Connie Whitesell, NP
I manage the majority of interstitial cystitis (painful bladder) patients, and I coordinate the voiding dysfunction workups, which are for people who are having trouble emptying their bladders effectively or who are emptying quickly or leaking.
Those are my specialties.
I’m also available to see walk-in and emergency patients, and I do patients’ histories and physical workups for preoperative surgery, plus the urodynamic studies.
My favorite part of this work is solving the puzzle.
Patients come in with a puzzle, because typically they are referred here from primary care, and to solve that puzzle makes them happy. A lot of times, it’s just plain and simple: “Here’s the metabolic analysis on your kidney stone, and this is what you need to do to not make more, but if you do, I’ll be glad to help you.” A lot of what I do is behavior modification, and that’s hard for people. It takes about six weeks to detox a bladder, and caffeine is usually the problem. The doctors call me “The Bladder Nazi.”
I see a lot of people with voiding dysfunctions such as frequency or urgency.
So I ask, “What are you doing? What do you drink in a day? Did you realize that these are irritating things to a bladder, just like a jalapeno is to a sensitive stomach? You need to put the Diet Mountain Dew down.” I tell them, “I know we’re human. Let me give you tools for when you’re human, because I like chocolate, too.” Chocolate is a problem. There’s a lot of caffeine in it.
I want to talk to our patients like family.
I make it a point, even when I’m crazy busy and am limited on time, to tell myself, “That’s your dad. That’s your mom. Break it down. Make sure they got it.” That form of empathy is really important to give to the patient. You feel comfortable in a healthcare practice where people are receptive to your needs. I just don’t feel like it should be any other way, because they are the consumer.