Urgent Care

Benny Wenz

Benny Wenz

Eight-year-old Benny Wenz knows a good thing when he sees it – and he’s not shy about saying as much.

So when his 18-month-old sister Stella ended up at Kittitas Valley Healthcare’s Urgent Care clinic in Cle Elum this past October with an ear infection, Benny made a point of telling staff just how good he thinks they are.

“You always cure us. You always cure me. I’ve never been here without being cured,” he said as they waited for Stella’s medicine.

His point made, the staff beamed. Benny, after all, is no stranger to Urgent Care.

For the Wenz family – Benny, Stella and their parents Matthew and Jennifer Wenz – the convenience and competency of KVH Urgent Care has been a lifesaver, figuratively if not necessarily literally, on more than one occasion. And the reassurance of having Urgent Care close by is priceless.

“It seems like my kids always get sick after hours,” Jennifer says.

“Usually it’s Saturday,” her husband offers.

There was the time Benny got diaper rash as an infant. “We were young parents. What did we know?” Matthew says, shrugging his shoulders and smiling.

There was the day Benny, then about Stella’s age now, came down with a high fever. “He was lethargic,” says Jennifer, who picked him up from day care and took him to Urgent Care where the medical staff checked him out, advised her to give him Tylenol and push fluids and told her she could take him home.

What happened later caught Jennifer, a psychiatric nurse who works in Yakima, by surprise. Before their shift ended and they headed home, clinic staff called to check up on Benny. “It really impressed me,” Jennifer says.

Once, Benny fell and hit his head on a hard surface while kicking his soccer ball outside. “I puked,” Benny says. “So they took me to Urgent Care to see if I had a concussion.” Jennifer says the medical staff, aware that Benny is a Star Wars enthusiast, determined that he didn’t have a concussion by “asking him things only a true Star Wars fan would know.”

When a fall while running an obstacle course in gym class landed him in the nurse’s office, his parents once again turned to Urgent Care. “I had a really bad headache. At Urgent Care, they said maybe I had a minor concussion,” he says. “Four days later I was better.”

Recently there was the day Benny woke up to find his arm swollen. At Urgent Care, staff diagnosed him with an infected spider bite and prescribed antibiotics.

“They’re very nice. They’re always helpful,” Benny says, with the air of someone who has seen a thing or two over his young life. “Like I said, I’ve never gone there without being cured.”

Larry Petry

Larry Petry

He’s a retired Yakima School District superintendent who went on to serve four years as an administrator at Heritage College followed by a stint as CEO of the American Red Cross in King and Kitsap Counties.

He’s also a gifted artist whose work includes metal sculpture, wood carving and “wood-dyed” landscapes and portraits.

An active 72-year-old whose hobbies include riding his three-wheel Harley, Larry Petry is also no stranger to urgent care medical clinics.

“My wife says it seems like I have to hurt myself at least once a year,” he says with a laugh.

Flash back to October 2016.

His wife Nita was in Bellevue where the couple still owns a condo. Petry was in the garage of their Cle Elum home using a hand-held grinder to cut off a piece of steel sticking up from the floor.

Suddenly the tool bounced up, striking him just above his left wrist.

“The strangest thing is it didn’t cut my sweatshirt,” says Petry who tried unsuccessfully to use a butterfly bandage to close the wound. “It wouldn’t hold,” he says. “The gash was too deep and ragged.”

Petry turned to KVH Urgent Care – Cle Elum. Operated by Kittitas Valley Healthcare with support from Kittitas County Public Hospital District No. 2, the clinic provides non-emergency medical care daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.

“I’ve been in those kinds of places a lot,” says Petry who believes it doesn’t make sense – either time or money-wise – to go to the emergency room for a non-serious situation.

“I got into urgent care pretty fast,” he says, calling what came next “a very good experience and far better than what you normally get in a medical facility like that. I found the staff unusually patient-centered. The whole place had a kind of calming effect – you could feel it.”

The nurse who cleaned his wound “was very thorough but she also had a sense of humor,” he says.

So did the provider.

“She was really down-to-earth with this great smile,” he recalls, smiling at the memory of how she “gave me a little bit of a bad time for being so clumsy. She was really good, competent and knew exactly what she was doing.”

Six or eight stitches later, Petry was out the door – and fully impressed.

“It was a good experience all around,” he says. “I was in and out of there fast and the whole thing went smooth. It’s a helluva service for a small community to have.”

Steve Talerico

Steve Talerico

Steve Talerico keeps secrets well. Chief among them: his recipe for lasagna and how he turns out melt-in-your-mouth torcetti that wins constant raves. “There are secrets I will never tell. I’ll take them to the grave,” Talerico vows. His voice solemn, the twinkle in his eyes is the only hint that while you’re not going to get his recipes any time soon, he’s pleased you asked.

Not so secret is Talerico’s role as bellman and concierge at Suncadia. A familiar fixture at the Resort, he knows the importance of delivering exceptional service.

After a long day’s work last May, Steve cut his right thumb on a broken glass while doing dishes at home. He knew he needed medical attention. “I did the right things – put pressure and ice on it – but after 45 minutes it hadn’t stopped bleeding,” he says. “I probably could have gotten it to stop and wrapped it. But being that I do the work I do I didn’t want to risk having it break open while I was working.”

It was after hours at KVH Family Practice – Cle Elum. Fortunately, KVH Urgent Care – Cle Elum was there to help. Six stitches and a long sigh of relief later, Talerico was headed back to his home in Roslyn, next door to the house where his mother was born and raised. Thanks to the quick care he received, he felt ready for his next day’s work.

For those who live, work and play in the Upper County, says Talerico, KVH Urgent Care – Cle Elum is “more than just a convenience. It’s a comfort.”