When I was little I cherished my Golden Books. I loved their compact shape and brightly colored pages. I would run my fingers over the shimmering gold covered spine of the book. I would beg my Mother to read it one more time.
We did not buy many children’s books; we could not afford them. But upon occasion, I would see the Golden Books display in the grocery store. I would plead with my Mother, ‘Please could we get one?” She would look down at me with her warm brown eyes and smile a half-smile. I would grasp the book with my pudgy hands filled with anticipation while standing bare-foot on the cool gritty grocery store floor. And she would say, “Yes.” That night she would read to my sister and me and we would cuddle against her.
That is what Golden Books meant to me: approachable, affordable and accessible to families. So when I met Dr. Ryan Neuhofel via the internet and heard about the amazing things he was doing in Lawrence, Kansas I painted his jacket with Golden Books forefront in my mind.
Ryan had opened offices using a model often referred to as Concierge Medicine or Direct Primary Care. Now, I know when a lot of folks hear concierge medicine they think of huge upfront retainer fees, brass door handles, marble floors and fine buildings. When I hear the word concierge, I think of the kind hard working folks in an apartment building like mine. I recall all the years when I lived in buildings without a concierge. I remember what it felt like to fend for ourselves, while the hall flooded, the bugs came or packages were returned since no one was home.
My vision of concierge is defined by a sense of pragmatic appreciation, but my son’s vision is defined by the bellman’s cart. One of the cooler features of living in a building with a concierge is access to a bellman’s cart to unload deliveries. We would check out the cart and our son would ride with great joy.That image, in part inspired this painting. This is Ryan’s Jacket: “NeuCare.” It is a vintage jacket and represents a time when house calls were part of life.
In this painting the sky is partially night and partially day. A moon with the face of a clock fills the horizon symbolizing 24hr care. To the far right in the background a home is upon the hill, because Dr. Neu makes house calls. From that house a road winds down into the foreground. Upon the path a group of children are walking along pushing and pulling a bellman’s cart crossed with a little red wagon.
One of these children is a young doctor Ryan he looks with interest at an Ipad screen his patient is showing him. Dr. Neu has an amazing social media presence using Youtube, facebook and twitter with equal competence and joy. The website he built for Neucare has clear and affordable upfront pricing that offers a safety net for so many Lawrence citizens in need of care.
Perched on the cart a young Mrs. Andi Neuhofel holds a pharmacist cup and pestle, as she is the pharmacist at Neucare. Pushing the cart from behind a young boy clasps a few bills in hands as he pushes the cart along. This is the money he has been saving while still accessing the care he needs.
Thank you Ryan for putting all your energy into creating a care model that is accessible to all and in my mind sparkles just as much as the Golden Books of my youth.