Godwin Fey Speaks about the journey that led him to his position as Pawhuska Hospital Administrator

(L-R) Carol Crews, Rotarian of the Day, Eddy Red Eagle, Jr., Rotary Club President, Godwin Fey, Pawhuska Hospital Administrator, Cindy Tillman, Director of Outpatient Services, Cohesive Healthcare

By: Roseanne McKee

Godwin Fey was the guest speaker at the Pawhuska Rotary Club recently where he spoke about the journey that led him his present position as Pawhuska Hospital’s Administrator. He was asked to speak by Carol Crews, who was Rotarian of the Day.

Fey, who hails from the country of Cameroon in the Western part of the African continent, grew up the son of a school principal and the youngest of six children.
He connects with rural Oklahoma in part because of his own rural upbringing.

“I spent a lot of time with my grandmother on the farm and learned to cook and to farm,” Fey explained.

When he was young, he sold oranges grown on the farm, and brought the money home and put some of that toward his tuition.

Fey came to the U.S. on an education visa in 2003 to attend Hillsdale Freeway Baptist College in Moore on a soccer scholarship.

After two years, he transferred to Oklahoma State University, where he earned an associate’s degree. Thereafter, he began working two jobs as a certified nursing assistant to pay for the balance of his undergraduate education at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Fey moved to Shawnee, Okla., which he felt represented America.

While living in Shawnee, Fey earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration, met and married his wife, and the two began exploring what he described as his “American Dream” to open a business selling uniforms.

His wife, who is also a nurse, now runs that business, which continues to grow and prosper.

He became a U.S. citizen recently and is very grateful for what the United States offers.

“If people were to leave for one year, they would appreciate their citizenship,” Fey told Rotarians.

In 2016, Fey accepted a position at Cohesive Healthcare, a management and consulting company based in Edmond, Okla. They placed him in a position at Pawhuska Hospital as the Administrator.

Since taking the position as hospital administrator, he’s had to make some tough, yet fair decisions, he said.

“We’ve been very blessed and we feel like we’re making an impact,” he said. “Last year we invested $150,000 in new hospital beds. We’ve changed the flooring and had central heat and air installed.”

“The hospital staff is like a family. I’ve never been somewhere that people work together so well. One thing I’m very proud of is the quality of employees we have. We pay competitive wages at Pawhuska Hospital — comparable to what is paid in Tulsa and Oklahoma City,” he added.

In all he does, Fey draws from the base of moral and ethical support that he was taught as a child and tries to “not miss the opportunity to learn and to teach.”

Pawhuska Dentist shares startling relationship between dental health and disease transmission

By: Roseanne McKee

Dr. Adam Bulleigh, from Green County Dental Arts of Pawhuska, spoke recently about tooth decay, a new approach to fighting it and startling revelations about dental health’s relationship to disease transmission.

Dr. Bulleigh told the Pawhuska Rotary Club audience that there is a direct relationship between a person’s stomach bacteria, and their dental health.

“The new paradigm is that in your body you’re growing a garden, and the fertilizer you use will determine how much of each species you have.”

According to Dr. Bulleigh, the recommendation now is to get less than ten percent of daily calories from sugar and the ideal diet is about 80 percent plants.

“That makes me kind of cry a little bit inside,” he said jokingly.

“One thing that changed my mind about this, was a study about rats, which found that the rats without gut bacteria, could not think as well. They couldn’t go through mazes as quickly, they couldn’t solve problems, they didn’t take care of their offspring as well,” Bulleigh explained.

“In our body, we actually have more bacteria than human cells, so it’s really that we’re symbiotic beings. We live with the bacteria. Changing the bacteria in your mouth changes your brain and how you think, so that being said, your diet is what’s feeding that.”

Tooth decay is just the first visible symptom of a high-sugar diet, Dr. Bulleigh said.

“One thing that happens when you have a high-sugar diet, they find that 80 – 90 percent of the bacteria in there are good at breaking down sugar, which makes sense, right? If you’re healthy, and you eat sugar, you won’t be able to absorb as much sugar as someone who eats sugar all the time, so once we get a little overweight, our gut gets good at extracting even more calories from sugary foods. The bacteria that live on healthier stuff, they start to die off,” he said.

There is some good news, however, for those with a habit of eating a low-sugar diet. For these people, eating sugar occasionally may not result in weight gain because their gut bacteria is healthier, and not able to efficiently extract calories from the sugars ingested, Dr. Bulleigh explained.

“In your own life, don’t rely on your willpower. Build an environment around yourself, and your kids, where [the food] you reach for at arms length is good.”

Consider placing a fresh fruit bowl at eye level in your refrigerator, rather than hidden in the bottom in a drawer. Don’t buy high sugar foods, so that they are not in your pantry at snack time.

“With sugar, specifically, it’s worth noting what a serving size is, and for something like ice cream just having a serving size, which is one-half a cup.

This is not just for those seeking to lose weight or be in shape, he said.

What we eat is “radically altering the balance of life that lives in your stomach….If you kill all the good stuff and the only thing that survives is the bad stuff, then every time you eat, there’s an impact,” Dr. Bulleigh said.

“Meat is good. We need protein, but not as much as most people eat.”

Quoting a gastroenterologist, Dr. Bulleigh said, “’the unbalanced makeup of gut microbes no longer represent the well-diversified ecosystem that regulates your immunity. It fosters inflammation loosening tight junctions that hold together cells in your intestinal lining. This causes bacterial toxins to seep out into the body where they act on our genes and promote further unhealthy inflammatory responses.’”

Another startling fact, he revealed is that “the bacteria in your mouth is a transmittable disease.”

“When you are born as a little baby, your mouth is sterile. The first time your mom kisses you, you get bacteria. If your mother or father have healthy bacteria in their mouth, then the bacteria in your mouth will be pretty healthy. But when I see a child with teeth like that (he shows a slide of a child with tooth decay), I can almost guarantee you that the mother has periodontal disease. The bacteria in the mother’s mouth are stronger and do more damage.

“What’s happening in medicine is we’re moving away from this idea of individual treatment. It’s more of a public health thing because you can try to treat a 14-year-old child, whose parents and uncle is obese. Can you really treat that child without treating the whole family? You can’t. Diet is now becoming more and more important.”

He explained that in dental school now they are having nutritionists come in so that graduates can provide some nutrition counseling to tell patients why decay is happening.

Dr. Bulleigh showed a slide of a child’s decayed teeth.

“This child is 2-3 years old. It’s possible this child is brushing and flossing every day, but the problem is the sugar. What you’re seeing is the human body was only meant to take so much of certain things.

“These kids are brushing their teeth – a lot of them. Four-minutes a day brushing your teeth, twice a day can’t compete with six hours of bathing your teeth in sugar. I can fix cavities, but six months later they’re bigger, they grow. If I fix this, what you’ll see after about a month between the plastic and the tooth is a crater, it’s already started to decay again.

“Believe it or not, working on a three-year-old is not the most fun thing for anybody involved. Of course, you can always put them in the hospital, put a child under general anesthesia, but the average cost of [this type of] pediatric dental case is $8,000.

“Sugar has been a part of the American diet that has grown and grown. One problem we created is that we were told for 30 years that fat was bad, so those ingredients were replaced with sugar. People continued to gain weight.

“Every state in the union has at least 15 percent of people who are obese. In Oklahoma thirty percent of the population is obese.

“Over the past 50 years, the dentist would tell parents just to make sure the child brushed and flossed his teeth. However, the dentist would not warn against sugar intake,” he said, but that is changing.

These days, “the pediatricians know now to say no juice in the bottles at night; no juice in the sippy cups. So, everyone’s on board…but what I think is going to change in the future is the politics of this.”

Dr. Bulleigh forecasts the growing possibility of a tax on sugar to promote public. “Sugar and big soda companies aren’t going to like it, but the data is prevalent,” he said, and suggests the need for change.

What are Super Foods and do they Taste Good?

By: Roseanne McKee

Recently, two specialists at Navitas Naturals held a webinar to provide information about what super foods are with suggestions about how to add them to our diets.

According to the Navitas Naturals website, a super food is “a nutrient-dense fruit or vegetable that contains a high content of anti-oxidents, protein, omega-3, minerals, fiber or other essential nutrients.”

Mullin emphasized that super foods are those which are not genetically modified (non-GMO), native sourced and minimally processed.

Describing the super foods they sell, Navitas product specialist Arthur Mullin said, “these foods have been honored in cultures around the world for centuries.”

The first super food that Julie Morris, who creates recipes for Navitas Naturals, introduced was cacao nibs, which she said were similar in flavor to a chocolate-covered espresso bean. Although not sweet themselves, Morris said cacao nibs can easily be incorporated into sweet baked goods.
“They have a crunch which adds a textural element,” she said. “They also add a spark or zest as a topping to cakes or ice cream.”

Cacao in powder form is also a great substitute for cocoa, said Mullin. Cacao powder is made by cold-pressing cacao nibs and then processing them at a low temperature. This low temperature processing, preserves the nutrients, Mullin said.

“You can switch out cacao powder on a one-to-one ratio replacement for cocoa in recipes,” Morris said. “Anywhere you use cocoa powder, you can use cacao powder.”

Morris also recommends cacao in savory recipes such as chili or molé sauce.

Her favorite super food is chia, which is sold in seed form and as a powder. High in fiber, chia is rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Chia’s ratio of these fatty acids is a three to one ratio, which promotes certain kinds of health, she explained.
Mullin said: “Chia attracts and absorbs moisture, ten times its weight in water, so it’s a good source of gentle fiber.”

Chia in water produces a gel that has culinary applications.
“Because of the jelling properties, the chia seeds, by adding water for 15 minutes, become a textural treat,” Morris said. They act as a flavor carrier, adding texture to guacamole, pudding, sauces, jelly and classic chia fresca – a Mexican drink.

Among chia’s benefits are that chia seed are low in calories, have virtually no flavor, and just a handful give you the nutritional benefits, Morris explained.

“They’re also good in cereal, soups and yogurt,” Mullin said.

Another super food is goji berries, sundried and ready to eat or available as a freeze-dried powder. Rich in iron and calcium, these mildly sweet berries from China are the subject of folklore and mythology, Mullin said.
“They look like little red raisins with a tart, sweet taste,” Morris said. They are good in muffins, oatmeal, smoothies and as a hot tea. “Goji berries are a natural companion to cacao,” Mullin said.

Morris: “In savory recipes, after hydrated in water, they are somewhat like tomatoes, so they are good in salsa and add color to recipes.”

At his company, the goji berries sold have no additives, pollutants, are non-GMO and are third party tested to ensure they are organic,” Morris added.

Another super food, Maca, is Mullin’s favorite super food. “It was our first product and is still a cornerstone product, offered in a gelatinous form and dry.”
At Navita Naturals, maca is processed using low temperatures to preserve its nutrients, Mullins said.

Mullin: “It is native to Peru and Bolivia and grows there exclusively in conditions of high temperatures to 135 degrees and below zero in nutrient scarce soil. It contains amino acids that support our endocrine system and balance or hormone system – stress and sex hormones.”

Morris: “Raw maca powder has a stronger flavor. As a chef, I absolutely adore it … it has a flavor you can’t hide, so you have to either celebrate it or not use it.”

Describing maca’s flavor Morris said, “imagine something earthy with notes of carrot, radish and butterscotch.”

As such maca has flavor friends and flavor enemies. According to Morris, maca’s flavor enemies are: fresh fruit, peaches, apples and leafy greens.

Morris: “Maca’s flavor friends are other types of roots: carrots, tubers, yams and sweet potatoes, which bring out the butterscotch flavor we love. I love using maca in baked recipes. It goes well with grains, carmel flavors and chocolate. One fruit maca goes with is banana, so it’s good in smoothies with banana and cacao. It’s really a phenomenal flavor!”

Mullin said, “super food snacks (seeds and nuts) paired with the super foods are a great way to be introduced to these super foods.”

Mullin concluded by suggesting: “try to know the story of your food, its source its history; try being mindful of just how special these foods are!”

Visit their website to learn more at http://www.navitasnaturals.com.

Hull Ranch holds Fundraiser to Raise Awareness of Under-diagnosed Condition called Porphyria

By: Roseanne McKee

(L-R) American Porphyria Foundation Founder/Executive Director, Desiree Lyon, and Mary Hull at the fundraiser event hosted by Hull Ranch on April 11 near Pawhuska.

(L-R) American Porphyria Foundation Founder/Executive Director, Desiree Lyon, and Mary Hull at the fundraiser event hosted by Hull Ranch on April 11 near Pawhuska.

On April 11, Hull Ranch hosted a fundraiser lunch with a silent auction as part of the kick-off of a horseback ride cross-country at night dubbed “the Shadow Ride” to bring awareness to a the disease porphyria. The event’s proceeds went to the American Porphyria Foundation, whose founder, Desiree Lyon, attended the event. The Dustin Pittsley Band provided the entertainment and there were trail rides and bouncy-houses for the kids.

The Hull Ranch fundraiser was hosted by Mary and Tom Hull, whose daughter, Dr. Lisa Kehrberg, a primary care physician in the Chicago area, was diagnosed with an acute type of porphyria in Sept. 2013.

The fundraiser’s purpose is two-fold: to raise funds for porphyria research and to bring attention to the disorders to increase proper and prompt diagnosis, which can be identified through a simple blood and urine tests.

Approximately 2,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with a porphyria annually, Dr. Kehrberg said. There are eight distinct types of porphyria each with its own set of signs and symptoms. Some types of porphyria create skin sensitivity to light, called cutaneous.

Michelle MacMeeken suffers from this type, called EPP (erythropoietic proptoporphyria). For this reason, her husband, Scott MacMeeken decided to ride horseback across the U.S. at night, called “The Shadow Ride” to bring attention to the underdiagnosed conditions.

Porphyrias are considered an uncommon genetic disorders according to Dr. Sylvia Bottomley, M.D. an expert on prophyria who attended the fundraiser and specializes in Internal Medicine and Hematology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, where she is an Emeritus Professor.

The symptoms of the type of porphyria from which Dr. Kehrberg suffers are: severe abdominal pain, weakness and numbness, back pain, leg pain, fast heart rate, high blood pressure, respiratory and muscle weakness. Now age 40, Dr. Kehrberg had her first attack in her teens, and has suffered from the disorder for 22 years. Her diagnosis only came recently, however.

Delayed diagnosis is typical, Dr. Bottomley said. “This is why awareness is important because I think porphyria is one of these things that patients take to their doctor and they are not aware,” Dr. Kehrberg said.

Dieting and stress are triggers. Dr. Kehrberg said an attack began after her brother died unexpectedly. She had also been dieting during this time.

“By the time I got the diagnosis, I was going to die or get diagnosed,” she said. “A year and a half ago, I got really sick and ended up hospitalized [in the Chicago area] with all of those symptoms. This was like severe, severe abdominal pain and high blood pressure.

“The first hospital did not recognize it despite multiple tests … and then they discharged me; but I went home and after a few hours I went right to another hospital after that.” She was properly diagnosed at the second hospital, but the effects of the disorder have been life-changing.

“I can’t work now because I’m too sick,” Dr. Kehrberg said. “I’ve had a continuous attack since this happened. Every day I’m in an attack. I feel bad right now. It’s terrible. I have medication I take, but I’m not comfortable at all. It’s worse than labor actually.”

The usual triggers for attacks are: not eating, many medications, hormones and alcohol, Dr. Kehrberg said.

Porphyrias are enzyme deficiencies in the metabolic pathway that makes heme, which Dr. Bottomley describes as “defects passed down from one or both parents – thus genetic abnormalities.”

Kehrberg, said she had inherited porphyria from her biological father’s side of the family. (She is Mary Hull’s daughter from a previous marriage, adopted by Tom Hull.) There were a number of people from that branch of the family tree who died from porphyria before the current treatment was developed, she explained.

“If you are not diagnosed, you can die from porphyria,” Dr. Kehrberg explained. Porphyria can also cause mental confusion and even coma, Dr. Bottomley added.

“Porphyrias began being diagnosed around 1900,” Dr. Bottomley said. “Now we have this hem-therapy, for about 40 years. We give it to patients with acute porphyrias to counteract the effects of the metabolic blocks caused by enzyme deficiencies.”

It is not a cure, however. “It’s only supportive treatment. About a dozen patients with very severe porphyria have been cured by liver transplantation,” she said. “Genetic defects might be cured by putting new genes in and no gene therapy has yet been accomplished in humans,” Dr. Bottomley explained.

“About 90 percent of the people who have an acute intermittent porphyria defect, a PBG deaminase deficiency, never have a complaint in their life. It’s only about ten percent who express it and have symptoms.”

For the ten percent who do experience symptoms, almost always the triggers mentioned bring on acute attacks of the condition. Dr. Bottomley said.

“In the case of alcohol abuse, you can’t manage a patient who drinks. That is because alcohol is metabolized in the liver and the acute porphyria enzyme defects are expressed in the liver. It is here where PBG and ANA accumulated that are toxic to the nervous system.Our nervous system controls motor, autonomic, sensory and brain functions.” Any or all of these functions can be affected.

Glucose (carbohyrdrates) consumption can reduce symptoms of porphyria, Dr. Kehrberg said.

Dr. Bottomley concurred: “we understand the glucose effect because the first enzyme in making the making of heme, called ALAS, is controlled by glucose at the gene level… if you starve, you may get a porphyria attack because that enzyme got induced.”

Dr. Bottomley described how she came to specialize in porphyria: “It began with a patient who had anemia during my residency,” Dr. Bottomley said. “Her hemoglobin was very down; I gave her Vitamin B6 and her numbers soared to normal. That got me started to figure out why that would be. It has to do with heme-biosynthesis, because vitamin B6 is essential for the ALAS enzyme. I found that in some anemias this enzyme is affected in red blood cells.That’s how I got into heme-synethesis research and gravitated into hematology.”

Being in hematology caused her to pay attention to related conditions. She began her career in 1961, she said. “In those days, my lab was the first in the state of Oklahoma to also measure the iron and Vitamin B12 levels in the blood of patients.

Dr. Bottomley said: “To learn about heme-synthesis for my research of refractory anemias, in 1962 I went to the University of Minnesota to study under Dr. C. J. Watson, who was the ‘father of porphyrias’ in the United States.”

Dr. Watson has since passed on, but Dr. Bottomley said, she learned many valuable skills in his porphyria lab, which she then used to diagnose patients with porphyria in Oklahoma over the years.

To conclude, Dr. Bottomley explained that while the causes of all porphyria are now clear at the DNA level by a host of mutations affecting the enzymes of heme-biosynthesis, much research is needed in the field.

“We still don’t understand completely how the toxic buildup of ALA and PGB in acute porphyrias cause the symptoms.Importantly also, the treatment of most porphyrias remains supportive and sometimes not helpful unless the drastic measure of a liver transplant is undertaken.”

To donate to the American Porphyria Foundation, write to: American Porphyria Foundation, 4900 Woodway, Suite 780, Houston, TX 77056.

To learn more about the condition, visit their website: http://www.porphyriafoundation.com.

Short Fitness Center in Pawuska has exercise equipment and a heated pool. Memberships start for as little as $20 per month!

Short Fitness Center Asst. Manager Diane Todd and Manager Matt Tonubbee

The Short Fitness Center in Pawhuska, owned by the City of Pawhuska, is open from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays for those 18 and older to help Pawhuskans get in shape!

Manager Matt Tonubbee, who is a NESTA (National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association) certified trainer, has been working in the field since 1994, and has been on staff since 2003. His hours are 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays. His Assistant Manager Diane Todd is at the Center 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

The Center, which is open to the public, costs just $20 per month for equipment room, or indoor pool privileges, or $30 for both. Tonubbee and Todd are available to help members achieve their fitness goals.

“When people join, we show them how to use everything in here. If they want more specifics about what to do, they come to me,” Tonubbee said.

The equipment room has a variety of machines for cardiovascular training including: Two treadmills, two Schwinn Airdyne bicycles, two eliptical machines, two Nu-Steps (sit-down steppers) and one stair climber.

For strength training there are: a large, multi-station Yukon machine and a Bowflex machine.

The equipment is set up facing a large, flat-scree television, which provides entertainment while members exercise. “The television is available on a first-come, first-serve basis as long as the station chosen doesn’t offend anyone,” Tonubbee explained.

The Center shares its restroom/shower with the outdoor city pool facility. The restrooms are heated and the temperatures in those areas are comfortable except on the coldest days, Tonubbee said.

Although the Center does not have lockers, the pool area does have baskets to hold personal items. Members are responsible for safekeeping items they bring on premises.

In the pool area, which is heated at 85 degrees, there are dumbbells and barbells for strength training. Inside the pool is a self-propelled treadmill. The pool is not a lap-style, but there are times during the day when traffic is slow enough that people can do laps, Tonubbee said. The pool’s depth ranges from 3.5 feet in the shallow end to 4.5 feet in the deep end.

The pool offers a way to exercise muscles with reduced strain on joints. “The clientelle that uses our pool typically have lower extremity issues whether it be arthiritis or joint pain,” Tonubbee explained.

Previously, the Short Fitness Center was owned and operated by the Pawhuska Hospital. However, to conserve the hospital’s budget, the ownership and operation of the Center was turned over to the city of Pawhuska on July 1, 2005.

The Pawhuska Hospital continues to provide acquatic physical therapy at the indoor pool as part of its services to patients of its Physical Therapy Department.

The Center does not offer acquatic or floor exercise classes currently, but would if there were enough interest, Tonubbee said.

Membership is offered on a month-to-month basis or at a daily rate of $5, so members can try out the facilities without making a long-term financial commitment. The Center has 65-70 members currently and is taking new members.

In addition, there are key cards, which provide 24-hour access to the Center. All of the 190 key cards have been issued at present, but members can be placed on a key-card waiting list. Tonubbee routinely requests the return of key cards not being used, so they can be made available to other members, he said.

City of Pawhuska employees receive free memberships and key cards, while family members pay the regular membership fees.

The Center offers a peaceful, friendly atmosphere in which to get in shape. “A large portion of the clientelle are over 50,” Tonubbee said. However, “We’ve started getting younger people in the past ten years,” he added. The Center is open to the public 18 and older.

For more information stop by the Center or call 918-287-1681.