A Safer Road to Health: Doug Randle Steers Clear of Greater Health Risk With Solid Coverage and Committed Provider
When the weather is tough, such as on the snowy winter days of late, it’s not always easy for patients like Doug Randle to drive to town for medical help. Along with his wife, Marvina Randle, he lives up in the small valley town of Glenwood, Wash., about 35 minutes north of White Salmon. Here, Doug and Marvina built their home years ago with their own two hands—everything from the foundation to the finishes they constructed from scratch. Also here, Mt. Adams towers in the near distance. It’s a stark, stellar reminder that life is beautiful and so worth living.
Sometimes, however, life puts a curve in the road that we can’t foresee. In late 2008, Doug visited his primary care provider, Sondi Koch, PA-C, and underwent a bit of testing for some health concerns. After an ultrasound revealed a type of mass around his liver, a CT scan of the abdomen was ordered. Results indicated an 8 cm adrenal mass suggestive of adrenal myelolipoma. Based on the size of the mass, the recommendation was to have it removed and biopsied.
“It was concerning for sure…from what doctors say, adrenal cancer is not one of the ones you want,” Doug says.
“Every time I’d go see Sondi, she would explain all the options and encouraged me to get it removed and biopsied. But this was before the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Our financial situation made it so we couldn’t afford to get it removed.”
However, with the enactment of the ACA in 2010, all that changed for Doug. Now able to manage the cost to take action against the baseball-sized tumor, he did just that. The procedures, including the surgery to have the tumor removed as well as post-op care, were coordinated to be addressed outside of OCH. Meanwhile, Sondi remained informed.
“I happened to be in One Community Health one day because I’d taken someone else there,” he says. “I spotted Sondi and showed her my scar. I knew she was pleased because she had been so concerned.”
A few years later, Doug broke his foot in another freak accident. Sondi once again provided recommendations and helped him navigate options for safe pain management, providing guidance within a medical system that can quickly become complex and confusing for patients. Looking back, Doug says that it’s this vigilance and conscientious care that he really appreciates.
“Sondi was great,” he says, noting that both he and his wife have both experienced this quality of consistent medical care from Sondi and OCH as an organization. “She listens. Gives you her opinions. And she kind of has a feel for my sense of humor. I try to find a little humor in most things.”
Yet, he admits, having a tumor—even if it tested benign—was no laughing matter in the end. Today, looking out at a snowy view of Mt. Adams from the comfort of his self-built home, he gets a bit nostalgic, thinking about his life, his wife, children and grandchildren. He knows what could have happened if he’d never had the opportunity to get his serious health conditions addressed.
“Who knows where I’d be now without the ACA,” he says. “Would the tumor have turned to cancer? Would I be dead? With my foot—would I be able to walk now?”
"Grateful" is the word that best describes Doug today. He’s also willing to express that feeling about the key factors and people who have played a role in managing his challenging road to better health.
“Sondi has been kind of the go-to person for all that stuff you find concerning in your health care needs,” he says. “When I think about her as a provider, I don’t think I can quite use the term ‘love.’ But it’s something close to that.”