Grasscutting, fertilizer, and healthcare 25. August 2009 William Davis (23) A guy named Jeff, a 60-something, taciturn, "How 'bout dem Brewers?" kind of guy, cuts my grass. Once a week, Jeff drives over his rust-rimmed 1994 Chevy pickup and trailer, unloads his ride mower, and cuts the grass. For his 40 minutes of work, I pay him $35. For $35, all he does is cut the grass--no trimming, no picking up debris, no working in the garden, no fertilizing, no weeding. Just cutting the grass. Occasionally, Jeff has proven to be a useful resource for peculiar problems. Last year, I had a drainage problem that he helped solve and two years ago he helped diagnose a tree disease that was killing a tree in the backyard; it's now recovered. To save money, and because I like to work in the yard, I do the rest. I trim the edges, I fertilize the grass, plant new flowers and trees, fix damaged areas, trim wild branches.In my view, my relationship with Jeff, a limited, as-needed relationship, in which I ask him to help with specific issues but I manage the rest myself, is how I believe that healthcare should also be conducted. Your doctor should be like Jeff: Perhaps not taciturn, but an as-needed resource available while you do much of the work. My simple relationship with Jeff is, I believe, the healthcare model of the future. You manage your own cholesterol issues, your own basic thyroid issues, supplement and monitor your vitamin D levels, use diet to suit your needs, order blood tests when necessary, even obtain basic imaging tests like heart scans, carotid ultrasound, bone density testing. Your doctor is a resource, near by when and if you need him or her: guidance when needed, an occasional review of what you are doing, someone to consult when you fracture an ankle. What your doctor is NOT is a paternal, "do what I say, I'm the doctor," or a "You need these tests whether you like it or not" holder of your health fate. It is a model of healthcare that will evolve over the next 20-30 years, only in its infancy now. While we started Track Your Plaque as just a resource for in-depth information on prevention and reversal of coronary heart disease, I now see it as something much greater: a prototype for the emerging concept of self-directed health. Enough for now. I've got some tomatoes to pick.