Gabriela lives with her husband, who she met in 2011, and her youngest daughter, now a senior in high school. Her two oldest sons work and live together, her oldest daughter is a student at UNT, and her second youngest daughter recently got married and now works as a young adult counselor.

 

“I’m 46 years old,” Gabriela says, “and when I start seeing stuff that’s not normal…the fact that I can call you guys, that’s the best. Because it’s scary not being taken care of because of money. So, I’m having a better quality of life than before. Having the opportunity of this help is huge.”

 

Contact us for more information about Health Services of North Texas and our pricing and payment options.

Continue Reading

Stopping the Sneeze This Allergy Season!

Sneezing from allergies

Texas is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to fall allergens. Mountain cedar and ragweed start to peak this time of year, so what can you do to avoid falling prey to your allergies this fall? To answer this question, Health Services of North Texas enlisted the help of its very own Dr. Jason Siegel, who has three methods he recommends to alleviate your symptoms.

Step One: Saline Spray

The first is to simply clean out your nose using a saline spray.

“[Allergy-sufferers] want to clean their nose out every day.” Dr. Siegel says. “What you’re doing is getting out all the pollen that’s been on your pillow overnight that you’ve been breathing in, that sort of thing. The saltwater draws mucus towards it and helps clean out all those irritants.”

Step Two: Nasal Steroid Spray

If the saline spray doesn’t help, the next method is a nasal steroid spray. Nasal steroids work right at the source by decreasing your immune system’s response to your specific allergen.

“The way to use the steroid spray is to lean your head forward, point the spray back, and just sniff it a little bit. You don’t have to snort really hard. If you can taste it, that means it didn’t work – it went down your throat.”

Step Three: Over-The-Counter Medication

If all else fails, the final method Dr. Siegel recommends is an over-the-counter medication, like Allegra. Zyrtec can tend to make people drowsy, and Dr. Siegel says he hasn’t found Claritin to be effective, so a medication like Allegra (fexofenadine), which can be found at any pharmacy, would be your best bet. He also warns patients to stay away from a medication called Afrin.

“[Afrin] works really, really well for the first day. The problem is that if you use it for two days, it has a rebound effect, it actually doubles your congestion. You become severely congested and there isn’t any way to undo it. You just have to stop taking it and let it wear off.”

Other things that you can do to help boost the effectiveness of these methods is to change your pillowcase often and wash your hair at night. If none of these methods work, and you can’t seem to shake the sneezing, visit us online to set up an appointment at one of our medical centers so we can make sure that you get the care you need.

Continue Reading

A Shoulder to Lean On: Michelle’s Story

Michelle: Patient Story

They say good things come in threes, but sometimes the same can be said for bad things, too. Michelle Brown experienced this for herself in the late 2000s when she lost her job, which meant that she lost her health insurance coverage. After that, doctors discovered a mass growing on her pancreas, resulting in an operation that removed 70% of it in order to cut out the growth. Finally, on her birthday in 2008, Michelle received a call about some blood work she’d had done, according to the nurse, she was now diabetic.

“I didn’t really go to the doctor before,” Michelle said. “I’d probably go to the emergency room if I got sick. I had insurance back then, I was working, but all the jobs I’ve had after that they never provided insurance.”

Michelle, who likes to spend her time knitting with the crochet group that meets at the public library, is a Denton native with two children and a fifteen-year-old grandson. She is currently financially supported by her boyfriend and the small odd jobs she does when she isn’t limited by the mobility issues caused by her condition.

 

During her stay in the hospital for her surgery, Michelle was told by caseworkers there, and later at MHMR, that Health Services of North Texas was a place that would work with her financial situation to make sure she got the care she needed. Ever since then, Michelle has been with HSNT and she couldn’t be happier with her treatment, especially when it comes to Dr. Jason Siegel.

“He enjoys being a doctor. And when you’re sitting there with him you feel like he’s there with you, and not thinking about the next patient. So far I really like him, he’s got a good sense of humor.”

In her time at HSNT, Michelle has been a part of the Prescription Assistance Program, enabling her to get the medication and insulin she needs. She credits this to the staff that has helped her for all these years, particularly Cice Price and Ashley McGuire-Brannon, two of HSNT’s case managers for the program.

“As far as my insulin goes, Cice and Ashley have done a great job. Lyrica is so expensive, I just couldn’t believe it. So, I really do owe a lot to Health Services. There have been times when I came up here and I couldn’t afford it and they said don’t worry about it…. So, I definitely believe in Health Services – because they’re saving my life.”

Health Services of North Texas at Serve Denton Center

Michelle was thrilled to learn about HSNT’s new location at the Serve Denton Center, just a half-mile from her house. Located on Loop 288, HSNT’s new clinic offers appointments with Dr. Siegel from 8 AM to 6 PM on Mondays and Thursdays. Despite the limited hours, this new center maintains the same high quality of care that patients have come to expect from HSNT, all while being closer to you!

Continue Reading

Homecoming: James Knigge’s Story

James: Patient Story

Moving back to his home state of Texas was a difficult prospect for James Knigge. He’d been living in California since 1988, for so long that it had become essentially his second home. He met his husband, Glade, in Orange County in ’92. But his mother was ill, and he couldn’t just leave her alone. So, in 2008, he and Glade moved to Dallas to take care of his mother in her last days. But they both had a problem of their own: they were HIV positive.

“Glade came down with pneumonia, so we rushed him to a hospital in Mission Viejo,” James says, recounting a time when he and his partner had to fight the stigma of being HIV positive. “The doctor made a big ordeal out of it, he had me all dressed up, had the mask on. I basically ended up taking care of [Glade]…the nurses wouldn’t even come in.”

“I was determined to fight it, and to win,” James says.

Glade continued to be in and out of the hospital while James did his research. Despite their struggles with HIV, they were resolved to live their life as normally as possible. When he and Glade first met, they were just making minimum wage, but their move to San Francisco in 1997 spurred them to pursue success. They built a house, hosted birthday parties, and had good friends. But they still had HIV. They were forced to take a host of medications to manage their condition, some of which had very bad side effects.

“[One of my doctors] put me on one of them… she calls me, and she’s panicking, saying ‘get off it, don’t take anything, don’t even take aspirin, your kidneys are failing’….It’s caused memory issues…bone damage.”

When they made the move to Dallas in ’08, James was so focused on taking care of his mother that he neglected to take care of himself. He hadn’t taken his medication in a long time. Then in 2009, James’s mother passed away, and after that, in 2014, Glade did the same.

Health Services of North Texas: Collin County Center

“I lost my mind. I was on the floor of their office flipping out… but Dale handled it so well,” James says, referring to a past employee of HSNT’s Collin County Center. “He came to the apartment and sat with me.”

At the passing of his partner, James fell into a deep depression that ultimately left him homeless for a period. Despite this hardship, James was still able to reach out to HSNT’s Collin County center and find the help he needed: food, shelter, and a powerful support system.

“[The doctors] were the greatest bunch of people I’ve ever met…they saved our lives. They got us on track with medication, Jill, Dale… they helped us in so many different ways. A lot of it’s a blur because so much was happening to me… but they made me face reality.”

At Health Services of North Texas, James had someone to talk to about his problems, someone to help him find housing, and someone to help make sure he had food and a smile on his face.

“I’ve been able to release and talk about things, what my issues are… I got to a point where I didn’t even want to be seen by people because I was so ashamed of myself. I have to give [Mary Wallace] a lot of credit for the help I’ve gotten…. Julie’s been very helpful, too. She knows the ropes, she knows what’s going on with homelessness, medicine…she’s gotten me to straighten out.”

James’s goal now is to save for a car, find a job, and “most of all, help others in need.”

“Without the help, knowledge, and expertise of the doctors, I would not be alive. Each of them helped in what medications I needed at each and every level and change in my life. Health Services of North Texas literally saved my life.”

Continue Reading

Health Services of North Texas Listens to You

HSNT - Listening to our patients

Tina, HSNT PatientTina Adams has a host of health problems: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, and endometriosis. Juggling all of that and raising six kids on her own would be tough on any woman, but for Tina, it put her in a depression that was hard to get out of.

“I was going to the Christian Community Action in Lewisville…I was going every three months,” Tina says. “The doctor they had in there, I loved her to death. She listened to me and was understanding…but they closed [the medical side] down and I was like ‘where am I going to go?’”

Tina was worried that she wouldn’t be able to find another doctor that could listen to her. Her osteoarthritis, for example, wasn’t officially diagnosed until she was 30 years old, yet she had been in pain for years up until that point. Her endometriosis, a condition that is still not fully understood or curable, was written off as just worse-than-usual cramps.

“If you’ve got a woman doctor who doesn’t have any issues, she doesn’t understand what you’re telling her…[she’d say] ‘everybody has a period, big deal!’ And a lot of the doctors were men when I was growing up…try telling a man how bad these cramps are!”

When Tina started coming to Health Services of North Texas (HSNT), however, she found that she had nothing to worry about.
“My depression, we just started treating a couple of years ago, and Dr. Siegel has changed my medication just once since he’s been here. We just changed it at the first of the year and that’s made a big difference for me. Dr. Siegel is one of the best doctor’s you’ve ever had.”

Tina didn’t even realize that she had been getting care under HSNT when she first started. She had been taking her daughter to HSNT’s women’s health clinic at Medical City Denton and just didn’t make the connection until she saw one of the same providers at HSNT’s main clinic in Denton. Since then, she’s been amazed at the wide breadth of services HSNT offers.

“[I use] the Prescription Assistance [Program]…I was getting child support, but then my son’s dad got sick last August, so I applied for TANF. When I did that, that put me in a new bracket, and it also got me Medicaid…and that helped out because I was still paying for some of it before.”

Tina also sees Kayla Whitworth, one of HSNT’s licensed social workers, and says that Kayla has helped tremendously with her depression.

“[There are] a lot of doctors that don’t listen. You tell them that you’re in pain, and they think you just want pain meds…Dr. Siegel though, when you talk to him, he will track it down, try to find out what is wrong. He’s really determined to try and make it better…this is one of the best clinic’s I’ve ever been to.”

 

Struggling with depression? There are many different treatments available that can help reduce and shorten your symptoms. Your doctor or mental health professional can help you determine a treatment that works best for you and help you learn more about what depression is, what causes it, and who gets it. Some treatment options include:

  • Therapy or Counseling
  • Medication
  • Lifestyle Modifications
Continue Reading