Otis Small

Having Faith is Key to Better Health

Otis Small is on a first name basis with Cynthia Herrick, his nurse care coordinator. “She changed my life, I get the care I need at a time that works for me,” explains Otis. At 82 years old, he has plenty of things he still wants to do, like take his wife, of 55 years, out to dinner.

A benefit of being a patient of Iyad Sabbagh, MD, at EMMC’s Husson Internal Medicine, is that Otis has access to a healthcare team to help him stay healthy. “I appreciate that when Dr. Sabbagh knows something affects my quality of life he’s going to work with me to get to the bottom of it,” Says Otis. That’s why Otis met Cynthia as a newly diagnosed diabetic.

“His A1Cs were 9.5 and doctor Sabbagh thought I could help support their care plan and teach Otis how to manage his disease with diet and exercise,” shares Cynthia. The two of them spoke daily for a while and developed a relationship that Otis grew to count on.

“My goal was to not go on insulin and with Cynthia’s help I didn’t,” smiles Otis. It took only months for Otis’s A1Cs to drop back into the normal range and with Cynthia’s guidance he continues to work hard each day keeping them there too. 

Since then Cynthia has become a confidant to Otis and he turns to her when he’s not feeling right. Cynthia has prevented at least one trip to the emergency room and primary care practice simply by being a resource and listening to what was ailing Otis. “When he called with a complaint about his breathing, I knew he was in trouble and needed immediate attention.” Otis was suffering a collapsed lung and got into the hospital for emergency surgery. Afterwards, Cynthia helped make sure Otis had what he needed at home in order for him to get back on his feet.

Most recently, Otis shared that he was suffering severe headaches. Cynthia figured out he was suffering from caffeine withdrawals after going cold turkey from his 12 cups of coffee day. “She told me to drink two cups a day and more water – it worked and I didn’t have to spend my day in the doctor’s office because she knows me well and listens. Thankfully, with her good advice and expertise, my headaches are gone.”

Making sure patients get the care that they need to stay healthy is how EMHS is making a difference and for Cynthia it means being very satisfied with the work she is doing. “This is by far the best job I’ve ever had and really why I wanted to be a nurse!” 

For patients like Otis, it means personalized care that keeps him doing the things he enjoys. “The faith I have in them shows in my health and happiness.”