In this entry, I’ll talk about how the disease started and a look into how I was affected. Bear in mind that every case is different and you shouldn’t conclude that you’ll go through the same things I have. My case, in fact, is more dramatic than most.
I first suspected that something was wrong when I began to lose some of my mental quickness and my physical energy. I also had many other symptoms: bleeding gums, bloodshot eyes, flushed complexion, and abnormally long periods. I saw different specialists for each problem. Then a blood test ordered by my internist revealed very high red, white, and platelet counts. Referred to a hematologist/oncologist in my health plan, I was studied periodically by him but received no treatment. He thought perhaps I had Polycythemia Vera but wasn’t sure. [...]
Read time: 4 minutes, 30 seconds
“At first, they’d happen every six months or so,” says Dennis, of Liberal, Kansas. “Then, they got a little closer each time.” Doctors had no idea why.
“Dennis was healthy,” says his wife, Pat. “He’d been a strong athlete in high school.”
Over the years, the seizures kept coming. Medication didn’t seem to help. Eventually, Dennis was having three or four seizures a week.
“He had all kinds of seizures -- grand mal, petit mal, seizures where he’d just stare and not know what was going on,” says Pat. “The seizures happened with no warning. He could be in the middle of a sentence or walking to the car. Our sons were 1 and 3 when this started happening. It was very difficult, and very stressful. Dennis’ seizures were ongoing for 31 years.”
In 2006, a new neurologist who was caring for Dennis suggested the couple seek another opinion.
“He told us he just could not figure out why Dennis was having seizures,” says Pat. “He suggested we see a neurologist in Wichita. We asked about going to Mayo Clinic, instead, and the doctor’s face lit up.” [...]
For most organ transplant recipients, receiving the “gift of life” is a one-time experience. But for Nellie Betancourt, battling the hepatitis C virus that had been in hiding in her body for years required another “second chance at life,” thanks to a second generous donor and a new generation of anti-viral drugs.
Betancourt, a 56-year-old mother of two and grandmother of seven from Puerto Rico, was first diagnosed with elevated liver enzymes during a routine exam in 1995. Further testing revealed a positive result for the hepatitis C virus, which resulted in several rounds of standard anti-viral drug treatments over the next several years, none of which were successful in effectively managing her disease. This began a 20-year battle with hepatitis C that was to eventually include two liver transplants performed at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus.
“By 2002, I was told that my liver enzymes were rapidly increasing, and that I’d eventually need a liver transplant or face liver failure,” says Betancourt. “I was only 42 years old at the time.” [...]
To recognize the 125th anniversary of nurse anesthetist education and the role of nurse anesthetist at Mayo Clinic, Sharing Mayo Clinic will include a special series of posts throughout the coming year. These vignettes will describe how nurse anesthesia education has changed over time and will highlight influential Mayo Clinic nurse anesthetists. Those featured received their education at Mayo Clinic and went on to be instrumental in providing anesthesia education and make significant contributions to anesthesia practice.
Written by Joan Hunziker-Dean
One of the most celebrated, internationally recognized pioneer nurse anesthetists from Mayo Clinic is Alice Magaw. Her five published articles between 1899 and 1906 in medical journals detail the technical aspects of administering open drop ether anesthesia. Her research and clinical findings set new standards for safer delivery of anesthesia in those early days.
Visiting surgeons who came to Rochester to observe the Mayo doctors perform surgery noted the skills of this nurse anesthetist and sent their nurses to Rochester to learn the art of giving open-drop ether. Even physicians from around the world noted her techniques in correspondence they sent related to their Mayo visits. Magaw’s legacy is the delivery of 14,000 anesthetics without a single anesthesia-related death. She was given the title Mother of Anesthesia by Dr. Charles H. Mayo.
Magaw moved to Rochester with her family in 1882. She befriended Edith Graham, who encouraged her to go to nurses training. Both women attended the two-year nurses training course at the Chicago Women’s Hospital and graduated in 1889. Magaw moved back to Rochester in 1893 and worked first as a staff nurse at Saint Marys Hospital. She learned to give anesthetics from Edith Graham, wife of Dr. Charles H. Mayo and the first trained nurse and anesthetist at Saint Marys Hospital. [...]