Patient Poised to “Graduate” from CFC Care
Only 44 years old, out of work and uninsured, Elizabeth suffered two strokes in 10 days in early 2014 and was hospitalized twice at Largo Medical Center. She is enormously grateful that a doctor there (who was also Clearwater Free Clinic volunteer) urged her to apply for care here at the Clinic. She knew that she needed follow-up care from the strokes and hypertension, but she then had yet another chronic condition to contend with, for she has also been diagnosed with diabetes at Largo Med.
Elizabeth’s story is not an unusual one; many patients have several chronic conditions that are monitored and treated by Clinic staff and volunteers. After several visits with a Clinic doctor, Elizabeth’s condition was stable, and her care was transferred to Jan Humphreys, the Clinic’s grant-funded nurse practitioner. “She was crucial to my care. She pays attention,” says Elizabeth. “The diabetes has been the hardest to deal with. But at the Clinic, they not only treat you, they educate you.”
Jan required Elizabeth to attend counselling sessions and a day-long diabetes class provided by one of our community partners, Morton Plant Hospital. Elizabeth also saw one of the Clinic’s own nutrition counsellors. “Now I am educated. I am aware. I know what I have to do.”
Not only has Elizabeth’s health dramatically improved, but also her circumstances. When she was well enough, she found a temporary job at an insurance agency. She worked out so well that she has become a permanent employee, and they are providing courses for her to become an agent for them. In November, Elizabeth will have health insurance through her employer at last, so she will “graduate” from the Clinic’s care. To others who are uninsured and needing health care, Elizabeth says, “The Clinic saved my life. Let them help you. It may save yours.”