Patient Appreciation: Emerging from Covid-19 with a CHP Tag Team

Aug 10, 2021 | News

CHP Patient isabelle conlon

Isabelle Conlon

The isolation of Covid-19 was hard on Isabelle Conlon. An engineering student at Northeastern University in Boston, she headed home in the spring as the pandemic set in, to live with her parents in Lenox.

She was safe at home with family, but still, Covid tripped an anxiety wire for Isabelle: worry about getting sick, fear of infecting others, overwhelmed at the cascade of bad Covid news, warnings and deaths. The world felt out of control.

10,000 steps wasn’t enough

Isabelle began to overdose on aggressive exercise to feel better. Anything less than 10,000 steps per day was not good enough. Her appetite vanished. Over the months, she shed far too much weight. This wasn’t a lifetime issue–it was new–and somehow was sparked by Covid worry.

Gina Nickels-Nelson

Gina Nickels-Nelson, Nurse Practitioner

Then she had a regular annual physical at CHP Berkshire Pediatrics in Pittsfield. At 21, she was on the cusp of graduating from pediatric care, but not quite, and she’d been a longtime patient at the Pittsfield practice. But her clinician that day was new to her: Gina Nickels-Nelson, pediatric nurse practitioner.

“She didn’t know me, but she took one look at me and read me like a book,” said Isabelle. “It was then that I realized I had a problem. I weighed 90 pounds, and I realized I had to fix this. She took care of me, and she’s been here for me ever since.”

Nickels-Nelson tended to the medical side of Isabelle’s care and referred her to CHP nutritionist, Christina Garner. Chrissy and Isabelle kept as close as possible to a bi-weekly schedule.

Recently, Isabelle returned to Boston to begin an engineering internship, but her two CHP clinicians have kept connected with her via telemedicine. They are helping guide her back to better health, s

Chrissy Garner Photo

Christine Garner, Nutritionist

ensible eating and counseling services in Boston. Her health is improving, her anxiety easing. She’s reaching a healthy weight. She’s found a good counselor through Northeastern University. She loves her job with a Boston start-up company. I

Isabelle was a curious child who always liked to disassemble and reassemble things, figure out how things worked. She loved math and puzzles. So now she’s in her element, balancing a busy job with her desire for healthier behavior. Christine Garner makes time for their appointments at odd hours when Isabella is free from work, and she’s in regular touch with Gina Nickels-Nelson.

Isabelle says she now more fully appreciates the intricate connection between mental and physical health. And she’s experienced the impact of dedicated “tag-teaming” clinicians a hallmark of CHP’s integrated, patient-centered care. And she herself knows even more about reassembling things, including herself.

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