For about eight years, Germantown resident Ronny thought he was getting good care for his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at another hospital. However, in March 2013, his breathing became so difficult that his brother took him to Temple University Hospital, which was near his home.
“I had never felt so bad in my life,” he recalls. “I could barely walk.” After spending a week during which the Temple Lung Center reversed his respiratory failure, he’s been a patient ever since.
“The doctors there were so great,” he recalls of his initial encounter. “They were asking me questions such as ‘Didn’t your doctor tell you this or tell you that?’ And my answer was ‘No.’”
For example, Ronny had never heard of a positive pressure ventilation therapy, which involves using a device called a bypass that supplements his oxygen in order to keep his carbon dioxide levels down and help normalize his breathing. His Temple pulmonologist, Gilbert D’Alonzo, DO, made sure he got such a portable ventilation device—which he now uses every night for four or five hours while he sleeps.
Under Dr. D’Alonzo’s care, since that initial hospitalization Ronny has only been hospitalized with breathing difficulties once—which is very rare for someone with such advanced lung disease. Besides using the bypass device, the now 56-year-old completed three dozen pulmonary rehabilitation sessions at Temple. He now exercises regularly at a gym near his home, walking on a treadmill and doing resistance training exercises to strengthen his upper body. At home, he also rides a stationary bike at home and does other exercises he learned at Temple.
Ronny also is one of the founding members of the Temple COPD support group led by nurse practitioner Susan Estreall-Eades, which meets bi-monthly. “When you have breathing problems it’s really good to talk with other people who have similar issues,” he says. “It lets you know you’re not alone.”
Overall, Ronny says,” I feel pretty good“—thanks, he adds, to the Temple Lung Center. “The doctors and the staff are so great,” he says. “It doesn’t seem like a job to them, it seems that they like what they are doing, which is amazing. They all want to you to get better, and that really motivates me and makes me feel good.”