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Larry Spoelstra Gets to the Bottom of Health Concerns with Collaborative Care at MHP

When it comes to healthcare, being able to continue working without interruption is a common concern for many, Larry Spoelstra is no different. 

“I’ve lived in the same place my entire life,” Larry explained. “We have a family farm, and I’ve always helped out with taking care of the livestock and land. I milked cows for 20 years until we sold them. I have now been at Clow for 23 years but I continue to help with the farm when I’m not at work.”

With a busy life both in and outside of work, Larry can’t afford to be out sick for very long. However, after a couple of spells at work and getting sent home, he decided to seek a second opinion.

“I have been to a few different providers over the last ten years. I was originally diagnosed with diabetes here in Oskaloosa when Dr. Matt (Whitis, Emergency Physician at MHP) was doing physicals at Clow. I started off taking pills and then insulin about five years ago. I followed my family doctor to another local facility when he moved, but after he quit practicing, I went to a different local facility where I have been for the last few years.

“I started getting into a lot of trouble due to my insulin levels at work recently. My levels would drop so low I would get sent home, so I went back to my doctor to figure out what was going on. They continued to increase my doses, but I kept having spells. At one point I was taking three insulin shots per day, but my numbers were still off the charts. I got frustrated and didn’t want to just keep increasing my doses, so I decided to get a second opinion.”

Larry scheduled an appointment with Family Nurse Practitioner Lisa Smith, ARNP-C, at New Sharon Medical Center. “I brought my log book of all my glucose screening results and asked for her thoughts. She immediately called Sharon Ferguson and got me set up with an appointment the same day in Oskaloosa.”

Sharon is a Certified Diabetes Educator who works with patients like Larry to make sure their diabetes is managed. “I was curious about why his previous provider kept upping his doses of insulin, but his glucose readings were so inconsistent,” Sharon explained. “I started asking questions and quickly figured out there were things going on that could be contributing to his struggles.”

Larry made a few changes to his routine and started seeing great results. “Sharon explained to me that I couldn’t keep injecting my insulin in the same spot, as it wouldn’t be absorbed properly, so I started moving each injection around. She also told me I was taking my last shot of the day too late and then taking my morning one too early, which was causing my spells at work. Once we started adjusting things, I kept feeling better and better.”

Larry met with Sharon a few more times to make sure his levels were where they needed to be. “We were able to drop him 10 units of insulin per day and reduce him to two shots per day instead of three,” Sharon explained. “He has continued to improve and has not had any bad episodes of low blood sugar at work since!”

Matt Whitis, MD

Dr. Matt Whitis is the Chief Medical Officer at Mahaska Health Partnership and practices in Emergency Room and on Inpatient Services as a Hospitalist. He is an avid long distance runner who regularly competes in Ironman competitions. Dr. Whitis is also an active general aviation pilot.

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Anna Throckmorton, ARNP

Anna joined Mahaska Health as a Nurse Practitioner in September of 2019. Anna is down to earth and, though born in Oskaloosa, spent the greater part of her childhood in Lovillia, IA. Anna brings with her more than 15 years of healthcare experience and chose to become a Nurse Practitioner as the logical next step to providing great care to the community she loves. Mahaska Health is home for Anna and she finds fulfillment working with the patient as a team to find the bridge to a solution for each unique situation. Anna began her career as an LPN with Mahaska health more than 15 years ago and has, since then, demonstrated exceptional clinical care for patients through a wide variety of ages and health concerns. Anna enjoys spending time at Lake Keomah, grilling in the back yard and reading. She considers herself light-hearted though the medical field often calls for serious conversations.

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