Remember when you were a kid and you had an imaginary friend? Like Bonnie, or Dave. Our parents twigged to it quickly and played along, offering Bonnie a snack or reminding Dave to buckle his seat belt. The trouble is when the chips were down there was a reckoning. Our imaginary friends hung us out to dry.

Turns out that as grown-ups, we still have imaginary friends. They are our primary care health providers, our “family doctors.” We cling to the myth that we have a provider that will be there for us, that we will be able to see when we need him or her, if not on the same day, then within two or three days at most. What are the chances?

Jill Goldthwait worked for 25 years as a registered nurse at Mount Desert Island Hospital. She has served as a Bar Harbor town councilor and as an independent state senator from Hancock County.

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