Jodie Wensmann

Jodie Wensmann

Jodie Wensmann feels grateful, deep down.

Jodie came to the Emergency Department with severe abdominal pain. She had diverticulitis, and sepsis from a hole in her colon. She needed surgery, right away. Unless . . . antibiotics could quell the deadly septic infection, and her colon could heal somewhat before surgery to repair it. That way, Jodie could avoid having an ostomy bag for a year while recovering from surgery. 

Instead of transferring Jodie, NH+C’s general surgeons hospitalized her and began a strong antibiotics regimen.   

“The surgeons were awesome; they got it under control,” Jodie recalls. Surgery was postponed for months, letting Jodie’s colon heal so that surgery to remove a section of her colon could be done in one stage, without an ostomy. Then, a colonoscopy confirmed the extent of disease from diverticulitis, an infection of pouches that form in the intestines. Surgeons Jose Fulco, MD and Ashley Marek, MD performed a sigmoid resection, removing about 10 inches of Jodie’s colon.  

“Dr. Marek is phenomenal,” Jodie says. “She takes the time to explain things. I had a lot of questions, and she never got frustrated and was never in a hurry. She was so patient, and truthful.” 

Dr. Marek helped Jodie’s husband, too. He has “white coat syndrome” – anxiety around doctors that raises the blood pressure. “I tried to make him stay away from the hospital so he wouldn’t get nervous,” Jodie explains. “Dr. Marek helped make him more comfortable. She genuinely cares.” 

Caring for her family was a priority for Jodie: “I absolutely wanted to be at Northfield Hospital, because it’s better for my husband and kids than going to a huge hospital in the Cities,” Jodie says. “Northfield Hospital is so easy for family to visit that it can be low-key and not scary for my kids. I wanted to make sure it was an okay experience for them.” 

Jodie donated a kidney to her brother years ago, and “it was an ordeal going up to a big medical center in the Cities,” she recalls. “Some of these country boys do not like going north of the river.” 

When Dr. Fulco retired, the transition of Jodie’s care “felt seamless, because Dr. Marek knew everything that was going on,” Jodie says. “I had such respect for Dr. Fulco for keeping me at Northfield Hospital, and then making this very smooth transition.” 

Two and a half years after her surgery, Jodie chose Dr. Marek to perform a follow up colonoscopy. “I’m the only person who’s ever been excited to have a colonoscopy,” she laughs. “I just don’t want to go through diverticulitis again. It starts so slowly, and you don’t realize how sick you are, and how tired.” (She got a clean bill of health.) 

Jodie’s advice? “Listen to your doctors. And recognize what we have here. Some people think bigger is better, but we have amazing doctors here in Northfield.” 

For everyone in the family.