One of my quirks is seeing most of life’s experiences as somehow analogous to healthcare.  In keeping with my usual way of looking at things, here’s a story that draws out the similarities between car repairs and healthcare.


My son’s VW jetta was having issues.    He talked to me about it and said he was going to take it to the dealership.  Because I haven’t had such great experiences with dealerships, I shared my apprehension with him.

Going to the dealership reminds me of going to the ER when you’re sick.  Not my first choice unless it’s absolutely necessary. 

He decided to take it to his local mechanic who didn’t have the right diagnostic equipment for his VW.

I had the idea to check out Yelp to see if I could find him another mechanic.  After asking his permission, I went on yelp and called a couple mechanics that had excellent reviews.  I asked them if they had VW diagnostic equipment and they did.  Yeah!

Digressing again, I was terrified of looking on yelp for a mechanic.  What if I found someone who was incompetent or a crook?

In my mind, looking on yelp for a mechanic was akin to looking on yelp for a healthcare provider.  We both knew that his car was having a serious problem.  This car has been part of his life for 10 years and has 98,000 miles on it.

Somehow, my brain had aligned looking for a healthcare provider on yelp with looking for a mechanic.   It was like I was recommending a doctor for someone with an important and potentially serious health issue.  In this case, I was recommending someone I’d never seen or met to my son, who I obviously adore.  I didn’t want to be responsible for the results if things went south.

Returning to our story. . .

My son goes to see both mechanics and they agree he needed to go to the dealer.  So, off he goes to the dealer with some trepidation because his gut told him this was going to be a serious and expensive repair.

Digressing again, my anxiety mounted as I could see there was no choice but to take the car to the dealer.  Though the car is an inanimate object, a serious issue with it brought up all my stuff around loss in general.  (Ugh – don’t even get me started there!!!)

In the meantime, my son objectively handles the situation taking the car to the dealer and gets the bad news that the transmission needs to be replaced which would cost more than the blue book value of the car.

Now what?  Well, it’s taken a few days for the news to settle.  Of course, I want to help in any way I can.  But, the truth of it is, he doesn’t want or need my help.  It’s important that I step back and let my son handle this and make the decision that is right for him.

I’m only a supporting player in his life. . . not the one in charge.

So, why am I sharing this long story?  How does this apply to healthcare and dealing with health issues?

  • We aren’t responsible for how things turn out:  Often friends or family ask us for a recommendation for a healthcare provider and when things work out, it’s a blessing.  And when things don’t work out, we can feel like we steered them wrong.  And, it’s not up to us how things work out – we just do our best.  The results are not up to us.
  • When you’re the patient, you’re in charge:  Since my son owns the car, he’s the one who makes the decisions.  I know that seems very obvious.  However, when someone we care about is having a health issue, likewise, they are in charge.  We can give them input and offer our opinions.  What I’ve found though, in working with clients as well as in personal matters, is that it is empowering for others to take charge of their lives.  They need to hear themselves think through the options much more than they need my opinion.
  • Solutions are everywhere:  There are many options for dealing with this car.  He can sell it for parts, fix it, or get a rebuilt transmission.  I’m sure there are more.  Likewise, when you’re dealing with healthcare issues, there are many providers and options available.  Usually, there are more than the first two or three options that come to mind.
  • Be informed:  My son’s decision was to continue to research his options and pay for an additional month of car insurance so he can take his time figuring out what to do.  If you’re struggling with your health, the first thing to do is download my free Appointment Preparation Worksheet.  Fill it out before your appointment.  If you need help describing what’s going on that you want help with, contact me and we’ll talk about it.  You can also check out Patient Power which will help you be sure you and your provider are clearly communicating so you can get your needs met.

Doing the best we can with whatever we’re dealing with, looking for lots of options and making informed choices based on good solid information is so important to getting the healthcare you deserve.  If you’re struggling with your physical or mental health and want objective compassionate support so you can feel better, feel free to contact me to set up a time to chat about your situation.





2 Responses to “Car Repairs and HealthCare – More Similar Than You Think!”

  1. Amy Says:

    Good analogy. I would also add that in both automotive and health matters, good preventive maintenance can go a long way to keep things running smoothly. Also, offers consumer-submitted reviews of a variety of services and health care providers. (No, I don’t work for Angie’s List. Just a happy member.)

  2. Char Says:

    Thanks for your comment Amy.


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