AdventHealth Waterman opens its new Center for Women and Children with special care in mind.
It’s not uncommon for Glenda LaRoe to be interrupted at a restaurant by someone holding a baby. “You helped with my delivery!” She doesn’t always remember names, but she loves the reminder.
“It’s such a personal thing and such a blessing to be part of,” says Glenda, who is a nurse at AdventHealth Waterman’s Center for Women and Children and has helped deliver many babies over the last 39 years at the hospital, including some of her co-workers.
“I was the nurse for Amber, our nursery nurse, and was at her bedside when she had her daughter,” smiles Glenda. She says sometimes she sees her ‘babies’ throughout the hospital, now professionals working toward a shared mission of patient care.
Glenda has another connection with those she first met in the delivery room. She was born at Waterman Memorial Hospital when it operated out of the former Fountain Inn in Eustis. Her love of nursing came while working as an aide at Waterman Memorial and at Harry-Anna Crippled Children’s Hospital in Umatilla.
“It’s my niche … seeing a life start,” said Glenda who, in addition to a labor and delivery nurse, cares for new moms, women who have had gynecological procedures and children in the pediatric wing.
AdventHealth Waterman has invested in the Center for Women by adding new services, remodeling the department and making all rooms private. The hospital’s commitment to advanced care for area women and children continues with the Center for Women and Children’s move to the new tower on the hospital campus. The new unit is housed on the second floor, above the newly expanded emergency department.
Glenda says she looks forward to the changes at AdventHealth Waterman but cherishes the sense of familiarity that pervades within the hospital walls. She says Lake County is a close-knit community and it’s not uncommon that a patient comes in who may be someone she knows. She says that influences the level of care she and her coworkers commit to with each patient.
“They may be part of our family. They know somebody that we know,” said Glenda. “In nursing school, we focused on the mind, body and spirit and throughout it hasn’t changed. It goes back to what we’ve always done. What is the most important thing for the patient?”
For Dolores Keller, easing anxiety associated with mammogram screenings is the most important thing she can do for patients.
Dolores is an AdventHealth Waterman auxilian who volunteers in the Mammography Center. She is a breast cancer survivor and drives 17 miles each way from her home in Zellwood Station for her shift.
“I was diagnosed 16 years ago from a mammogram,” says Dolores, who lived in Atlanta at the time. “The radiologist showed me a tiny spot. It was so tiny that she needed a magnifying glass to see it. I was astonished and shocked.”
The diagnosis came as a surprise, she explains, because she has always followed a healthy lifestyle. Dolores’ treatment involved radiation and a lumpectomy. She said, when it was over, “I felt like a million dollars. I went back to what I was doing and in full force.”
Dolores eventually moved to Florida. She began volunteering at the AdventHealth Waterman Mammography Center three years ago where she greets patients and escorts them to and from their screenings.
“Every Tuesday when I work, we have approximately 50 patients scheduled and I walk seven miles before the day is done,” said Dolores.
She often tells patients her breast cancer history saying, “I’ll share my story to anyone who will listen.”
Soon the AdventHealth Waterman Center will offer advanced 3D mammograms. The technology provides a series of images of the breast rather than a single x-ray picture. Radiologists can then view the breast in a series of slices – like flipping through pages in a book – so tissue is seen more accurately. With this advanced technology, there is about a 40 percent improvement in detection of cancers and a reduced rate of patients being called back for repeat scans. Because breast cancer can be easily treated when detected early, the 3D mammograms significantly improve the chances of identifying tumors.
Dolores stresses the importance of women getting their annual mammogram screening, no matter the age.
“I tell everyone to get a mammogram. Mine was found when I was 68 so don’t ever stop,” says Dolores.
We’ve come a long way since Lake County’s first hospital opened in a Eustis hotel more than 80 years ago with 18 beds and six bassinets. As our community has grown, so has the need for advanced healthcare services.
That hospital which operated out of one floor of the hotel is now AdventHealth Waterman, a 299 bed community hospital with comprehensive big-city medical services.
This month, AdventHealth Waterman celebrates a significant advancement in healthcare in Lake County with the opening of its expanded emergency department and its new Center for Women and Children.