Neil Haley: Hi everyone, and welcome to this special Simulcast, the Neil Haley Show and Doc Tales. I’m excited to welcome the host of Doc Tales, Royal Doc Alan Lindemann. Doc, what’s going on, man? How are you?
Dr. Alan Lindemann: We’re doing really well here, Neil. And you?
Neil Haley: Doing fantastic. And I know you’re excited about our guest today, very, very much, aren’t you?
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Yes. Well, Jessie, it’s nice to see you. And, if you could tell us a little bit about what kind of work you do and why you’re doing it.
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: So, I am a family medicine physician in Moorhead, Minnesota. I came from a background of working in corporate medicine and got tired of that and decided to take a different path with my career and go back to the heart of, I think, what people go into medicine for, which is taking care of patients, and not worrying about administration and productivity.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Well, right now you’re an administrator, aren’t you?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: I am an administrator.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Well, if you can’t beat them, join them. All right?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: Well, it’s the only way to do it, I think.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Well, yes, if you want to administrate the right way, then you should do it yourself. So, good.
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: Yeah, we’re fortunate to have our CEO is an MD as well. So, I think that makes a huge difference for a company to understand how people need to take care of patients. It’s great to have a doctor on top, and I know that there’s some legislation that doesn’t allow some institutions to do that, but it’s really a detriment to society and patients that those laws have passed.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Is that something that you see in Minnesota, or is that all over?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: I think it’s a federal law where, I think if hospitals don’t want to be able to collect from CMS, they can’t have a physician running the hospital.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Ouch. Well, that sounds like a stupid idea.
Neil Haley: So, basically talk about why you decided to become a doctor. How did that all start?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: So, that’s pretty poignant actually, because tomorrow is my 20 year anniversary of my diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. April 7th, 2003 is when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. So, that changed my life for sure. And I didn’t really want to be a doctor at all before that. And I went to school for chemistry, I was a chemist, and then at 28 I got Hodgkin’s, lymphoma, and that was life changing as it is for most people.
I was stage three, and I had a difficult time with diagnosis, as my dad helped me, and I probably or possibly wouldn’t be here today without his help with getting me a diagnosis, because that piece in itself was a struggle. But the chemotherapy almost did me in. And I had, for lack of better words, a come-to- Jesus moment. I had an internal discussion at one point with myself during chemotherapy where I said, “If I make it through this, I have to change, I have to make the world a better place for other people so they don’t have to have this experience the way that I did.” So, I made it, I’m still here.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Well, I remember very well you called me a few times. As a matter of fact, I can remember exactly the first time you called me. I know where I was, I was in the basement of the farmhouse in bed, and we had this conversation about you’re going to have to call them and get this taken care of.
Before that time, Jessie had been going to doctors in Fargo and had her gallbladder taken out because it was the pain at night. And of course, pain at night, and abdominal pain at night is something you expect from a gallbladder. So, I guess that was not necessarily the right thing to do, but it was part of the process that got us to where we were.
So, we went to Mayo twice. And so, April 7th then would be, we were just about to leave Rochester without a diagnosis and I remember they called and they said, “Oh, we finally read your chest x-ray after two weeks, and we see there’s something going on there.” So, then you had a CT scan and they found the Hodgkin’s.
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: Yeah, they found the lymphadenopathy. And then I had the surgery, the biopsy surgery. Which was thoracic surgery, because my lymph nodes were all in my chest. And so, yeah.
The April 7th is the date that the pathology came back actually. So, I don’t know what the day was where the chest x-ray came back. It was probably a week or two before, but yeah, it was a struggle, it was hard. I felt like I was dying, I really did.
Neil Haley: So, how old were you when this happened?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: Twenty-seven.
Neil Haley: Oh, wow. So, you had to reach out to dad. And at this point, were you a doctor already?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: No.
Neil Haley: No. Really? That’s crazy. So, you were a later doc? You became a doctor later on then. So, after you survived, that’s when you decided “I’m going to go into medicine?”
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: Well, that’s… What I was describing was my moment of “I’m going to go into medicine after this.” And then yes, I survived, I recovered, I took a couple of years just to try to be healthy again. And then I took all the classes that I needed while I was working, and then started applying to medical school. I started medical school when I was 35.
Oh, wow. And how much of a challenge that is, right? To go into medicine at 35?
Well, I didn’t do it any other way, so I don’t know. But I think it was a challenge. I definitely was different than everyone else. There were a couple students that were older than me, but I was the only one to do it, to graduate with my class and to pass every test and follow the curriculum and the exams how they’re supposed to be followed. All the other older students either didn’t make it or had to do an extra year or something like that.
Neil Haley: Oh wow.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Well, you didn’t tell me that before, Jessie.
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: Oh yeah, I didn’t fail. I never failed one exam. I got a pretty low score on one where they called me in and said, “Why did you do that?” But, all the other ones… I never was at the top of the class, but-
Neil Haley: So, how impressed were you by your dad? Why didn’t… Here’s my question, how impressed were you by your dad, how he helped you through this and just how… Of him being a physician, how amazingly knowledgeable he is about so many different things, not just in what his specialty is, but everything in medicine.
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: Yeah, I think I didn’t really appreciate it at the time or didn’t know that that was unique at the time. I think I had just, it was what I grew up with. And so, I guess I hadn’t… It’s interesting question that you bring up, because I’ve always wondered since he’s gone into rural medicine, how he knows how to do that as an OBGYN. Because a lot of OBGYNs I know don’t really know a lot of the other medicine, and so I still don’t really understand that. But, it is impressive, and I think part of it has to do with that piece that’s not necessarily about medicine or science, that’s more about the art of it. The listening and the just paying attention to what people are saying. Which I think, some people just lack that piece, but it’s special for sure, yeah.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: One of the things I will never forget. I mean, there are many things I’ll never forget, like the night I took off to go to Fargo to pick you up. Driving down route 46, and I remember being alone in the car and thinking about all those things and thinking, “Oh, I could write a book about this.”
Anyway, one of the things that I remember that you said was, you recovered. You had about six months worth of chemo, and you said that in the beginning you could recover before you got your next dose of chemo, but at the end you didn’t recover even, you were just sick on top of sick. And I will never forget your description of that. I’ll keep that a long time.
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: …that conversation, but I remember feeling that way, for sure. I mean, I wasn’t working, I couldn’t work, I was just too sick, yeah.
Neil Haley: Wow.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Well, I think it was the night you invited Diane and me to Enderlin to have some steak, and I think you were talking about one more time of chemo, I think, and being so sick with it. And, actually-
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: …I was probably celebrating.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Oh, you mean celebrating the last treatment? Yeah, maybe.
So, has your daughter asked about what she should do when she grows up?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: In terms of what she wants to be?
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Yes, exactly.
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: We talk about it sometimes. I think she’s talked about being a veterinarian. But she’s got more of an artistic and creative and outgoing personality than I do. So, she’s only 10. We don’t push on it too much.
Neil Haley: And do you want her in medicine?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: She spends a lot of her free time doing art and doing pencil sketches of faces and stuff. So, she does that without prompting her, that’s what she enjoys doing.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: What I really find amazing with her art is that the expression she has, and there’s very expressive. You see all kinds of emotion in her art.
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: She’s in touch with her emotions, for sure. Which is also something that, not just me, but I think everybody didn’t, we didn’t grow up in a world where you were taught to be in touch with your emotions. But, they learn it in school, and she’s able to express it in a way that at 10, I certainly was not able to do that.
Neil Haley: Okay. Now, I was asking you, you know, how parents have dreams for their children? Do you want her in medicine?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: Not necessarily. Just whatever she wants to do is… I just want her to be happy. I hope that if she decides to go into medicine, that we can have some huge reform, because I think it’s really hard to be a doctor these days.
Neil Haley: Oh, It’s hard. I can imagine. And it’s because of the lack of number of doctors out there. They’ve made it such a hard entry, now it’s hard to get people in it, right?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: Yes, there’s that. That’s a big piece of it, is that we don’t have support amongst our peers because the peers aren’t….
Dr. Alan Lindemann: There we go. [Dr. Lindemann holds up one of his granddaughter’s drawings.]
Neil Haley: Cute stuff.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: The expression, that’s one, and this is… This is the right way.
Neil Haley: How cute1
Dr. Alan Lindemann: Yeah, she does cute stuff.
Neil Haley: So, do you plan on practicing the same medicine forever? I mean, not practicing the same medicine, but being in the same position and administration forever, the rest of your career? Or do you think you’ll ever go back into the other… Or what are your aspirations in your career in medicine?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: Well, when I get this clinic to, we have a vision for where we’d like to be, and so I’d like to get it there, and that’s going to take probably five years or longer, I would guess.
I love the idea of serving underserved people, because we do a sliding scale fee. So, serving uninsured, underinsured, and we take any insurance. But I just love that idea of serving people that really need it. And so, I wouldn’t mind staying there.
I was at the verge where I was of getting into a cancer survivorship program and starting one. I was actually starting one before I got too fed up with it to stay. And so, I’d love to get back to that someday because it’s a piece of medicine that’s really missing, where cancer survivors really are not taken care of properly in primary care education, there’s really no education about how do we take care of cancer survivors. What are their special needs? How do we monitor them for return of primary, or onset of secondary cancers? How do we make sure that they’re getting proper screenings, because their screenings are different as well. How do we monitor for development of other chronic illnesses that can happen from cancer treatments, like neuropathy, behavioral health issues?
There’s, a lot of things that can come up from cancer survivorship that there isn’t really anybody out there that knows how to manage. Oncologists that don’t know how to do it either. And so, there’s this whole group of people, patients who don’t have proper care.
Neil Haley: Okay.
Dr. Alan Lindemann: That’s one of the reasons I’m here in Elgin. Because, it’s also underserved and people here need the care they get. And they have special needs like you’re talking about, and of course, we have people here who are cancer survivors. I’m also a cancer survivor, but my cancer was very easy to deal with compared to Jessie’s.
Neil Haley: All right. Where’s the best place, Jessie, we can find information on you? Do you have people to check your practice out and stuff, or where can they go?
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: In terms of the clinic where I work?
Neil Haley: Yeah.
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: We have a marketing person who’s working on updating our website right now. Located in Moorhead, MN, it’s called Community Health Service Inc.
Neil Haley: Oh, we can put that in the description. That’s fine, you can check that out after the interview.
Well, we appreciate it, Jessie. All right, thank you again.
All right, thanks docs.
Dr. Jessie Lindemann: Okay.
Neil Haley: Guys, that was a special Simulcast, the Neil Haley Show and Doc Tales. Take care.