I have been angry at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital board for some months now, and I wasn’t sure about what to do about it. They seemed to be in somewhat of a mess themselves, and I didn’t know who to write to explain my anger. The question I needed an answer to was this: who was there to help me if I fell ill?

When Dr. Stuart Kendall retired last spring, I was sorry to lose a good man who had kept me alive and pain free for about 40 years, but I had no idea that it might be difficult if not impossible to replace him.

I didn’t know about the shortage of doctors on Martha’s Vineyard. That is until I started to look for one. I worked my way down the list of phone numbers for the hospital doctors. The answer was the same for every call: “The doctor is not accepting new patients.”

A temporary doctor was brought in to take Dr. Kendall’s patients, but only for six months. She left in the middle of December. Another temporary is there now, but he is scheduled to leave in May. They were — and are — so busy catching up on the patients who had real medical problems that I couldn’t get an appointment until late February. Fate intervened and I had to go to the emergency room with back pain the weekend of Feb. 3-4. After a visit to the ER, you are supposed to see your primary care doctor within a week for a followup. So my appointment with Dr. Harwood was moved up to Feb. 13.

I liked Dr. Harwood very much. He spent time with me and diagnosed spinal stenosis. I left his office feeling that I would be happy if he became my primary care doctor. What I didn’t want was to have to change doctors every six months.

Shouldn’t someone have told us that there was a shortage of doctors on Martha’s Vineyard and that every doctor here has a long waiting list of people who want to be their patients? Shouldn’t someone have told us that they were looking for doctors, if they were, as well as a CEO?

I didn’t know who to write to on the board to find answers to my questions. Finally the news came out that a new CEO had been hired. I realized that she was probably inundated with learning her way around the hospital and the people who worked there, but this new CEO, a woman, yes, a beautiful woman, was the only one to write to.

So I wrote her a letter on Feb. 9.

Now comes the mystical part. Before she had time to respond, I received an email from a mutual friend suggesting that I write to Denise Schepici, the new CEO. Debbie Magnuson had seen the letter I wrote to the papers about a month ago. Debbie is a longtime friend of mine and a friend of Denise. How timely is that?

I emailed Debbie back and suggested that something or someone was guiding my path and that I had already written to her. A few days later, both Debbie and Denise were at the same party. While discussing the hospital situation, Denise told her about my letter and how much she appreciated it. She also said that instead of responding by mail, she would like to visit me — or make a house call, as it were.

To make a long story short, Debbie, who had grown up in West Tisbury with my children, brought Denise to my home on Sunday, Feb. 18, and we had a nice conversation that lasted for an hour and a half. I have never met such a lovely, intelligent, thoughtful woman and it was reassuring that she shared my concerns about the shortage of doctors for our population.

As Johnny, my late husband, who divided his time between teaching math at the high school and fishing for striped bass and bluefish, would say: “She’s a keeper!”

And I certainly hope she is.

Shirley Mayhew lives in West Tisbury.