Letter: Albert Lea has seen many changes

Published 12:14 am Friday, June 30, 2017

Many years ago, U.S. Bank statements contained a quote enclosed from famous people. One I remember was from John F. Kennedy. It said, “Progress is change, and change is progress.”

Albert Lea has seen many changes over the years and continues to change. Some like it — some do not.

When our hospital was taken over by Mayo, many thought, “Wow. We’ll have lots of doctors moving here.” Many did not, but commuted quite a long distance.

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Albert Lea is a beautiful city and has a lot of senior citizens who necessarily do not like change. They like things the way they are and what they are used to. A lot need assistance just to get where they are going. Many are on limited budgets and need a lot of health care.

I, for one, am very concerned about the changes underway at our hospital facility. The rheumatologist who I have been seeing here, was needed back at Rochester Mayo Clinic due to a shortage there. I was so disappointed as he is a wonderful doctor. I received a letter through Rochester Mayo Clinic that this doctor wanted me to continue my care through him due to the anti-rheumatic drugs I require. Refills and labs could be done locally, with results reported to him in Rochester. I was thrilled until I called for an appointment to see him in Rochester. I was told there was an overload of patients from Albert Lea and that I would have to see a nurse practitioner and might get to see him if he was available. I told them I would not drive to Rochester to see anyone other than my beloved doctor.

When our last daughter was born at Naeve Hospital in 1963, the beloved Dr. Demo was my doctor. I had a long labor and he told me, “You know you are interrupting my office calls, but I’ll be right upstairs!” What a doctor. He spent winters in Arizona when he retired. One summer, he came into our business to have Velcro put on his shoes. He sat in a chair and talked to me. I told him I remembered him at the office for an appointment, and he smoked a pipe while I was there. Do you know what he said to me? “I just loved my pipe!” What a doctor!

Dr. Clayton Nelson was another good doctor of mine. He told me he was concerned about the insurance companies’ dictation to doctors about unnecessary pre-overnight stays and aftercare stays for surgeries. He saw trouble coming with this. He was right.

And now, Albert Lea has lots of trouble — the decision made for the changes coming to our local hospital. Some hope they will change their minds. This is a change I doubt will ever happen. It is very unfortunate for Albert Lea’s economy. Some will survive it; some may not. Our business survived for 50 years. It was good to us.

Sandra Pieper

Albert Lea