Juanita Bracey was raised on a farm south of Effingham and knows quite a bit about hard work. In fact, she finds the sometimes back-breaking work of gardening and yard work enjoyable and relaxing. Some might say she absolutely lives for it. Juanita is very particular about her property and has spent years manicuring it. She and her husband, Ronnie, have an acre in Dieterich where she cuts the ditches with a push mower and does all of the mowing and trimming.
It’s a lot of work for anyone, but at 74 years old, Juanita does all she can in the yard because that’s her happy place. “It just makes me feel good to be in the yard, tending to flowers and gaining a sense of accomplishment; it’s soothing,” she said, even with sweat on her brow.She wouldn’t be able to do all of this without the help of Pain Specialist Brian Ogan, MD, of SBL Interventional Pain Management. Dr. Ogan periodically treats Juanita’s chronic pain, so she has mobility and a better quality of ife. He offers advanced pain-fighting techniques and expertise to patients to eliminate pain without the use of narcotics and other addictive drugs.
Juanita grew up around pipeline construction. Her father and brothers were pipe liners, and she worked in the pipeline office traveling around the country working wherever the crew was. She swore she’d never marry a pipe liner, but then she met Ronnie and fell in love. Now their sons and grandson are pipe liners too.
She was left with pain in 1999 after a procedure to repair a ruptured disc in her neck. Between arthritis and stenosis (a narrowing of the spaces in the spine), Juanita’s pain eventually grew out of control. “I have a lot a pain in my thoracic area. Much of it comes from overwork,” Juanita explained. Her son, Ron Jr., recommended Dr. Ogan to her. “He [Dr. Ogan] explains everything to you in words you can understand and shows you on MRI films whether he can help you. He really fixed me up through injections,” she said. “He took care of my pain. I was very impressed with him right away.”
As the sole caretaker of her husband, who has a degenerative eye disease, she continually pushes herself to do as much as she can. “There aren’t as many flowerbeds and landscaped areas as I would like, but I couldn’t keep up with it all. My knee isn’t good either, so I use a stool to more easily reach the flowerbeds. I manage,” she explained.
Having been treated by Dr. Ogan for more than 23 years now, Juanita considers him, not only her doctor, but her friend. “He’s a wonderful man. He helps me feel very relaxed and makes sure I feel better,” she said. “If he can’t fix you, then he’ll refer you to someone else. He’s a fine doctor.”She admitted, “I usually wait as long as I can before I go back for an injection to help the pain, and Dr. Ogan will always ask me why I waited so long to come in!”
After 53 years of marriage, Juanita says her caretaking abilities are a gift from God. “I raised my sons while Ronnie was on the road and after they graduated from high school, I left home to be with him. I love to take care of people; I just didn’t think I’d be taking care of my husband. It’s a hard life, but God is watching over me and helping me,” she added.
For more information about SBL Interventional Pain Management, call 217 347-2332. Dr. Ogan works with Advanced Practice Provider Melissa Paholke, APRN. Their office is located in the SBL Bonutti Clinic at 1303 West Evergreen in Effingham.