Thrive by IU Health

November 14, 2022

Infusion patient popular at White Memorial

IU Health White Memorial Hospital

Infusion patient popular at White Memorial

He knows his blood type. Once it is drawn for labs, he knows how to roll the vials to keep it in the best shape for testing.

Everyone on the team knows how to make his drink—ice, coffee then coffee mate.

He is popular with the team at IU Health White Memorial Hospital. They like his jokes.

“He has a new one every time he comes to see us,” shares Marlene Byroad, medical assistant in infusion services.

Once a month, John Neumann starts his day with Melissa Biddle, lab assistant. She needs to get blood samples to ensure he is ready for his infusion treatments.

John Neumann with Melissa Biddle
Melissa Biddle takes blood samples from John Neumann

“Melissa is extremely important,” explains Neumann. “She is the collector of data. She is questioning and evaluating everything to ensure that I am ready.”

Neumann is retired. His career was in measurement sciences. He worked with Sun Chemical Corporation, a global multi-national corporation, training staff around the world. He was the lead auditor for ISO 9001 Standards, ensuring that local supplies and local teams around the world made the same quality products, no matter their location. He took data and created algorithms to ensure the labs were performing the same methods which ensures quality, technologies and protocols. Neumann has capabilities in several languages and holds multiple patents in developmental of instrumentation. He is a senior statistician in the American Society of Quality.

Many years ago, he ended up in the intensive care unit. His body was essentially shutting down as it reacted adversely to statin medications taken for cardiology issues. He rehabbed at Home Hospital in Lafayette for several months so he could return to work. Within two years his system was shutting down again.

Michael Lockwood, MD, FARC, (now retired) was the one who finally diagnosed him with necrotizing autoimmune myopathy (NAM). The condition is characterized by signs of necrosis, or cell death, in the muscles, which causes weakness and fatigue. There is no known cure. Monthly infusions can successfully manage symptoms and now have become a way of life for Neumann.

Treatment includes high-dose corticosteroids and administration of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) including premeditations to prevent infusion reactions.

Being a statistician, Neumann reads the detailed paperwork provided with each treatment. He keeps track of every infusion and his reaction so he knows what to look for when things start to change.

For example, he knows he needs the name brand Privigen®—nothing can be substituted. There is an ingredient missing in the generic versions, and without it, his system starts to degrade.

Neumann has been receiving monthly infusions for the past 20 years. He was receiving them at IU Health Arnett Cancer Center in Lafayette but in 2019, he realized he could transfer his care to IU Health White Memorial Hospital which is a tad closer to his home in Delphi.

Neumann’s infusions are two days in a row every 28 days. The first day of infusions takes longer due to the blood draws, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. Day two is a little shorter 9:30 am – 3:30 pm.

“The team at both the Lafayette and Monticello locations are phenomenal,” reports Neumann. “I recognize the greatness of the hematology team. I have taught hundreds of people over the course of my career—you can recognize the characteristics. No team has the capabilities, the compassion, the drive that can match the hematology teams at both Arnett and White Memorial.”

John Neumann with Heidi Jordan
Heidi Jordan, infusion nurse prepares John Neumann for infusion therapy

Neumann also appreciates the maintenance of the parking areas and sidewalks at IU Health White Memorial and reports it is impeccable. He can park close during the snow and ice without worry.

Before he figured out his specific need for Privigen®, his treatments were debilitating, and it would take three team members to help him get in and out of his truck. He knows exactly how many steps there are from his truck to the treatment area and back to his truck at IU Health White Memorial. How easily he can make that walk is how he judges how well he is doing.

“Every day is a gift,” shares Neumann. “I wouldn’t be here without God, my wife, Dr. Lockwood and this team. Heidi is an earth angel. She has the knowledge, efficiency—rechecking, rechecking to get everything right.”

“He takes a special interest in the nurses and the effort they put forward,” explains Heidi Jordan, infusion nurse at White Memorial. “It just touches my heart. He brings us chocolates, roses, etc.”

John Neumann flowers for Heidi Jordan
John Neumann likes to shower the infusion team with flowers and chocolates

Neumann is also a fan of the food at White Memorial, sharing that it tastes so good. It gets delivered to his room with a smile. “The presentation—it all alludes to care. A human being prepared this for me with care,” shares Neumann.

It is important for our patients to be able to get the care they need, close to home. Did you know IU Health White Memorial is offering expanded infusions services? The dedicated space will not only increase comfort and convenience for patients but provide a much-needed service for White County. To schedule an infusion appointment at IU Health White Memorial, call 765.838.6885.

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