Services & Specialties

Trust in Adena’s care helps get 94-year-old patient back to active lifestyle

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In early December, 94-year-old Ruth Willis was in her large Washington Court House yard doing some of that tasks she still loves – mowing and mulching and making things look great for the holidays.

She credits the rapid and professional response during the summer of Adena Health System physicians and caregivers for helping get her back in the seat of that mower as early as October.

In early July, one of Ruth’s sons, Stephen, took her to Adena Fayette Medical Center after a combination of health issues led to an episode requiring a visit to the emergency department. Thinking there was a possibility that she’d had a minor heart attack or stroke and wanting to exercise caution, hospital staff wanted to transport her for further evaluation.

“They gave me an option of where I wanted to be transported and I chose Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe – I thought it would be easier for my family to go back and forth,” she said. “We normally would have gone to Riverside, which is where we used to go in Columbus. They took me to Adena, and my son, Bruce, and I were both impressed with the attitude of everybody in the whole system down there. They were all so positive and uplifting.”

Ruth recognizes the power of positivity in customer experience. She and her husband had operated a longtime Fayette County family business, Willis Lumber Co., providing kiln-dried treated woods for flooring, cabinets, furniture and other uses until its closure in 2010.

“It’s always good to have somebody who is positive rather than somebody who is negative to deal with,” she said.

Ruth had already been scheduled for a scoping of the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract just a few days after her health episode occurred, so the procedure was moved up. Cancer was detected in a portion of the colon and she was quickly added to surgeon Dr. Nina Edwards’ schedule without having to go through a second prep period for a colon procedure.

“She took about 12 inches of my colon out and also noticed my gallbladder was not healthy, so she took that out while she was in there,” Ruth said. “That was great to get it done the same day.”

Following her return home, Ruth experienced some shortness of breath that slowed her progress. An outpatient visit with Adena’s pulmonology team included imaging that led to a diagnosis and same-day treatment. Even after 15 procedures prior to Ruth’s appointment that day, Dr. Haval Saadlla and his staff acted quickly, getting Ruth into surgery for a procedure to remove fluid that had severely restricted her breathing.

Bruce said he was impressed with how effectively caregivers were able to respond to some other issues that arose.

“As expected for her age, various curve balls were served up and Adena staff professionally and pleasantly responded,” he said. “She acknowledges that she has never received such excellent medical care and is grateful, as is her family. We would not know where to begin to thank everyone who assisted in her care.”

Ruth, who appreciates the level of care that has allowed her to return to her active lifestyle, said she learned from a podiatrist years ago that the secret to that lifestyle is “exercise, exercise, exercise.” Several years ago when she started dealing with arthritis and her husband was having heart trouble, the couple had an indoor pool installed, and she still does laps regularly.

While she acknowledges that life has been full of “curve balls” in recent years – including chemotherapy treatments as part of care now being provided by Dr. Shylaja Mani for chronic leukemia she has battled for about 15 years – she takes it all in stride.

“That’s part of life, you know,” she said, matter-of-factly. “I’m lucky to have lived to 94, right?”