Augie Petsche brings a little sunshine when he rolls up to the hospital front doors in the Blooming Branches van to deliver flowers to a patient or an employee. This unassuming gentle giant always has a smile and kind words for those he greets at GMHC. Recently, though, GMHC delivered care to Augie after he injured his foot while climbing his stairs in his sandals. His left knee gave out causing his big toe and the one next to it to scrape the cement. He didn’t think much of it at the time, but about a week later, his toes had become red and very sore. Between that, and the fact that he has diabetes, he figured he better visit the ER at GMHC.

Blood work was ordered and the results showed he had gout. However, given the recent injury the doctors felt additional testing was needed. The next day, an MRI was ordered revealing he had an infection in the bone of his toe. Auggie was advised to return to the hospital immediately to start antibiotics.

Augie reported for this unexpected hospital stay and the team got to work hooking up an IV and getting him settled in. He said, “They wasted no time getting an intravenous antibiotic started.” He knew they were worried because diabetes makes infections more dangerous.

Dr. Dikkers offered Augie several options to treat the infection, and one of the options might involve partial amputation. However, they would begin by treating him with the antibiotic, serving him a diabetic diet and monitoring his situation closely. During his stay, it was also discovered that he had a spot on his other foot that could be treated with an ointment, so that was also started.

While at GMHC, Augie saw several different doctors and all the PCU (Patient Care Unit) nurses. He said the care from everyone was outstanding, and that they all did their best to help him with whatever he needed. 

“It is great to be treated in my hometown, where they know me by name. Although it is a small town, Guttenberg has a great hospital, doctors and nurses to care for us. They care for me here with more of a personal approach because it isn’t too big. The services are great, and many of the specialists come here. A lot of towns our size don’t have a hospital, so we are very lucky,” commented Augie.

“They took great care of me, and the nurses were always asking if I needed anything, so I finally asked for a cup of coffee, which they brought right away. One day they served roast beef, mashed potatoes & gravy and beets that were very tasty and reminded me of how my mom used to make them. I mentioned that the beets were so good, that I could almost go for a second helping. Of course, within a few minutes, the nurse came in with the second helping. I might be old-fashioned, but that was important to me. My folks are not here anymore,

and my sister and brother-in-law live in Arizona. They were able to talk to my doctors to get updates, and that helped. It gives them a lot of comfort to know that I’m getting such good care here,” he reflected.

After his two-week stay in the hospital, Augie was released to go home. Augie was given home care tips which included continuing the use of the oral antibiotic that was prescribed, using the ointment on his other foot, changing his socks daily and wearing diabetic shoes to protect his feet. Although the infection was going away, he was to monitor his feet for any returning signs of infection, which would require immediate evaluation at GMHC.

Soon after his return to work half-days, Augie’s infection also returned and he was re-admitted to GMHC. He joked, “I love this place so much, I just couldn’t stay away!” The antibiotic alone was not able to keep the infection out of his bone permanently, so surgery was performed to remove part of his toe. Our providers coordinated with his podiatrist to make it happen. Currently, Augie is at home healing, and looking forward to returning to his routine again.

Augie concluded, “I know it sounds weird, but I enjoyed my time here; I was being taken care of very well and didn’t worry about anything. I can’t stress enough how good the nurses were to me. If anyone needs a local doctor or hospital, they should come here, because they will be well taken care of and can stay close to home to get that care.”

Augie, it is great to see you back on your feet and we thank you for your work delivering sunshine to the halls of GMHC!

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