SOMC announces “Surviving the Holidays” support group

The holidays can be difficult, especially for those mourning the loss of a family member. For those who are struggling to make it through the season, however, Southern Ohio Medical Center is there to help.

SOMC will be holding a series of “Surviving The Holidays” support group meetings designed to help take the anxiety out of the holidays following the death of a loved one.

“Through ‘Surviving the Holidays,’ we will be providing the help and support so many need during this time of year,” Bereavement Coordinator Susan Goins said. “Our meetings will include a light supper, as well as educational materials and discussions meant to help those who may be struggling with the death of a loved one.”

“Surviving The Holidays” is a five-week group that starts just before Thanksgiving and continues until after New Years. Meetings will last from 5pm until 7pm, and are scheduled for: November 26, December 3, December 10, December 17 and January 7. All meetings will take place in the Gibson Building Conference Room, located on SOMC’s East Campus.

Group space is limited, so those interested in attending will need to register. For more information, contact Susan Goins at 740-356-2676.

Cessation classes help couple kick the habit

Robert and Judy Dixon smoked for 50 years before enrolling in SOMC’s free smoking cessation class.

For more than 50 years, Robert and Judy Dixon made sure they always had at least two items that served as unfortunate reminders their youth: Their lighters and a pack of cigarettes.

Robert started buying cigarettes as a child, when he could get five for a nickel, and he began smoking when he was 16. For his wife, the habit started at 18. But for both of them, it ended last March when they attended free smoking cessation classes at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

“I quit on March 17,” Robert said. “She quit on the 18th.”

Prior to finally giving up the habit, they had each only considered quitting once before. Robert gave it up for a week, during which he admits to still sneaking cigarettes, while Judy managed to stop for a month before being derailed by stress related to the death of her sister.

Their resolve stiffened, however, when Robert found out the habit he had picked up in an attempt to fit in had ultimately resulted in colon cancer.

“I was in the Cancer Center when Dr. (Thomas) Summers said, ‘I’ve got something I’d like for you to do for me.’ I said, ‘What’s that?’ He said, ‘Join our smoking cessation class,” Robert recalled. “I said ‘okay’ and I signed up for it.”

Because Robert’s attempt was less likely to succeed if there was still a smoker in his home, Judy enrolled in the class as well. Early on, their instructor said something that gave her a new way of looking at her addiction and helped motivate her to quit.

“She told us, ‘A lot of you have went 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, 50 years smoking. You learned how to smoke in those years. Now you’ve got to learn how not to smoke,’” Judy said. “I’d never looked at it that way before. Approaching it like I was just learning not to smoke was key for me.”

Another moment that stood out came when they were asked to ‘bury’ – or throw away – their cigarettes. In fact, Robert said it was the most difficult part of the entire class. Throwing them away wasn’t made easier by the fact they were no longer nearly as cheap as they had been when he was a boy. Robert and Judy estimate they were actually spending $60 a week on cigarettes.

“If I had all the money I smoked up I could buy a real fancy car and take a big dream vacation,” Robert said. “It’d be a lot of money.”

That money may be gone, but now so are the cigarettes – and Robert and Judy credit SOMC with helping them make the change. They’ve essentially become ambassadors for the smoking cessation program, surprising skeptical friends who didn’t think they could quit and encouraging other smokers to follow in their footsteps.

Quitting may not be easy, but the free smoking cessation classes have given Robert and Judy Dixon the tools they need to finally beat the habit once and for all.

“I still get the cravings, but if you can get it off your mind for four minutes, you’ve got it whooped,” Robert said. “These classes helped me see that, and I’d recommend them to anyone that wants to quit. If you need help, that’s the place to go get it.”

 

SOMC purchases 17 new cars

Southern Ohio Medical Center increased its fleet of vehicles after purchasing seventeen 2013 Toyota Corollas from the Glockner Family of Dealerships. SOMC Home Care will use six of the cars, while the other eleven will benefit SOMC Hospice.

“We have a lot of staff that drive quite a bit in order to bring exceptional patient care directly into our patient’s homes,” Craig Gilliland, director of Financial Services and Business Development, said. “Some are driving more than 10,000 miles a year. That is the staff that will be assigned a company vehicle.”

“We’re thrilled that we were able to purchase these new vehicles,” Teresa Ruby, director of SOMC Hospice, said. “Travel is a regular part of our work in SOMC Hospice, and it will be much easier with these quality automobiles.”

“This is an exciting moment for SOMC Home Care and Hospice,” Karen Thompson, director of Home Health Services, said. “Both programs serve multiple counties and have large service areas. These vehicles will enhance our abilities to serve patients in outlying areas.”

The cars will not be assigned to individual employees, but rather will be tied to certain jobs, duties and the number of miles driven.

“As staff rotations change, the cars will rotate also,” Gilliland said.

When choosing to purchase new vehicles, SOMC also made it a priority to spend locally.

“This is the first time we’ve ever sold 17 cars at once, and we’re glad to see them support such a wonderful hospital,” Tim Glockner of Glockner Honda and Toyota said. “SOMC continues to be a great partner to the Glockner family of dealerships and to the local economy.  I don’t know what we’d do without SOMC and all the quality people that make up the organization.”

 

Furry friend welcomed as family by SOMC staff

Little Bear the Therapy DogPets are a part of the family, but there are many places a family might travel where their furry companions may not be welcome. When Staci Sammons’ children were involved in a car wreck, she was relieved to discover Southern Ohio Medical Center wasn’t one of those places.

Staci has a four-year old, 180-pound English Mastiff named Little Bear, a therapy dog who participates in Tail-Wagging Tutors and is a regular at three nursing homes and two local schools. He was on his way to Heartland Nursing Home on August 13 when Staci got the news: her son and daughter were in a wreck, and her daughter was on her way to SOMC.

In that moment, the last thing she wanted to worry about was what to do with Little Bear… but it turned out no worry was necessary. They were both welcomed into the hospital’s family room, where they waited for more than six hours.

“I know a lot of the nurses took pictures that night and came in petted him,” Staci said. “I was really happy they let him stay. If I’d have gone back home to drop him off, I don’t know that I could have made it back to the hospital because they had to shut down all four lanes of traffic after the wreck.”

Staci’s daughter was treated and released. Her son, who had been sent to another hospital, also recovered. But she is still grateful for the warmth and understanding she received when she first walked through the hospital doors with a 180-pound dog in tow.

“It was really nice to be able to know they’d let him stay there and have a place,” Staci said. “If nothing else, I’d just like to thank SOMC for that.”

SOMC nurse takes healing touch to Guatemala

SOMC RN Kristen Pertuset completed her first mission trip earlier this year. She visited the Central American country of Guatemala.

For many, the summer months are a calling to take time off work and go somewhere special.

Somewhere far. Somewhere exotic. Somewhere you can enjoy the warmth of the sun… the fresh, morning breeze… and armed guards, barbed wire, and electrified fences…

At least, that’s the story of Kristen Pertuset’s last summer trip.

Kristen is a registered nurse at Southern Ohio Medical Center, but for a week in August she was (both literally and figuratively) about as far from SOMC as she could get. She was on a medical mission trip to the Central American country of Guatemala.

It was her first mission, and it exposed her to a standard of living radically different than that to which she was accustomed. In fact, while there she lived without luxuries so basic most Americans would not recognize them as being “luxuries” at all.

“There was no clean water and you weren’t allowed to flush your toilet paper,” Kristen explained. “There was a trash can in every bathroom that everybody threw their toilet paper into. You don’t realize how big of a deal that is until it’s taken away.”

The trip itself was inspired by the same desire that led to Kristen becoming a nurse – the desire to help others, especially those who need it the most. It began, though, with a word of warning.

A child plays near a sign promoting the “Partido Patriota,” or “Patriot Party.”

On her way there, a physician who was native to the country suggested she pretend to be Canadian. Being from the United States, he said, was not something that would win over the locals. But once she arrived, she found that her nationality didn’t really matter.

“They knew we were Americans and they traveled for miles to get to see American doctors,” Kristen said. “They loved us. They loved everything we could show them or do for them. They were kissing my cheeks, literally, and hugging me at the end of every single visit.”

While there, she saw patients in desperate need of quality medical care. She treated patients as young as three-months and as old as 100-years. She even treated a woman who complained of exhaustion and turned out to have been walking around with a hemoglobin level of 5 for the last six months.

Pertuset’s clinic saw, on average, 150 patients a day.

Her clinic averaged 150 patients a day and was equipped with limited supplies. She was forced to perform all of her procedures without so much as someone to hand her tools. It created a stark contrast with work upon her arrival to SOMC.

“(In Guatemala) we were almost trying to ‘MacGyver’ a setup to get what we needed,” she said. “It was kind of surreal to come back and have everything so readily available.”

But even with the clinic’s primitive conditions, lack of supplies and machine gun-wielding guards, Kristen is clear that the experience was a positive one. In fact, she is looking forward to doing it again – electrified fences and all.

Maternity donations try to ease pain of losing a child

There’s nothing like the pain of losing a child. Kristen Newsom knows this firsthand. Her own son, Cash Ryan, was stillborn last June.

Now, she’s doing what she can to help other parents dealing with grief after a fetal demise or stillbirth. She has provided SOMC Maternity with gift baskets full of items meant to help memorialize the memories of children who passed too soon.

“If we can reach out and at least offer some comfort, that’s what we’re going to do,” Kristen said.

Included in the baskets are books to help make sense of the tragedy, as well as SD cards for cameras and hand molds that can be used to immortalize their child’s memory. They are things that Kristen said would have been precious to her when she lost her own child.

The donations are part of a larger effort that Kristen has made to help other parents who have suffered a loss. There are several fundraisers that have been held in Cash’s memory, with the proceeds going to the Cash Ryan Memorial Fund. This allows her to help other families through their pain, while also keeping her son’s memory alive.

For more information about SOMC Maternity, visit www.somc.org/maternity.

 

SOMC honors sonographers for Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month

Southern Ohio Medical Center recognizes its sonographers for Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month.

The month of October is recognized as Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month, and Southern Ohio Medical Center took the opportunity to recognize the caring and talented sonographers they have on staff.

Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month is meant to increase the public’s knowledge about sonography, a diagnostic medical procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to create dynamic, visual images of organs, tissues or blood flow within the body. For more information, “like” SOMC on Facebook or follow SOMC on Twitter and Pinterest.

Stroke support group meetings announced

The RehabCare Unit at Southern Ohio Medical Center will be hosting monthly stroke support group meetings for the public.

The meetings, entitled “Moving Forward After Stroke,” will take place in the RehabCare Unit conference room, located on SOMC’s Main Campus. They will last from 4 to 5 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of every month. The meetings are open to the public and registration is not required.

Specific dates and topics for upcoming meetings are:

  • September 25, “Follow-Up Care Compliance.” Presented by Crystal Shepherd and Erin Fout.
  • October 23, “Spiritual Support & Sharing.” Presented by Chaplain Miller.
  • November 27, “Diabetes Overview.” Presented by Ashley Salyers and Tiffany Hadsell.
  • December 18, “Stroke Overview.” Presented by Gretchen Horner.
  • January 22 (2014), “Depression.” Presented by Scott Jolly.
  • February 26 (2014), “Tips for Controlling Blood Pressure.” Presented by Regina Keller.
  • March 26 (2014), “Community Resources.” Presented by Angela Clay.
  • April 23 (2014), “How Nutrition Affects Health.” Presented by SOMC Nutrition Services.
  • May 28 (2014), “Anticoagulation Medications.” Presented by the SOMC Pharmacy.
  • June 25 (2014), “Stroke Outcomes.” Presented by Jodi Pierron.
  • July 23 (2014), “Communication Issues After Stroke.” Presented by Jodi Cooper.
  • August 27 (2014), “Safety.” Presented by Shane Bond and Jason Bailey.

For more information, please call Regina Keller at 740-356-8556.

SOMC Pediatric Associates announces Sunday open house

Southern Ohio Medical Center will be hosting an open house for SOMC Pediatric Associates on Sunday, September 22. The event will last from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. on the first floor of the Fulton Building.

While SOMC Pediatric Associates is already accepting patients, this will be the community’s first opportunity to tour the entire facility. Attendees will also be able to meet providers and staff.

“There will be a lot of things to interest parents and children alike,” Dr. John Radford said. “There will be a fire truck and an ambulance for children to see, as well as coloring stations and an SOMC Pediatric Associates Photo Booth.”

Portsmouth police will also be on hand to talk about “stranger danger” and the D.A.R.E. program.

For more information about SOMC Pediatric Associates, call 740-356-7337.