JCH&L’s Lab Manager Thankful for Blood that Helped Save His Life

As laboratory manager at Jefferson Community Health & Life in Fairbury, Dan Reikofski sees the need for blood regularly. But in June 2016, after experiencing excessive tiredness and dizzy spells, he found himself in need of blood.

Doctors couldn’t pinpoint the cause of his discomfort but his hemoglobin levels – the proteins that transport oxygen in your blood stream – and his blood pressure were slowly dropping. When his hemoglobin reached 9 (the normal range for men is 13-15) his doctor sent him back to Jefferson Community Health & Life, this time as a patient, for overnight observation. When he woke up, his blood pressure had bottomed at 40/20 and his hemoglobin had plummeted to 6.2. That’s when he received his first blood transfusion.

Because of the unexplained symptoms, Dan was transferred to Bryan West in Lincoln, where he spent a week in the Intensive Care Unit and received several more units of blood. Once his hemoglobin had returned to a healthy level, he was able to return home.

“I’m very thankful that my condition resolved on its own and that there wasn’t a bigger problem. And I’m extremely thankful there was blood readily available to maintain my hemoglobin levels.”

Today, Dan is grateful for his blood donors who have given him more time to spend with his wife Sandy and their three children Kyle; Hannah; and Zach. As a lab professional he’s known having blood on hand is important, but living through an experience where he was dependent on blood to survive has made Dan become an even bigger advocate for local blood donation.

“The hospital’s need for blood fluctuates quite a bit because it’s used for many reasons and those change. A large number of blood products go to oncology patients undergoing treatments. We see oncology patients whose hemoglobin is very low, below 6, which is why it’s incredibly important to be able to have blood readily available.”

Because of generous blood donations from local Nebraska Community Blood Bank blood donors, Jefferson Health is also able to perform major surgeries so patients do not have to leave town for treatment. The hospital can also respond quickly to the need for blood because of an accident or injury.

“Fairbury is home for me and home is always a good place for healing,” Dan said. “There’s something to be said about a small town hospital. Most of the time you know your nurses, lab staff, and doctors, and your family can visit regularly. It’s even better if your blood can come from your neighbor too.”

Step up to help your neighbor through blood donation at the Jefferson Community Health & Life Blood Drive on June 4 from 9 am to 1 pm. Your donations also raise Hometown Hero dollars for the Fairbury community. The Hometown Hero’s program runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day and occurs during the summer months when collecting enough blood donations can be challenging. When blood drives meet their goal, NCBB donates money toward community projects.  To make an appointment to donate blood contact Jean Smith at 402-729-6851 or call the NCBB at 877-486-9414. During June, all presenting donors will be entered to win Kansas City Royals tickets.

Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group to Meet July 30

The Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group will meet on Monday, July 30, at 6:30 p.m. in Jefferson Community Health & Life’s Small Conference Room.

The program will be a program on “Filling the Day with Meaning.”  This webinar by Teepa Snow discusses how to help a loved one with dementia find meaning in their days.

Easiest access will be by parking in the H Street parking and entering through the JCH&L Main Entrance. Follow the lobby signage to “Hospital.” The meeting rooms will be to the left. The Small Conference Room is the second door.

The Alzheimer’s Caregiver’s Support Group typically meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Jefferson Community Health & Life. It is designed for those who are caregivers and family members of those who have Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias.

The group is designed to provide an opportunity anyone interested to share their experiences with Alzheimer’s Disease. There is no cost, and no pre-registration.

For more information, contact Lana Likens at Jefferson Community Health & Life at 402-729-6855.

Child Safety Seat Check Up Event Set for Aug. 9

Let us help you make sure your child is safe in the car!

 A child safety seat check up event will be held Thursday, Aug. 9, at the Fairbury Elks Club, 525 G St. The free event will offer child safety seat checks by certified child passenger safety technicians. Child safety seat checks are free.

Checks will be offered from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Please make an appointment by calling Sharon Vandegrift at 402-729-2794, and leave a message, including a number where you can be contacted.

Walk ins will be accepted the day of the event as time is available.

It is important for the child to arrive at the event in the safety seat they are using, or seat belted as they normally ride in the vehicle. The check will determine if your child is riding as safely as possible. If available, please bring your safety seat instruction book and your vehicle owner’s manual. These are not required, but are helpful.

We encourage families with children of all ages to attend. A new Nebraska law takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, which requires all children under age 8 to ride in a correctly secured federally-approved child safety seat. The law required children ages 8-18 to ride secured either in safety belt or a child safety seat (booster seat), whichever fits properly for safety.

For more information on the event, call Lana Likens at 402-729-6855.

Save the Date: Women’s Health Fair Set for Wednesday, Sept. 26

All women are invited to an evening of fun and learning!

 Women of all ages have health issues specific to being a woman. Jefferson Community Health & Life will offer a second annual Women’s Health Fair to offer women education, fun and chances to win prizes and pamper themselves on Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at JCH&L.

The event is designed in an open house format. Women are free to come for all or part of the evening. The evening will include presentations, health-related booths, “Just for fun” booths with cash-and-carry items available for purchase, screenings, opportunities to be pampered, and prizes. Mark your calendar, save the date and watch for more details to come!

For more information on the Women’s Health Fair, contact Erin Starr at 402-729-6889.

Parkinson’s Support Group to Meet July 9

The Parkinson’s Support Group will meet on Monday, July 9, at 10 a.m. in Jefferson Community Health & Life’s Small Conference Room.

The program will be a webinar Living Alone: Home Safety and Management in PD, by Erin R. Foster, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, assistant professor of occupational therapy, neurology and psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine.

Easiest access will be by parking in the H Street parking and entering through the JCHC Main Entrance. Follow the lobby signage to “Hospital.” The meeting rooms will be to the left. The Small Conference Room is the second door.

The Parkinson’s Support Group generally meets on the second Monday of each month.

The group is designed to provide an opportunity for area residents to share their experiences with Parkinson’s disease. There is no cost for participants.

For more information, contact Lana Likens at Jefferson Community Health Center at (402)-729-3351.

JeffCo On the Move Seeks Community Support for Historic Walk

Historic Walk Will Encourage Activity, and Share Community Historic Sites

JeffCo On the Move is seeking community support to help a historic walk become a reality in Fairbury. The concept of the historic walk is simple: provide information at various historic sites around the community, and let walkers know where other signs are, and how far it is from place to place.

“The goal is to encourage healthy activity in our community,” said Chad Jurgens, Jefferson Community Health & Life CEO and member of the JeffCo on the Move committee. “We want to encourage walking, biking, and connecting our community.”

Sites included on the Fairbury Historic Trail Walk are: Rock Island Railroad Depot Museum, Fairbury Public Library; McNish Park; Fairbury City Museum; Fairbury City Park; and Jefferson County Courthouse/Historic Downtown Fairbury. Each sign will include a brief history of the location, photos, a map of the community with other Historic Trail Walk locations marked, and distances to the other locations on the trail.

The mounted signs will cost approximately $1,300 each. JeffCo on the Move is inviting area businesses and/or individuals to donate toward the signs. If a business or individual donates enough for a complete sign, recognition of the donor can be included on the sign.

The goal of JeffCo on the Move is to encourage and facilitate healthy lifestyles.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Fairbury Historic Trail project or having a program for a business or organization may contact Lana Likens at 402-729-6855.