Last May, Dixie Williams recalls being scared and sick. Arriving at Alta View Hospital and admitted with a bleeding ulcer, her hands and feet were swollen and breathing was difficult. It wasn’t the first time her ulcer had acted up and she dreaded the impending treatment. “I have a horrible gag reflex and I knew I was going to have to drink this horrible chalky fluid and probably throw up.”
Explaining her concerns to Granite Peaks gastroenterologist Dr. Kyle Barnett, the doctor on call, she calmed down as he quickly and efficiently came up with another method that was “a thousand times more pleasant than before,” says Williams.
Her bleeding ulcer turned out to be one of several gastrointestinal issues that needed attention and treatment. “It was such a relief when Dr. Barnett came to the room,” says Williams, recalling not just his smile and upbeat attitude but his patient way of carefully explaining everything to her. Requiring on-going care, outside the hospital, Williams became one of Dr. Barnett’s patients.
When she needed a polyp removed in a difficult area near her bile duct, Dr. Barnett arranged for her to see one of the few surgical specialists in the state who focus on this area. Unfortunately, she suffered an uncomfortable and swollen abdomen following the surgery. “I was miserable and figured there was nothing they could do about it,” recalls Williams.
A week later, on her birthday, Williams followed-up with Dr. Barnett at Granite Peaks. Noticing it was her birthday, he said, “Well Happy Birthday Dixie, what can I give you?” An unhappy Williams pointed at her stomach, “You can get rid of this.” Dr. Barnett took a closer look, and stated, “I can do that.” Later that day, six pounds and six ounces of fluid was removed from William’s stomach. “I think it was the best birthday gift I’ve ever had,” admits Williams with a laugh, “I was finally able to sleep through the night and my quality of life dramatically improved.”
Williams, a mother and grandmother, is getting back to the things she loves doing best, including spending time with her family, reading, and cooking. She always prepares extras for those who may want a home-cooked meal. “Today, I’m making a six-pound meatloaf- we’ll freeze some and then give some to our neighbors, who are widowers.”
She likes making that extra effort for others and that is also what she appreciates about the Granite Peaks’ staff. “When it seems like it is getting time to needing something, Becky [Medical Assistant] calls and says, “Dixie, it is time for you to come in.”
What is Williams’ advice to other patients and their families? When they find themselves in the hospital or meeting with new doctors, ask a lot of questions and get informed. “Don’t assume nothing can be done. If something does not seem of feel right, then speak up, there might be a solution that will make you feel a whole lot better.”