For many, a hospital is a place where you go when you’re sick. And if you’re fortunate enough to rarely get sick, then a hospital is a place you might not find yourself frequently visiting. For Greg Dominick, Logansport Memorial Hospital was a place he knew he could go if he needed it, and when he did – he was able to access all the different components of the care he needed, right here at home.
As an avid baseball fan, Greg was making the most of his recent retirement by travelling to different stadiums to watch the games. It was during one of his recent trips to Cincinnati to watch the Cubs play that he noticed that noticed he just wasn’t feeling all that great.“I went to Cincinnati to watch the Cubs play and I had tickets for Friday and Saturday night. Following the game on Friday night, I went to dinner and headed back to the hotel. Everything was fine. I woke up Saturday morning and just felt ‘ugh’. I have really been fortunate in all my years to never really be sick, so I decided to stay in the hotel for a little longer and lay down hoping that I would feel better. Well, it ended up just getting worse and the pain was really around where my appendix was, and where they say you feel the pain associated with issues with your appendix.”
Knowing he still had tickets for the game that night, Greg debated whether or not to stay in Cincinnati or head back home.
“I just wasn’t getting any better, and I decided, you know what – I can get to a game any time, I’m just going to go home. As I headed home, I grabbed a banana and Powerade hoping that would help and that maybe my electrolytes and fluids were low. But it just really didn’t help. When I got back to Logan, I decided to try and lay down again and see if I would start feeling any better.”
Around 5 pm on Saturday night, Greg had contemplated an ER visit. With no progress in how he was feeling, and a gut feeling that something was not right, he decided to go ahead and go in to be seen. Within 30 minutes, he was admitted to the hospital.
“After some tests and imaging, one of the nurses came up to me and said, ‘Mr. Dominick, your appendix is just about ready to burst. We are going to be taking it out tonight or tomorrow morning.’ And by Sunday morning, Dr. Lalla was in and they took it out.”
As soon as he was admitted on Saturday, Greg quickly realized the kind of care he would receive during his stay. Between Rose Ewing, NP and Dr. Benjamin Anderson making rounds and constantly checking in on him, and then Dr. Michael Lalla coming in and doing surgery, he described the three of them (as well as the many nurses who ended up being a part of his care) as “gifts from God.”
“I was admitted on July 4th weekend, and didn’t end up getting released until July 12th, and the entire week I was in – they checked on me every day. The care I received, the attention I received from these three… they kept me up to date and informed, there were no secrets. They were just amazing. I ended up having to go back into the operating room because Dr. Lalla was concerned with the amount of drainage I was having, and with him taking the extra precaution to make sure that nothing was missed and that everything looked good… he (they all) were just wonderful.”
The high level of care did not stop at the providers. Greg went on to say that every single person involved with his care was truly wonderful.
“All of the staff were wonderful. The nurses… even the people that came in to clean the room… they were all just kind and considerate and just very sympathetic.”
This level of care and compassion has been what Greg has always known in any experience he has had with Logansport Memorial Hospital. He believes that people think because of his long time career as a teacher here in Logansport, and being well-known within the community, is the reason for his “over-the-top” care during his most recent stay, to which Greg answers by saying that just can’t be the case… because he has always known and expected this to be the level of care he would receive when he’s here.
“I told my friends… I said look, I’m no celebrity in this town. Yes, I taught for 39 years and yes, I probably know a lot of people in this community, but I guarantee you I was not treated any differently or better because of who I am and what I did for a living. The staff here just genuinely cared about my well-being and checked on how I was doing because that’s the kind of staff they have at the hospital.”
While he stands firm that the care he received is what everyone will get while they are here, Greg did feel very blessed to have familiar faces in the halls to help him pass his time during his stay.
“You know, I was very fortunate to see familiar faces. I was lucky enough to have a couple of former students as nurses, and friends that work here came to check on me to see how I was doing. I had visitors from all over the hospital. It really helped me feel comfortable during my stay. One of the biggest surprises, and it goes to show just how much people care, was when Perry Gay, the CEO, stopped in to see how I was doing. When they moved to Logansport several years ago, one of his sons was one of my students, so I got to know him and his wife. And you know what he did? He apologized that he hadn’t been up to see me sooner. I just laughed and told him that being the CEO, I knew he had a very busy schedule. Again, it just shows the kind of wonderful people that work at this hospital. I can’t compliment the nursing staff on the floor, the doctors, and all of the various staff enough… they were all just amazing.”
After looking back on his care experience, Greg was reminded and reassured of what he had always believed about Logansport Memorial Hospital – you don’t have to go somewhere else to find the best care.
“As with any smaller town, there is always the belief that bigger is better. If you need surgery or continued care, you need to go out of town to a bigger facility. And I just have never believed that to be the case. Any time I have ever needed care, I have been able to stay right here at home. I have always said there is something about knowing the kind of care you will receive because you know the kind of people that work at a place. Here, you’re not just a patient. Your life is in the hands of someone that knows you. I firmly believe that I wouldn’t have gotten… I KNOW I wouldn’t have gotten the kind of care… the same level of care I received if I would have gone to Indianapolis. Looking back, I am just so thankful I decided to come home from Cincinnati when I did so I could come here. I have never had a bad experience here, and this was just another amazing experience to add. They made a situation that wasn’t good into the best possible experience I could have had.”
Unexpected diagnosis, and continuing care at Logansport Memorial Hospital
Shortly after his release from the hospital, Greg was given news that was not expected… especially because his trip to the ER and his hospital stay was for his appendix. Dr. Lalla informed Greg that he had cancer.
“Dr. Lalla told me I had cancer, and I thought about this new chapter and the new interactions and doctors that I would face… you know, I have never been to the Cancer Center here. Even so, Dr. Lalla was very helpful and informative and I knew before going in to it, that they are going to see me through this. It’s a tough break right now, but everyone has been so positive with me. They got me through my hospital stay, and I have no doubt that they will get me through this next chapter too. You know, we are very, very fortunate to have the doctors, the staff, and facilities that we do right here at home. For a community our size, we are blessed to have what we have.”
Turning to family to talk about his recent diagnosis, Greg was reminded how right he was in saying that you don’t have to travel far to find good care.
“I was talking with an aunt of mine who had battled cancer in the past and could relate to what I was going through, and I was telling her about my recent PET scan, and she couldn’t believe I was able to get that done here. She was so impressed, and I just reminded her in terms of facilities, I think we have one of the best. I trust the doctors that are here and working with me, and I don’t see a need to go anywhere else.”
The right care, right here at home
It’s no secret that Greg feels passionately about the quality of care that can be found right here at home. When asked what that really means to him, to be able to stay in town and get all the care he needs on this next journey, he shared:
“It’s hard to put a price tag on how good that is. Let’s be honest, we are not the size of Kokomo or Lafayette… but we have the same services, if not more, available here. And knowing the kind of people that work here, and the hands you’re in, it makes it that much more important and makes me feel that much more fortunate that this all can be found here.”
As Greg waits to learn more about the next steps in his care, he is confident that no matter what is needed… he will be in the best of hands. As he discussed future surgeries with Dr. Lalla, he jokingly requested to be put in the same spot with the same nurses as last time, because he enjoyed his experience with the staff that much. Looking back on his initial stay for his appendix, and looking ahead to his journey with the Cancer Center, Greg shared:
“I could have ended up anywhere. If I wouldn’t have decided to come home from Cincinnati, I could have been having surgery somewhere there. If we didn’t have the services I need here, I would have to go somewhere else. So, again… I could have ended up anywhere. But I know for a fact, I would not have received the same kind of care with the same kind of respect that I have gotten from Logansport Memorial Hospital. I feel very confident in the hands I’m in here, and I know that the wonderful staff, nurses, and doctors that are here are going to see me through this too. I just know that even though there are other places available, and I could choose to go somewhere else, I would never find what I will find right here at home. They have made a tough situation the best it could possibly be, and that’s why I will continue to always find my care here.”
Enjoying the journey and taking it a step at a time
Greg knows of the challenges he might face moving forward, but is feeling positive and overwhelmed with support from friends and the community. And even with this unexpected diagnosis, his love of baseball and enjoying retirement has not slowed down. He got the “all clear” to catch a game in Colorado, and thinks he will even be in the clear to enjoy his vacation in the fall. As he moves forward from this experience, he knows that Logansport Memorial Hospital will be right here, always ready to provide the exceptional care he knows and loves.