5/02/16

Medical mom uses different skills at marathon

While Maggie Menacher was ready to put her nursing experience to frequent use, it was hardly required.

In 2014, the Illinois Marathon medical crew helped about 350 patients. This year, the finish line emergency team only saw about 30 patients, sending just two to the Emergency Department (ED) for further treatment. Musculoskeletal experts treated about 40 patients for strains and sprains.

Dr. (Brad) Weir said we typically keep about 300 people out of the ED by being at the event and treating patients there,” Menacher said. “If the weather had been nicer, hotter, we know we would have seen a lot of heat exhaustion.

The first-time nurse volunteer and mother of two helped far fewer patients than expected but got a pleasant surprise out of the experience—getting to know Carle coworkers and volunteers from other local facilities.

“I’m a talker, so it was a lot of fun to chit chat,” Menacher said. “We hung out under the Horseshoe. We got to look into Memorial Stadium and see people finishing.

“It was great for camaraderie and great for people watching.”

Chuckles were part of the mix, too. The relatively few runners who needed medical help got plenty of attention.

“It’s the mentality of a nurse to say, ‘Let me work. Let me do this.’ Of course, when people did come in, we had to resist swarming them,” she said with a smile.

Lynn Ullestad, RN, is a veteran of the event, and her pride shows whether or not the team is busy.

“Our physicians and nurses are proud to continue participating as they have for several years,” she said. “We’re there and ready for the health and well-being of our community during one of our community’s biggest events.”

When she volunteers again next year, Menacher will have husband Jeremy bring their kids so they can see what it’s all about. At 10 months, Karsyn didn’t attend because she’s already walking and ready to run.

“She’s our little spitfire,” Menacher said.

Owen, 4, just might follow in his mom’s medical footsteps.

“He knows Mommy goes to work and helps people. He loves coming into work and hanging out,” she said, adding, “He plays with his doctor’s kit often at home, especially when anyone is sick or hurt.”