Jim - Robinson's home care has given us the best care we've ever experienced
Jim Vargo is no stranger to home care services through Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice. Since 2010, Jim received care multiple times for his congestive heart failure, two broken hips and diabetes issues. “They are very professional, every one of them,” Jim said. “Over the years, the care I’ve received from home care has been just grand.”
Jim’s most recent experience with home care was with wound care nurse, Debbie Zemla.
In March, Jim developed a bone infection in his right foot, leading to his toe being removed. “Due to my diabetes and other health problems, I heal very slowly,” Jim said. “My incision wasn’t healing properly so Debbie came to see me for wound care.”
A special device to assist with wound healing called a wound vac was placed on Jim’s foot and Debbie visited him three times a week.
Though Jim’s condition kept him in a wheelchair, he still was able to enjoy time with his wife and dogs. “The girls love to go for rides,” Jim said. Jim’s wife, Peg, loads the girls on Jim’s lap and pushes his wheelchair. “They could go for blocks, and are well behaved.”
After four weeks of nonstop wound vac care, Jim was able to remove the vac. “I’m still receiving treatment, but my wound has healed well and I only need regular dressings and care.”
“The nurses with Robinson are wonderful; they have given us the best care we’ve experienced,” Jim said.
Learn about our home care services.
Maggie - A stitch in time
Maggie Dean sews custom Western outfits for some of the country’s best riders. When she developed vomiting and severe pain in her stomach, chest and back, she thought she was having a heart attack. “It was hurting so bad I couldn’t breathe,” she said.
“I finally went to the Robinson Memorial Hospital ER at eleven at night, and I was in surgery by ten the next morning.” It turns out she had gallstones. A general surgeon removed her gall bladder laparoscopically, and she was back to work the next day. “I felt really good,” she explained. “I was in hardly any pain at all, and I had a pair of chaps I had to finish for an upcoming horse show.”
Hold your horses
Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of Maggie’s gastroenterology problems. “Two days later, I developed terrible pain in my stomach and I was turning orange,” she said. “I went back to the ER and was admitted again. The pain was so intense, it was worse than the time I crushed my leg. The ER staff was absolutely wonderful. I was taken in immediately and given pain meds and something to keep me from throwing up.”
Maggie was suffering from acute pancreatitis and liver failure, conditions often triggered by a malfunctioning gall bladder, which requires immediate medical attention. The bile duct that connected her liver and small intestine was blocked,causing severe pain and jaundice. “I was back in surgery by seven the next morning,” she said.
Reining in the problem
Her second procedure was an endoscopic surgery of the bile duct, performed by doctors from Summit Gastroenterology. “They were absolutely wonderful!” said Maggie. “They took time to explain everything and made sure I understood the surgery. Everybody was super nice, even the anesthesiologist.”
Under general anesthesia, an endoscope was guided down Maggie’s throat to her small intestine. They found that she had tiny stones in her bile duct which were restricting her bile flow, inflaming her pancreas and causing acute pain and nausea. The sphincter muscle was cut to improve bile flow and a balloon was inserted in the duct and the stones flushed out.
Taking time to heal
Maggie’s pancreatitis was so severe, she stayed a week in Robinson Memorial after her second surgery. “The nurses were amazing,” she said. “I was vomiting constantly. One nurse sat on my bed and rubbed my back while I was throwing up. The pain was worse at night, and the nurses were right there with me. It felt like having my mom with me.”After four days, her liver and pancreas levels returned to normal, and she started feeling better. Once she could keep food down, she was able to go home. “After two weeks at home, I was absolutely normal again,” she said. “I have no more pain at all, and I feel better than I’ve felt in two years. I have no chance of developing pancreatitis again,and I can eat whatever I want.”
Maggie felt so good, she and her family left a coupleof weeks later for a California vacation. “We had abeautiful trip, thanks to my doctors and all theRobinson Memorial staff.”
Learn about our Gastroenterology Services.
Donna - Robinson's hospice team helped me to live better and longer
In Loving Memory of Donna Miller
September 11, 1959 - June 15, 2013
After being in and out of the hospital for end stage COPD, Donna Miller decided to join Robinson Memorial’s hospice program in January 2013. “I know my life is going to end sooner than later, but it doesn’t have to be in a couple months like some people may think when you join hospice,” Donna said.
“Hospice has so much more than just doctors and nurses caring for you,” said Donna. Donna is visited by her nurse, doctor and nurse aide. She also uses hospice social workers, therapists and volunteers who provide pastoral care, massages, beauty care, and even Reike – a Japanese healing therapy. “I love my Reike lady,” said Donna.
The hospice team at Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice focuses their care on every part of their patients’ lives. “They work hard to make you comfortable, help you live a better life and they are good to you when your life has to end,” said Donna. “They are right there with you and are so gentle.”
“You might think I’m picking favorites, but my hospice team is the best,” said Donna. “It makes me cry that I am so blessed. I have all these people around me to care for me,” said Donna. “I’ve had the best doctors, best nurses, best respiratory care therapists. At Robinson, I’ve had the best.”
“Since I’ve been in hospice, everything is starting to play out in my life. I think that’s why I’m talking now about my story,” said Donna. “If I can help one more person decide to join hospice and let them see what it can do for them, then I’ve done my part.”
Learn more about our home care services.
Edward - Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice brought me home again
In October 2012, Edward Cowan could not keep food in his stomach. He was on oxygen all the time and had many health issues like chronic heart failure, a brain disorder and diabetes. He needed care around the clock and was often in the hospital for a long time. Edward wanted to be at home no matter how much care was needed. Edward’s family turned to Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice for help.
“It was important for me to be at home, because that’s where I wanted to be,”Edward said. “I started to feel down and depressed being in the hospital for so long.” Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice sprang into action to provide Edward’s medical care at home, just as he and his family requested.
Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice made family teaching and involvement a very important part of Edward’s care plan. “Everybody started to work together, and I didn’t have to worry about anything,” said Edward.
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Debra - Finding the right surgeon
Debra Pugel suffered for years with fibroid tumors. “I was having severe cramping and a lot of bleeding, which led to my iron being very low,” Debra explained. “My previous doctor brushed off my symptoms. He felt my uterus was too big to do a minimally invasive hysterectomy. I wanted an outpatient minimally invasive procedure that would allow me to heal much more quickly than a traditional “open” surgery. I didn’t want to be down for six weeks.”
That’s when Debra discovered Jennifer Carroll,MD. “I saw an article about a patient of Dr. Carroll’s who underwent a minimally invasive hysterectomy,”said Debra. “I went to Dr. Carroll to see what options she could give me. She’s so easy to talk to, and I felt she took my symptoms seriously. We tried an IUD, which would have stopped the bleeding for about five years, but it couldn’t be inserted because the tumors were blocking it. We tried medication for about a year. It got to the point that my iron was so low, we decided to do the hysterectomy.”
Correcting years of pain
Debra’s cramping and bleeding often kept her at home. “Those days when it was bad, I wouldn’t go out much,” she said. “I had to be careful where I went because I could bleed through at any time. A couple of days I had to leave work due to severe cramping.”
She had an ultrasound at the Robinson Imaging Center in Streetsboro and pre-optesting at the hospital. “The day of surgery,you’re assigned a nurse,” she said. “She was very personable and made me feel at ease. The anesthesiologist came in and explained everything, too. The staff was great!”
“I was so grateful that Dr. Carroll was willing to try the hysterectomy laparoscopically. I had an ultrasound right before surgery, and my uterus was the size of a cantaloupe. She came in to see me just before surgery to see if I had any questions. That’s when I told her I wanted to keep my ovaries, and it didn’t phase her.”
Debra stayed one night in the hospital for observation. “I had no pain whatsoever. I took Motrin for swelling but felt nothing. It was amazing!” Experiencing little or no pain is one of the potential benefits from a minimally invasive hysterectomy over traditional surgery.
A speedy recovery
Debra was also amazed at how quickly she healed. “I came home on a Tuesday morning. I went out to dinner Thursday evening, then shopped and did laundry that weekend. The following weekend was Christmas, and it was like nothing ever happened. I was fine! Everything’s great, and I’m loving life.”
Her advice to other women: “Don’t be afraid. It was so easy for me, and I feel great. I would recommend this surgery and Dr. Carroll to anyone. I wish I had this surgery two years ago."
Learn more about our Surgical Services.
Katie - Third time's the charm
Imagine living with the pain and exhaustion of near constant urinary infections and an overactive bladder. Katie Herman suffered with both for nine years. “I was in a lot of pain from chronic infections,” she said.“I missed a lot of work, and I was up two or three times a night going to the bathroom. I was taking medication twice a day. I tried antibiotics to prevent infections, but that didn’t work.I went through two urologists,who advised probiotics, no caffeine and cranberry juice.Nothing helped.”
Finally, Katie called Howard Minott, MD, a urologist on Robinson’s Medical Staff. “He was very friendly and listened to my issues. He introduced me to the idea of InterStim,” she said. InterStim sacral nerve stimulation is an implantable device that helps control the nerve signals to the bladder, much like a pacemaker controls the heart muscle. “At that point, I was ready to try anything.”
Katie underwent a week-long trial with the device to be sure it worked for her. “I could tell just from that trial that it cut my bathroom trips in half. I didn’t feel that urgency anymore.” In an outpatient procedure, Dr. Minott then implanted Katie’s InterStim device. “The pain was minimal,” she said.“I just took Tylenol. Two days later, I was back at work. It’s totally changed everything! Now I rarely get infections. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I can’t thank them enough.”
Learn more about our Surgical Services.
Ralph - Fishing for pain relief