Patient Testimonials | Candee’s Story
When Candee Adams, of Moultonborough, headed off to her nine-year-old son’s football game one Saturday morning, she never imaged she would soon be at Speare—where she works as an occupational therapist—with a badly fractured leg.
Life, as they say, changed in an instant when Candee happened to lose her footing. She remembers, “My husband looked at my leg and said you know your knee and ankle aren’t lining up.” Pain and swelling quickly followed.
Candee was soon enveloped in the Speare Experience. “I can’t say enough about the staff, both those I already knew and those I didn’t,” Candee says. “From the moment I arrived, the x-ray technicians and nurses were so careful about my pain, my privacy and dignity. Dr. Giovan and his Physician Assistant Amanda Hall, from Plymouth Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Clinic, were there so quickly—they were incredible. And, after I was admitted, the nursing staff was so attentive and on top of everything.”
Today Candee is back. Back in yoga, back in spinning class, and back at work in Speare’s Occupational Therapy Department. Back, thanks to intensive rehabilitation and what she calls her Giovan-Hall masterpiece, referring to the 12-inch titanium rod Dr. Giovan used to repair her leg.
“I’ve been where my patients are,” Candee says. “I’m now able to empathize with them better, whether it’s coping with night pain, struggling to manage daily tasks, or just anxious to get ‘back to normal.’ Because of my experience as a patient, I am a better therapist.”
Patient Testimonials | Creig’s Story
When Creig Doyle of Holderness woke up on the morning of November 11, 2010, he noticed his right arm felt stiff and that it was a little swollen. Seeing two “red dot pin prick” marks he chalked it up to a spider bite. As he was shaving he recalls his arm feeling tighter, and that he couldn’t make a fist, but continued on with his morning routine.
As the chief of Plymouth State University Campus Police, he arrived at the office about 7:45 a.m. By 8:30 a.m. the swelling in his arm had inched up his bicep toward his shoulder, and the little voice inside his head was saying, “Maybe I should get this checked out.” He proceeded to the Emergency Department at Speare Memorial Hospital.
Being Veteran’s Day it was fairly quiet. After being triaged, Sharon Hilger, RN, talked to him about what was going on, and she was followed a few minutes later by Dr. Steve Danosi. Creig notes, “He had a really good demeanor, personal but professional, wanting more detail on symptoms and their onset. He disagreed with my assessment saying, ‘I don’t think we have any spiders in New Hampshire that would make this happen, so let’s see if we can figure out what is going on.’ That’s when he decided on blood work and ordered an ultrasound.”
It wasn’t long before Dr. Danosi had an answer. The ultrasound showed Creig had a wrist to clavicle blood clot that Dr. Danosi began addressing right away. “Oh, you mean I’m staying,” Creig asked.
For wife Leonetta, it was a miracle he took himself to the emergency room to begin with. She says, “He down plays everything. When I arrived at Speare he was still in the Emergency Department, but moved upstairs shortly thereafter. I was very concerned because it was a blood clot, and I realized the seriousness of it even though he was playing like its nothing.”
Had Creig waited any longer to come to the Emergency Department, he would be telling a different story. His primary care physician/hospitalist Dr. Kathy Pearson was clearly worried, which solidified Leonetta’s concern.
Creig says, “Dr. Pearson gave me a very somber over the top of the glasses look, ‘It is a good thing you came in when you did. We got you in the nick of time.’ That’s when the light bulb went on that this is serious.”
In an effort to dissolve the blood clot, Creig was taking Coumadin and on a heparin drip. While not in traction, he had limited mobility with his arm propped up on two pillows. At times he was allowed to sit in a chair, but otherwise no walking around. Dr. Pearson was insistent, “You are not to move.”
Despite “just hanging out” in the hospital for eight days, Leonetta remembers her husband to be in good spirits. Creig insists, “I was in no pain, I didn’t feel sick and felt so guilty for taking up a bed.”
Leonetta says it was the teamwork of the staff—clinical and non clinical— that made a difference. “I want everyone to know how appreciative I was. They never made you feel rushed or imposed upon. When they were there, they were there to take care of you like you were the only patient on the floor. It just amazed me they gave you the time you needed and maybe a few minutes more. You began to feel like it’s a family.”
Creig and Leonetta made a particularly special connection with LNA Amy (last name). The emotion rises in Leonetta’s voice as she reflects back: “Amy talked to me at length a few different times. Once was just to ease my concerns and say whatever she could to encourage me. Then we began to connect on a more personal level. The day we found out something showed up on a follow-up x-ray and might be a spot on his liver, Amy was there for me. I had questions and she helped put me at ease.” An MRI cleared up any lingering concerns.
Leonetta continues, “Amy was one of those people God puts in your life to help you through something. She is a woman of faith, and so are we . . . I felt that I had the faith support I needed. It was then I realized this is a community, and I felt I belonged.”
Never, in any other hospital I’ve been anywhere, was the staff concerned about my needs as a family member like they were here at Speare. It was a good warm feeling. That stood out most importantly for me.”
Creig went back to work the Monday after Thanksgiving, but put himself on the “rubber gun squad” during the five months of physical therapy that followed. He became an avid reader during his down time, but is back to being fully active, working around his yard, as well as trying something new—kayaking.
Patient Testimonials | Jean’s Story
Relationships are important to Jean Parillo, particularly when it comes to her health. Seven years ago she moved to Bristol from Boston and knew she needed to find a primary care provider locally. While still in Boston she had found a woman she describes as a great doctor, but not very approachable. She had hopes of finding a doctor here she could better relate to.
That’s when she got a post card in the mail introducing Dr. Kathy Pearson from Tenney Mountain Internal Medicine & Family Practice. “From the picture on the post card, I really liked her face,” says Jean. “She appeared to be warm and friendly. So I scheduled an appointment for ‘the works.’ When I finally met Dr. Pearson I just loved her. She was thorough, articulate, understanding and kept insisting I must have questions.”
Jean’s confidence in Dr. Pearson was solidified following an extended illness, that as she puts it, “knocked me out.” It started when she woke up one morning two years ago with a tingly sensation in her hands and feet. After a week of treatment, she wasn’t any better and the tingly sensation had moved up into her arms. Dr. Pearson did some research and scheduled Jean to see a neurologist. She never made that appointment.
Instead, Jean’s husband had to bring her to the Emergency Room at Speare because she couldn’t walk. Within 15 minutes the Emergency Room doctor gave her condition a name and she was transported to Dartmouth. She had Guillian-Barre Syndrome, a virus that attacks the nervous system leading to nerve inflammation and muscle weakness.
“It really does knock you out and causes a lot of pain,” says Jean. “Dr. Pearson called me at home once a week to check on me. No doctor has ever done that.”
Jean says the condition also brought on terrible depression and anxiety. “I had an appointment with Dr. Pearson, and when I got in there I just started crying. But I felt like I was talking to my best friend. Dr. Pearson is different. She meets you where you are and treats you, the person.”
Dr. Pearson also recommended Jean start a regular exercise program to help make her feel better. Jean says, “To quiet her, I finally joined RehabFIT. I love it. Dr. Pearson was right . . . I do feel better.”
Today, Jean says, “I can go out for a day and not be exhausted. I can go for walks, run and play with my grandchildren, garden and not have to go to bed at 7 p.m. I am back to being myself.”
Patient Testimonials | Steve’s Story
One year and two hip replacements later (one on each side), Steve Sharps, 62, of Holderness says, “I never expected to be where I am today. This fall I went hunting at our camp up in Pittsburgh, climbed Crystal Mountain twice, and went canoeing. I feel great.”
Not so this time last year following a fall off a wood pile. Having worked in the woods since he was five years old, and doing business as Sharps Lumber since 1977 logging and selling lumber, the only time he had been in the hospital was when he broke his leg following a logging accident.
Having had a good experience at Speare Memorial Hospital before, he went to see Dr. Victor Gennaro, orthopedic surgeon, at Plymouth Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Clinic. X-rays revealed Steve had arthritis in both hips, and Dr. Gennaro informed him he needed to replace his left hip immediately and the right hip sooner rather than later.
“I was a bit gun shy about having surgery,” Steve reflects from the comfort of his living room in the house he and his son built. It is both showroom and tribute to his livelihood. But after the fall Steve says, “It hurt to do everything.” He let a few weeks go by and realized he just needed to get it done and had the first surgery on December 14, 2010.
“Dr. Gennaro told me like it is, explained what he was going to do and got it done. He checked on me each day, and if I had questions was willing to take my calls after I went home.” After a two night stay at Speare, Steve was released and used crutches for about a week, a cane for two more weeks, and was walking without any assistive devices 17 days after surgery.
“I even went snowmobiling last February between surgeries,” he brags. In March he had his other hip replaced. “It all seems like a long time ago,” Steve notes. “Now I can do anything. I feel like me again.”