Having Goals And Knowing Someone Cares


These two things changed the course of a woman’s life

A dislocated shoulder caused Mabel Wortinger to see her primary care physician, Dr. Andrew Kuhn. While she was there, he suspected she had previously had a mild heart attack and referred her to Goshen Heart & Vascular Center. That’s where Mabel met Tracy Carlstrom, RN.

Diagnosed with congestive heart failure, Mabel needed to manage her weight and avoid fluid retention. In January 2017, she was struggling with both. By March, her cardiologist at the time recommended hospice care. But Mabel had other plans. She wanted to live until her 90th birthday – May 9.

Tracy, who was determined to help Mabel, said, “I called her every two weeks at first, then every week. I was not going to let her slip through the cracks.”

During the phone calls, Tracy asks Miss Mabel (as she calls her) if she’s wearing her support hose, if she’s riding the exercise bike, what she’s eating and what her weight is.

“Tracy’s questions make me more aware of things,” Mabel said. “It helps when you have someone looking after you.” Mabel has changed her diet and is exercising more. She eats her large meal at noon and only a small meal in the evening. As a result, she has lost weight and is maintaining in the range her current cardiologist, Dr. Abrar Sayeed, recommends.

“She has also reduced the medication she’s taking – because of the lifestyle changes she’s made,” said Tracy. “She knows someone cares, but she’s done all the work. I’m so proud of her!”

Mabel keeps busy sewing aprons, sock monkeys, toddler’s activity books and denim comforters. She also crochets and makes necklaces. She sells some of her work in the Greencroft gift shop, where she volunteers. She enjoys baking, but now she gives most of her baking away.

“At 90, Mabel is doing the things she loves. She has a bucket list now. Her grandchildren asked if she could go to Arizona this winter – and she did!” Tracy said.

Mabel said, “I’ve been going there every year. My daughter and her husband go to visit their children and grandchildren. I have three great-granddaughters, ages 2, 4 and 6.”