For One Patient, a ‘Hometown Touch’ Makes All the Difference

DSC_4633Jim McCoy is a familiar face at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. Diagnosed in 1983 at the age of 29 with Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID), Jim has required monthly infusion treatments to help sustain a healthy immune system. Without those treatments, his immune response to infection would be virtually nonexistent and he’d face any number of infections that could threaten his life and a life sheltered from social contact. To be able to receive those treatments at his community hospital, just four blocks from his home, is literally a life-saver, he said.

“If I didn’t have this hospital, my lifestyle would change dramatically,” the 58-year-old said. “I can’t tell you how blessed I am – I don’t have the vocabulary.”

CVID occurs when a patient’s immune system can’t protect him from bacterial, viral and even some parasitic infections. The best treatment for CVID is intravenous immunoglobin (IVIG) infusions, which boost the patient’s level of antibodies to properly fight off infection.

Jim’s monthly two-hour infusions at TMH help keep his counts high enough to fight infection until he’s due for another round. In addition to IVIG, he retired early from his career as a warehouseman and spends his days at home making sure his body is properly rested and nourished. Every now and then, he manages to get in a round of golf.

A lifelong Taylorville resident, Jim said a large part of what keeps his stress levels down is knowing his community hospital is familiar with his rare condition. In addition to avoiding the time and expense required to travel to more distant hospitals, he has the benefit of working with a staff who knows him well. When it’s time for his next monthly treatment, he calls three to four days ahead, asks to be scheduled with his nurse, Karen Herman, RN, and sets a date. On the day of his treatment, Herman is waiting for him with the exact settings for his infusion so that he’s in and out as quickly as possible.

“I’ve got a nurse who knows me and understands me, which is huge,” Jim said. “That hometown touch – they know me when I walk in the door – you can’t get that anywhere else.”

Beyond the nursing and medical staff, Jim said he also is grateful for Taylorville’s newly renovated Emergency Department, completed in 2011, which he visits without hesitation if he begins to feel unwell, and he’s also used the hospital’s new CT technology in the Outpatient Services Center, completed in 2011, for his annual checkups. He even sings the billing staff’s praises for helping him find the most ideal insurance company for both him and the hospital to work with, which he said helped him keep his dignity in knowing his bills were being paid on time.

“It’s not just one thing – it’s the whole thing,” he said. “It’s everybody working together. As bad as this hand is that I’ve been dealt, the good people I’ve met along the way are lifelong friends that I absolutely treasure.”