STUART-Imagine going to a place for only one year, but its feeling like a lifetime. Whatever health concerns you may have had were taken care of. You considered this place home because you were able to speak about anything. This is the story of Victoria Rhoades, a patient at Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Clinic in Stuart. She went through some bumpy roads, but she survived. Now, she is saying good bye to VIM and transferring to Medicare.

“The Lord really meant for me to come here because they’ve saved my life so many times. It was worth coming here,” said Rhoades.

Rhoades had her last appointment on May 25. It was a sorrowful day because she credits VIM for her health. It’s the only place where she felt comfortable to open up about her issues.

“I don’t have nothing bad to say about them. Alan [Eddison] takes time to speak with me. They’re not in a hurry to just pass you on or to get you out. The person that does the blood work and the person that does the typing for the doctors, they all give you time to talk. It’s so important,” said Rhoades.

Victoria Rhoades surprised the staff with handmade wreaths

She came to us with numerous concerns. Rhoades battled depression from her childhood and her husband may have Alzheimer’s. She also had problems eating and breathing and she suffers from fibromyalgia, a condition that causes muscle pain. Alan Eddison, DNP, ARNP provided her with a nebulizer to improve her breathing condition and SAM-e an over the counter supplement that helps with anxiety and depression.

“If I didn’t have the option to speak with Dr. Alan, everything wouldn’t have gone as well. They’re a life saver. This is a safe place for me and it’s a place where I can be comfortable. They took time with me and they listened to me,” said Rhoades. “People who are happy on the outside are sometimes dying on the inside and that’s where I was. Dr. Alan was able to open my heart and my eyes. If it wasn’t for VIM, I don’t believe I would be around; my life would be very lonely.”

She shed a few tears on her last day at the Clinic. If it wasn’t for VIM she would be a lost puppy without a home, Rhoades says. She has nothing but positive things to say about VIM. She surprised the staff with beautiful handmade wreaths as a token of appreciation.

The VIM Clinic in Stuart provides free health care for uninsured Martin County residents. Individuals must have an annual income of $24,120 or less. For more information call 772-463-4128 or online at vimclinic.net.