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.”