Author Archives: Jennifer Kellner

Walking + Water = Healthy Living

Lori Mercer is motivated by keeping up with her grand children

Last January, Lori Mercer was motivated by a desire familiar to women everywhere. She wanted to look healthier and feel great at her son’s upcoming September wedding. She’d experienced the ups and downs of weight loss and gain over the years after having her children. “Weight Watchers, Slimfast, The 21-Day Fix, I’d tried them all,” she admitted.

One year ago, she was determined to do something that worked, and that would last. Serving as the Health Coach Navigator at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic and a licensed practical nurse, Lori knows the facts about losing weight. But knowing what to do, and actually doing it are two different things. “If you’re going to lose weight, you need to have your head in the game,” she said. “If you’re not focused, you’re just not going to do it.” Although she started the year with her goal in mind, it wasn’t until February that she really got some traction. A challenge among RCH employees called “Live Healthy RCH” kickstarted her journey. The combination of teamwork, accountability, and competition inspired her to give it her best. “We earned points for exercising, drinking water, and completing different challenges,” she said. “It was really helpful to be in a challenge group with my co-workers. We were competitive!”

One of Lori’s teammates, Leslie Murphy, is the health coach for the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic. “She thought meeting my goal to lose 50 pounds by September was going to be tough, but she agreed to help me and keep me accountable. Knowing I was going to weigh in with Leslie once a week made a difference.” Lori’s exercise routine started by putting one foot in front of the other – literally. She’d get up early and do a 30-45-minute workout using an online video to start the day. In the winter, she’d work out in her house. She’d walk for 20 minutes in the middle of the day, and again in the evening. In nice weather, she rode her bike several times a week. “I was working out three times a day, mostly walking,” she said. Along with regular exercise, she paid attention to what she was eating. “I didn’t deprive myself of anything. I was just careful. I cut back on food, but occasionally, I’d have a cookie or a piece of cake.” Again, the Live Healthy RCH challenge helped. “I had to be sure our team got our points. Even when I went on vacation I took an iPad so I could continue using the online workout,” she added. “I was that committed to losing the weight.” Her results? She beat her 50-pound goal and lost 54 pounds before the wedding. “I feel better. I have so much more energy. I’m less tired during the day because I’m not carrying all that extra weight around.”

As much as Lori wanted to look and feel great for the wedding last September, she has a long-term motivation. She’s a lifelong Ringgold County resident who has lived in area her entire life. With four grown sons and eight grandchildren mostly nearby, she wants to enjoy every minute with them. Even after exceeding her goal, Lori is determined to take off another 30 or 40 pounds. The Live Healthy RCH Challenge is right around the corner, and she’s ready to take it on again. “I’m doing food prep this week. I’m ready to go!”

Lori’s Top Tips
• Drink lots of water. The latest studies are saying we should drink half our body weight in ounces every day. Then add 20 ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise.
• Get up and start moving. Even if it’s just for five minutes. Then each day add five minutes. Each week add 10 minutes. Do it for 14 days straight. It will become a habit and you’ll want to do it.
• Don’t deprive yourself of food you really enjoy. Just limit portions to a smaller amount.
• If your head isn’t in the game, you’re not going to do it. Just take baby steps to get started. Remember, you’re doing it for you.
• Put up a visual reminder to keep yourself motivated. On her bathroom door, Lori posted a sign: Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it? ABSOLUTELY.

For more information about meeting with the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic Health Coach, Leslie Dredge-Murphy call (641) 464-4534 to make an appointment. Health-coaching services are available to all Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic patients.

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Happy Holidays!

Gordon Winkler CEO
Gordon Winkler CEO

A message from Gordon Winkler, CEO

As we approach the end of another year, I’d like to reflect and express thanks for our hospital, our community, and the tireless service of the staff here at Ringgold County Hospital. You may have noticed that we have a new communication theme: Caring is our Calling. I think this speaks to the qualities found in those who serve at Ringgold County Hospital. We are dedicated to providing the best possible care to our friends, our neighbors, and our loved ones every day. Whether you’re visiting the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic for a well-baby checkup, or visiting an aging parent after surgery, I’m confident you’ll find the same level of commitment and compassion.

This year, I celebrated 30 years as the CEO of this institution. I couldn’t be more pleased and proud of what we’ve accomplished over three decades. I’m looking forward to 2018. Happy Holidays!

Carrying on a Family Legacy

Michael Webb, AU.D.

Dr. Michael Webb is doing his part to contribute to the quality of life for the residents of Southwest Iowa. An audiologist, he’s carrying on the family business that his father started in 1978. “I went to work with my father often while I was growing up,” he explained. “I saw what he did on a regular basis and saw how people’s hearing affects their lives. I knew it’s what I wanted to do. It’s where I can help.”

The plan had been for Dr. Webb to take over Audiological Services, Inc. (ASI) from his father after they practiced together for several years. But when his father passed away suddenly in 2011, the timeline was accelerated. He received his doctorate in audiology from San Diego State in 2014.

Dr. Webb explained that the vast majority of his patients are seniors. As people lose their hearing, they tend to become less social and less active in general. His goal is to keep people active and engaged in their communities. “People are staying more involved as they age,” he said. “They want to be with their grandchildren, and be a part of their lives.” Along with a generation determined to stay active, technology has made significant advances in hearing aids for them. “We see a lot of connectivity to other devices now; iPhones, Bluetooth devices, smart phones, for example. Hearing aids are fully digital, with lots of improvements in sound quality and background noise controls. Some are so small, they’re almost invisible!”

“Workplaces are doing a better job with hearing protection,” says Dr. Webb. “But hunters and farmers need to protect themselves while using guns and loud tractors, too.” He also recommends parents being aware of their children who always seem to have headphones in their ears “If you can hear the music they’re listening to, it’s too loud.”

Dr. Webb recommends a hearing screening around age 50 or 55. “To set a baseline.” Unfortunately, he says that most people wait for five or 10 years until they seek treatment. In that time, the brain becomes lazy. “If you’re not using it, you can lose the auditory part of the brain. So, it continues to affect what they’re able to hear,” he said. Because it gets worse slowly over time, it can be very hard for the patient to notice, when it may be so apparent to others.

Along with contributing to a less active, less social life, hearing loss has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It contributes to memory issues, can affect overall balance, and leads to a higher incidence of diabetes. It’s also linked to depression. “I want to help people stay connected,” says Dr. Webb. “Eyes connect you to objects. Ears connect you to people.” If you or a loved one is ready for a hearing screening, Dr. Webb is at Ringgold County Hospital on the first and third Tuesday of each month from 1:00-5:00 pm. Call 641-435-1288 for an appointment.

The signs and symptoms of hearing loss

Hearing loss that occurs gradually as you age (presbycusis) is common. About 25 percent of people in the United States between the ages of 55 and 64 have some degree of hearing loss. For those older than 65, the number of people with some hearing loss is almost 1 in 2. Aging and chronic exposure to loud noises are significant factors that contribute to hearing loss. Other factors, such as excessive earwax, can temporarily prevent your ears from conducting sounds as well as they should.

You can’t reverse most types of hearing loss. However, you don’t have to live in a world of muted, less distinct sounds. You and your doctor or a hearing specialist can take steps to improve what you hear.
Signs and symptoms of hearing loss may include:
• Muffling of speech and other sounds
• Difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd of people
• Trouble hearing consonants
• Frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly
• Needing to turn up the volume of the television or radio
• Withdrawal from conversations
• Avoidance of some social settings

Factors that may damage or lead to loss of the hairs and nerve cells in your inner ear include:
• Aging: Degeneration of delicate inner ear structures occurs over time.
• Loud noise: Exposure to loud sounds can damage the cells of your inner ear. Damage can occur with long-term exposure to loud noises, or from a short blast of noise, such as from a gunshot.
• Heredity: Your genetic makeup may make you more susceptible to ear damage from sound or deterioration from aging.
• Occupational noises: Jobs where loud noise is a regular part of the working environment, such as farming, construction or factory work, can lead to damage inside your ear.
• Recreational noises: Exposure to explosive noises, such as from firearms and jet engines, can cause immediate, permanent hearing loss. Other recreational activities with dangerously high noise
levels include snowmobiling, motorcycling or listening to loud music.
• Some medications: Drugs, such as the antibiotic gentamicin and certain chemotherapy drugs, can damage the inner ear. Temporary effects on your hearing — ringing in the ear (tinnitus) or hearing loss — can occur if you take very high doses of aspirin, other pain relievers, antimalarial drugs or loop diuretics.
• Some illnesses: Diseases or illnesses that result in high fever, such as meningitis, may damage the cochlea.

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Diabetes and Vascular Disease

Jane Thomas appreciates the quality of care she receives at Ringgold County Hospital.

Jane Thomas knows a thing or two about surgeries. She’s had several, and there are more in her future. The Mt. Ayr resident and grandmother of four couldn’t be happier with her care at Ringgold County Hospital. Dr. Ed Wehling in particular has helped her with a variety of issues. “When Dr. Wehling came, I had a lot of trouble with abscesses. He’d take one out, and another one would appear. So he went into my stomach through my throat and looked around. After that, I had a panniculectomy. That’s when they remove a layer of fat on your lower abdomen,” she explained. “But before that, he worked  n my legs. I call it the ‘Roto-Rooter’ procedure! He opened up the arteries in my legs and it really helped.” Jane’s health issues can be attributed to her Type-2 diabetes. “I’ve had it for years. Usually I can keep my blood sugar under control. It was fine for five or six years, but now it’s up and down. We’re having a hard time getting anything to work.” She explained that it’s very difficult to lose weight because of the insulin she must take. “It’s a fat-storing hormone.” Even after she lost weight after the panniculectomy, it’s been difficult to get around. Her enthusiasm and good cheer hasn’t been dimmed, and she appreciates the staff at RCH. “We are so fortunate to have Dr. Wehling,” she said. “He’s so knowledgeable and is really top notch. At the same time, he’s a hoot!”

Ed Wehling, D.O

Dr. Wehling is keeping an eye on Jane’s cartoid arteries.  Right now they’re about 70% blocked. When they reach 75%, she’ll need another surgery to have them cleaned out. In the meantime, she’s scheduled with RCH orthopedic surgeon Dr. Homedan for a procedure on her arm as a result of a stroke she suffered several years ago. Jane’s positive attitude and good humor is obviously serving her well. “We are just so lucky to have this hospital and this staff in our small town,” she said. “The nurses provide such good care and the surgeons are the best.”

Diabetes and Vascular Disease

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life. There are several types of diabetes, however Type 2 diabetes (previously called “adult onset diabetes”) is the most common type, accounting for 90-95% of all diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, physical inactivity, a family history of diabetes, a history of gestational diabetes, and race and ethnicity.

The majority of adults with diabetes die from vascular disease. Their risk is 2-4 times higher than adults without diabetes. Diabetes causes vascular disease if there is too much glucose in the blood. This excess glucose damages the blood vessels.

Diabetes is linked to several vascular diseases:
• Retinopathy, abnormal growth of blood vessels in your retina
• Nephropathy, a disease that damages the tiny filtering units of the kidney
• Neuropathy, a condition causing a loss of sensation in the feet and toes
• Atherosclerosis, hardening and narrowing of the arteries
• Stroke, the sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen

Complications from diabetes may be prevented by:
• Eating well-balanced meals in the correct amounts to keep blood sugar levels as close to normal (non-diabetes level) as possible. Managing your diet so that you are eating a wide variety of foods including vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, poultry, and fish.
• Regular physical activity to lower your blood glucose (sugar), blood pressure, and cholesterol. It also reduces your risk for heart disease and stroke, relieves stress, and strengthens your heart, muscles, and bones. In addition, regular activity helps insulin work better, improves your blood circulation, and keeps your joints flexible.
• Losing some weight if you’re overweight. People with diabetes are more likely to be overweight and to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
• Stop smoking. Both smoking and diabetes put you at risk of vascular disease, and together they can kill you.

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Oncology Clinic

Dr. Roy Molina

An Oncology/Hematology Clinic  will be held the first Wednesday of every month. The clinic will be staffed by Dr. Roy Molina, with Medical Oncology & Hematology Associates (MOHA) in Des Moines. Along with offering Oncology Clinic services, Ringgold County Hospital will also be providing chemotherapy infusions. Patients will be able to get testing close to home, as well as bloodwork, CT scans, MRIs, bone scans, PET scans, IV infusions and more.

Dr. Molina trained at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston where he completed his internship and residency. He completed his fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Kansas and has double board certifications in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. Dr. Molina joined MOHA in 2000 and has a longstanding interest in quality of care.

Call (641) 464-4409 to inquire,

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