A few years ago, Lucille Walton, 84, was living in Mount Vernon and not feeling especially well. Her husband, Wesley, had died in 2009 and she thought perhaps she was exhausted from taking care of him during his final bout with cancer.
Lucille moved back to the Seattle area in 2010 to a retirement community and enjoyed the many activities offered until her energy began to flag. "I couldn't do a lot of things I had been doing," she remembers. "I thought that maybe it was my age and that there was nothing to be done." Lucille was also losing weight and not sleeping well and the doctors she was seeing were not helping. She asked her daughters to come over and pick out furniture and personal items in case she didn't have long to live.
One of Lucille's daughters is a Virginia Mason nurse and she was having none of that talk. She arranged for Lucille to see a Virginia Mason primary care doctor and, after just one visit, Lucille's health was back on track. "She really listened to me," says Lucille about her doctor, who discovered that Lucille was diabetic. On that very first visit, the doctor and a nurse with advanced training in diabetes talked to Lucille about how, in addition to taking insulin, she needed to watch what she ate. Lucille says, "They both told me, 'we're going to get you well,' and they did!"
“They both told me, 'we're going to get you well,' and they did!”
Lucille followed the advice she was given and began feeling better right away. "Now I feel like I have a whole team taking care of me," says Lucille. "They keep an eye on everything." This past spring, Lucille was feeling so good that she decided to sign up for a walk-a-thon to raise money for a Federal Way nonprofit that helps low-income people in her community.
Even though she's on a walker, Lucille was determined to participate. She trained for weeks, each day going a little farther on the grounds of her retirement facility. When the walk-a-thon happened, her sponsors included the Virginia Mason team taking care of her. "They were helping me again," says Lucille. "That's just the kind of people they are."
Today, Lucille is enjoying outings with two daughters who live nearby and the other three visit as often as they can. "I'm a lucky person," says Lucille, who says she's "thrilled" to be enjoying her life again.