Patient Reflections

Patient Reflections

All you have to do is ask

“I’ve dealt with enough hospitals in my life that I know when it is a good one,” Deb Dessel laughs. “And, West Union has a good one with Palmer!”

In her late 40s, Dessel underwent her first bone scan. Having been on steroids a majority of her life, her doctor was concerned with bone development. After the initial scan, Dessel was diagnosed with premature osteoporosis. Put on medication to stop the progression of the disease, Dessel had a bone scan every other year to ensure the medications were working and that the disease does not worsen.

“Actually, I have now moved to having a bone scan every year due to compression fractures. Anyone who sees me regularly notices that I’m getting shorter each year.”

For the first 20 years, Dessel traveled to LaCrosse to have her scans done. Then, when Palmer Lutheran Health Center started getting a mobile unit outside the hospital, Dessel quickly switched. “Who wants to drive to La Crosse if they can have the scan done a couple minutes from their house? Especially for a test that takes 15 minutes?”

However, it was early this year when Dessel learned of a new option at Palmer. A member of Palmer Auxiliary, Dessel was elated when Jayne Soppe, Radiology Supervisor, came to the meeting to give the Auxilians a personal tour of the Women’s Wellness Center…which included a new DEXA bone scan machine.

“I was in awe!” Dessel remembers. “No more going outside to have my bone scan? I got to come into a beautiful large room to have my scans done? Really?”

A DEXA scan is a bone mineral density test (BMD) used to determine your bone health as it identifies osteoporosis and determines risk for fractures. It also measures a person’s response to osteoporosis treatment.  DEXA is the most widely-used test and is quick and painless. A DEXA scan measures the density of bone at the lower spine and hip and compares it to a “standard” measurement to give you a score.  Although no test is 100% accurate, the DEXA scan is the single, most accurate predictor of future fracture possibilities.

“I was scheduled to see my endocrinologist the next week and the very FIRST thing I told him was, ‘I’m doing my bone scan at Palmer’s Women’s Center!’ Needless to say, he didn’t argue!”

The Women’s Center encompasses the general area of health and wellbeing and includes ultrasound,  mammography, a DEXA room  and Calorimeter room (which measures a person's resting metabolic rate).

“Comfort. Comfort. Comfort.” Dessel smiles. “That is the perfect way to describe it. It is a large, warm room and they even provide a warm blanket during the testing. The test itself takes about 15 minutes. They do a scan of my spine and wrist while I simply lay there with my pillow and blanket for a short time and the machine does all the work around me. It is the least invasive procedure I’ve ever had done. I could stay in there even longer. The atmosphere is so calming with beautiful pictures above my head.  It is so much better than the mobile unit and 10 times better than having to drive hours to La Crosse for the test.”

Dessel finishes, “And, just think. This convenience all started with a simple tour of the hospital’s new area and asking my doctor if I can have it done all Palmer. I don’t think everyone knows everything that Palmer has to offer. All you have to do is ask.”