Last fall, I wrote to you regarding my positive experiences at the Meriter Wellness Center and the excellence of their staff. At that time, I had advanced from a person with little to live for that was crippled by diabetes and other maladies, to a person taken off of all diabetes medicines and gained the ability to once again breathe unlabored. I had lost several pounds. I praised all of the Wellness staff; Kim Faulkner, Debra Pecosky, Emalee Coleman, Lisa Wenzel, Amy Hein, Cathy Folz, Susie Brueggemann, Jim Marx, and their supervisor, Carol Boe, for their excellence in helping patients with severe cardiac or pulmonary disabilities, to improve their life. (So far, I've lost 70 pounds)
Another of Meriter's programs, of which I have participated as a patient for two years and dove tails into the Wellness Center's mission, is the Diabetes Support Group. This is a group of people, all of whom have diabetes, who meet once a month for two hours, to discuss their personal issues brought on by diabetes, receive an hour of instruction by various Meriter experts on medical issues surrounding diabetes, and set goals for the following month. The group is led by Dr. Gretchen Diem, a health psychologist, Holly Gehard, a dietician, and Beth Johnson, a diabetes nurse practitioner.
The Diabetes Support Group has become so popular, that another group has been formed which meets in Monona, and is under the tutelage of Meriter's other health psychologist, Dr. Lindsey Duca.
Some participants in the Diabetes Support Group have discovered the benefits of the Meriter "Get Fit" program offered by the Wellness Center, and the feedback from participants has been quite positive.
Often, some of the "satellite" support programs offered by Meriter Hospital, such as the Wellness Center, Support Groups, etc., don't receive the acknowledgement of their importance and service to Meriter patients, as perhaps they should.
As a subscriber to some of these services, I can say that I have deep gratitude for the staff of these services, and the assistance they offer. I, in my 74 years of life, have seldom seen a more cohesive, goal oriented staff who work so harmoniously with both themselves and their patients. They are truly the "unsung" heroes of the Meriter Service to the health community.