Just two days after a sunny, summer-like Thursday, the skies were back to being cold and cloudy when Quest Washington shared his story with us in a meeting at the Café Brazil on West University Drive in Denton, Texas. He’s a young man, in his mid-twenties, and when he came into the café he was wearing grey slacks and a white button-up with a pull-over jacket to shield himself from the biting wind. It looked like he’d just gotten off work.
Quest has lived in north Texas all his life. He grew up just south of Dallas proper, in a suburb called Waxahachie that’s encircled by I-35 East and Interstate 287. After graduating high school in 2012, he briefly attended Tyler Junior College before transferring to Texas Women’s University, where he graduated in 2017 with a degree in psychology.
“I went to school first to become an occupational therapist, then I switched and went to psychology and I graduated with that degree. But I realized the passion I had for psychology was only for undergrad – I couldn’t see myself going towards graduate school for that.”
After graduating from TWU, Quest decided to follow a life-long passion for his: video game design. He started attending SMU Guildhall in August of 2017, one of the world’s premier graduate programs for game design and focused on level creation. Shortly after beginning his studies, he married his girlfriend, Heidi, in October.
After the wedding, the young couple began their new lives. Quest continued attending classes at SMU Guildhall and Heidi continued her own in TWU’s photography program. Then, nearly a year later, their daughter was born. Forced to withdraw from school in order to help take care of the newest member of the family, Quest currently works as a trainer at a call center, but he remains unwaveringly optimistic.
“Just yesterday I was talking to my professor, who I admire very much, and I was telling him that one of the fears I have now that I’m not in school is getting a nine-to-five job and losing that passion that I have. He told me that, ‘if you really want it, make it work. Do your nine-to-five, spend time with your family, and then work on what you want to do.’”
It’s clear that, despite his new responsibilities as a husband and a father, he plans on fulfilling those dreams. Among those new responsibilities is making sure his family is healthy. When his wife set up a wellness appointment at Health Services of North Texas, it spurred Quest to make his own.
“Growing up, my family and I, we always had a physical every year, so I wanted to keep that up. And since that I have my daughter now, I want her to see that – I want her to see that health is important.”
Getting a yearly checkup may have been commonplace for growing up, but as an adult, it’s surprisingly uncommon for men to engage in preventative care. A study done in 2018 by the Cleveland Clinic, an academic medical center, found that out of the men they surveyed, 40% said they didn’t get annual checkups. Another study from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that just 8% of adults age 35 and older had received all their recommended services.
Quest recognizes that cost may be the hurdle that many adults can’t get over, and with money being tight, one of the things that attracted his family to HSNT was the affordability.
“For families that don’t have insurance, the cost is really what drives it,” he said. “We really don’t have any money, so when we saw that it was so affordable we said ‘okay, let’s do it, let’s schedule an appointment. And maybe someone wants to go to a doctor and get checked, and they’re not able to because they just don’t have the income. That’s why people do self-diagnoses at home, even though some could be right, some could be wrong – it’s always better to go to someone that knows what they’re talking about.”
Quest believes that what sets HSNT apart from others is that it’s local, not national. He feels that because of its focused nature, HSNT can give better, more personalized care, something that he feels is important to his family. For his own appointment at HSNT’s Denton Medical Center, Quest saw Edward Gelber, the physician’s assistant. He never felt like he was rushed by Mr. Gelber, and he felt as if he was in good hands. Quest said he plans on seeing Mr. Gelber again, and he and his wife also plan on taking their daughter in as well.
Whenever that might be, Health Services of North Texas will be there, ready to provide Quest’s family, and families like his, with the quality care that they need so they can focus on pursuing their dreams.