Stories From the Clinic

October 11, 2013

Miracles can happen every day right in front of us, but we aren’t always watching. At Health Partners miracles are a part of our culture, so telling the unbelievable stories of blessing that come through our doors every day is as common as morning talk about what coffee is brewing in the kitchen.  They happen so often that we can almost call when they’re coming and it’s not always with the patients.

When a nonprofit, like Health Partners, asks for funding from any generous granting agency, typically the agency likes to hear about the numbers served, or “outcome measurements”, as well as the success stories. Unfortunately, in the for-profit world of measured results the numbers usually outweigh the stories.

These inspiring stories from the Clinic are worth more to us than any outcome measure.  The stories are what keep us going every day.  Stories like that of “Jerry”:

An estimated 0.4% of Americans are walking around today with a blood triglyceride (fat) level above 1000 mg/dL. To put that into perspective, a normal triglyceride level is 150 mg/dL, so for these select folks familial genetics play a huge factor and often therapeutic intervention is the only way to protect against eventual stroke or heart disease. Jerry is one of these unlucky few. Jerry came to Health Partners with a triglyceride level of 1485 mg/dL and no income to his name. Chris, our Nurse Practitioner, understood the severity of Jerry’s case and placed him on a strong medication to lower his triglyceride levels immediately. Fortunately the Clinic is able to maintain an inventory of this life saving medication through the assistance of a grant from the Miami County Foundation. After a year of treatment and personal accountability Jerry was finally able to get his triglycerides levels down to 204 mg/dL! Jerry will have to be on this medication for the rest of his life due to his unfortunate genetics. Luckily, Jerry will always have a supply here at Health Partners.

“Jerry” is an example of bad genetics, and the importance of medical intervention.  These cases can result in severe consequences without the access to life-saving prescription medication.

We all have had a family member that has been down and out for a season and required a little extra help to get them through the valleys of life. Maybe we have even been there ourselves.  Going through those rough times can be defeating, and maybe we just need someone to come along and believe in us again.  “Ron” knows a thing or two about the valleys.  Ron’s story is about second chances.  Like many of us, he’s had a few:

In January of 2012 Ron, a middle-aged diabetic presented at his scheduled appointment with a fasting blood glucose of 500 mg/dL and hemoglobin A1C of 13.6. Ron by this point had become well-known amongst the practitioners for his non-compliance, even though the Clinic had been able to secure his medications for him at no cost. To add to his debilitating diabetes, Ron had struggled with alcohol addiction for years and cannot hold a job. JoAnn, a staff Nurse Practitioner, had not given up on Ron though, and she became a strong advocate for his health. She insisted that he again receive the diabetes education that had been given to him in the past, and took a determined stand on his care. Over this year Ron took notice as well, and by his May appointment he had lowered his fasting blood glucose to an astonishing 110 mg/dL and hemoglobin A1C of 6.9.

Many folks would fold their arms and give up on “Ron”.  I’m sure they had. Many folks would say Ron’s health problems were his own fault.  I believe he knows.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do in life is the right thing.  Sometimes, when you believe in someone hard enough, you get to watch them change right in front of your eyes.  That is what we call, a miracle.