Since her surgery at RCH last year, Mary Martsching has been back at work researching and writing novels for children and teens.

For someone born and raised in landlocked Iowa, Mary Martsching has an unusual fascination with lighthouses. She’s an author with three published books, and lighthouses feature prominently in all of them. “I’m a Christian,” she said. “And lighthouses symbolize Christ, the light of the world. They’re beacons of hope and safety.”

Like a sailor depending on a lighthouse for safety, Mary has learned to depend on Ringgold County Hospital to keep her safe and healthy. Her story began in 2014. She had a routine colonoscopy, and a benign polyp was found. There was no real cause for concern, except that she was experiencing flare-ups of diverticulitis. Her symptoms included terrible chills, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea. She’d go to sleep and wake up sweating profusely. By late summer, the bouts were worse and more frequent, so her primary care provider at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic, Marcy Gregg, ARNP, ordered a CT scan.

The test revealed that she had inflamed pockets in her colon and needed to be hospitalized immediately. She had sepsis, which is a potentially life threatening complication of an infection. Colon surgery was required, but she had to get healthy before they could operate. Antibiotics cured her infection and surgery was scheduled.
“Dr. Wehling talked to me about what needed to happen,” said Mary. “He drew me a picture of my colon and showed me exactly what was going on, and what he was going to do. He is a teacher. It was just incredible.”

“Dr. Wehling said, ‘I would never recommend surgery as a first option. But after several bouts of diverticulitis and a severe infection, you need to do it.’ He explained how he would perform laparoscopic surgery to remove the infected section of my colon and crimp it back together.”

During surgery, Dr. Wehling found additional pockets of infection. “It’s no wonder I was so sick!” she added. During her recovery time in the hospital, Dr. Wehling came in to check on her every day. “He has trained his surgical staff to come in every day too,” she added. “And everyone had read the notes in my chart, and knew all about me.”

Her opinion of the RCH nursing staff is as high as that of the surgical staff. “The nurses were top notch. I was in acute care after the surgery. They were so caring and knowledgeable. The whole staff at RCH is a team.”

“We are so blessed having this surgeon here. We don’t have to travel to Des Moines for these surgeries. But what I really liked about Dr. Wehling is this: when he first met me, he pulled up a chair and just talked to me. He’s so approachable and personal. He didn’t use a lot of big terminology to explain things. I just knew I could trust him. I’m really thankful.”

A brief bout of pneumonia landed her back in the hospital last November, but she recovered and was home before Thanksgiving. For Mary Martsching, it’s been smooth sailing since then.