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Mary Johnson

Patient of Dr. Pedro Ruiz, WellMed at Southeast Lakeland, Tampa

Picture of Mary Johnson

“There are very few people I would trust with my life. I would trust them. They have improved my quality of life beyond belief.”

Mention nurse Jazmin Rodriguez around Mary Johnson, a patient at WellMed at Southeast Lakeland, Tampa, Florida, and you’ll get an enthusiastic response.

“Love her! Love her! She’s the best!”

Why? “She’s so caring and will do anything you need,” Mary said. “She would check on me every day to make sure I was following my care plan.”

Mary, age 63, has severe osteoarthritis, has had both hips replaced, open heart surgery, kidney disease and diabetes. “I was in very bad health and had become quite sedentary,” she said. “I would move between the bed and the couch. I couldn’t walk very far.”

Before she became a patient at WellMed at Southeast Lakeland near Tampa, Florida, Mary was a frequent emergency room visitor. She struggled to manage her diabetes. Her blood sugar was consistently too high, leaving her feeling ill with a host of unpleasant symptoms.

Before WellMed, Mary had trouble reaching her providers, so off to the ER she would go. “When you’re really sick, you need help right then. It doesn’t help to be on hold forever, leave a message and then get no call back,” she said.

While recovering from triple-bypass surgery, Mary had a home-visiting nurse come see her daily. She suggested that Mary go see Dr. Pedro Ruiz at the Lakeland clinic.

She followed the recommendation and discovered that Dr. Ruiz, Jazmin and the rest of the clinic staff were the answer to her prayers. “They are always there for me and would do whatever they thought would help me improve. They cared about me and believed in me. As a result, I started believing in myself,” she said.

Unfortunately, along with discovering Dr. Ruiz and Jazmin, she also discovered her hemoglobin A1c was 11.8%, well above the “under control” metric for diabetes patients of 7%. With education, adjustments to her medication, habit changes and a daily call from Jazmin to check her blood sugar level, Mary has her A1c down to 6.5%.
Now, with the aid of a scooter WellMed helped her get, and a walker, Mary gets out and about, and has a fairly active life. She’s even the editor and producer of her community newsletter.

“I just can’t stop talking about Jazmin, Dr. Ruiz and WellMed,” Mary said. “There are very few people I would trust with my life. I would trust them. They have improved my quality of life beyond belief.”