My name is Bobbie Jo DeHaven. I am 24 years old and currently live in Georgetown Delaware. I was born with a disability and have a birth defect called Spina Bifida along with a Neurogenic Bowel and Bladder Disorder and also a Seizure Disorder. For the first 21 years of my life I received health care services from A.I. DuPont Hospital. It might surprise you but I have been in the hospital over 100 times and had about 70+ major surgeries. As the result of numerous infections, I have required over 20 shunt revisions on the shunt that is in my head and have had numerous surgeries on my bladder. I have also had ankle and knee surgeries. Also, I have had revisions done on my Mitrophonoff which is where I catheterize myself and revisions on my Bladder Augmentation. I also have a Cecostomy which is where I give myself enemas.
When I knew I was going to be treated by adult doctors I was scared and angry, because all I ever knew when I became ill was being treated in a Children’s Hospital. The world of adult medicine scared me. I was so afraid that because of my complicated medical history that there would be no doctors able to take care of me. I had a terrible experience with an adult urologist in Dover, Delaware. … When the doctor walked into the room he immediately informed my mom and I that “your medical history is too complicated for us to treat.” … My worst fears were confirmed at this visit-or so I thought … I felt helpless because I didn’t know of any doctor who could or would take care of me when I got sick. To my knowledge there was no one, and I didn’t know what to do.
For a good portion of my life I had difficulty finding the right treatment until…
In August of 2009 I was admitted to A.I. DuPont for the last time before I was turning 21. Into my room walked Dr. Allen Friedland. He was beginning a transition practice at Wilmington Hospital for patients with special needs entering the world of adult medicine. I did not know what to expect. Dr. Friedland told me that he had read all of my medical records and would be able to take me as his patient. He told me not to worry that if he was unable to treat me for a problem I was having he could refer me to the right sources. I know he was sent from God. Meeting Dr. Friedland was an answer to prayer for me and my family.
It has been four years since I have been with the Transition Practice. The doctors and staff have been amazing to me. They have helped me through many ups and downs in the past four years. The staff focuses on your mind, body and spirit. The staff of The Transition Practice has helped me through many issues with My Physical Health and Emotional and Mental Health. I’ve learned “being healthy” involves each of those three parts in harmony with each other. When these things are going well so is your health. I could not ask for a better team of Doctors and Nurses helping me.
I have been asked to speak to patients regarding my transition process. Transitioning to new medical care is a scary time of change. Because of my experiences, I hope that I am able to take away some of the anxiety and fears new patients will have. I hope as time goes on I can play a bigger role in transition for patients going from the world of children’s medicine to the world of adult medicine. Because of what has happened to me, I would like to advocate, volunteer or get a job in this field.