Raulerson Hospital
We are a 100-bed acute care facility providing a full range of medical and surgical services. We have been serving the Okeechobee and surrounding communities for more than 30 years.

Examining the Symptoms and Treatments of Appendicitis

Appendicitis is a serious medical condition that requires emergency care. It refers to the inflammation of the appendix, which is a small structure attached to the large intestine. If you experience symptoms that may indicate appendicitis, it’s important to get to the ER as soon as possible. Undergoing prompt treatment for appendicitis at Raulerson Hospital can reduce the risk that the appendix will rupture.


The onset of symptoms is generally rapid for patients with appendicitis. Perhaps the most noticeable symptom is pain, which tends to start in the belly button area. Patients might report mild discomfort at first; however, the pain tends to become quite severe. Patients often describe the pain as feeling “sharp.” Within about 12 to 24 hours, the pain may migrate to the right-hand lower abdominal area and it may worsen with sudden movements such as coughing. Later, patients may experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hard stools. Fever, chills, and shaking are other possible symptoms.

Treatment Options

When patients arrive at the emergency care department with possible symptoms of appendicitis, the physician can perform a physical exam, blood test, and imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. If the physician determines that it is difficult to confirm the diagnosis, patients may be kept at the hospital for monitoring for six to 12 hours. They are typically given antibiotics. If the symptoms do not improve and surgery is indicated, then the patient can expect to undergo an appendectomy. This is a surgery to remove the appendix. Patients are placed under general anesthesia before the surgeon carefully detaches the appendix and removes it. Generally, appendectomies are performed on an outpatient basis. However, if the patient’s appendix has already ruptured or if other complications occurred, the patient may need to stay at the hospital for a while.

The Surgical Services Department at Raulerson Hospital provides minimally invasive general surgery in Okeechobee, FL, including laparoscopic appendectomy. You can visit our website to learn more about our high-quality healthcare, including our outpatient services. Or, call (863) 763-9228 to speak to a registered nurse 24/7.

Improve Your Sleep with Healthy Sleep Hygiene

If you’ve been struggling to get a good night’s sleep, you probably already know that sleep disorders can reduce your quality of life. But did you know that sleep deprivation can also lead to serious medical problems and safety hazards? Without proper sleep, you may be more likely to end up in the emergency care department because of your impaired ability to drive. You might also require emergency care for medical conditions such as stroke, since sleep disorders can place you at risk of cardiovascular problems. Improving your sleep hygiene may help you get the rest you need. Consider obtaining medical help at the Sleep Disorders Laboratory of Raulerson Hospital.

Follow a Sleep Schedule

If you keep irregular hours, you may be more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation. Try to follow a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends. Go to bed at a time that allows you to get at least seven hours of sleep and wake up at the same time each morning. However, there is an exception to this general rule of thumb. If you aren’t yet sleepy at bedtime, don’t try to force yourself to fall asleep.

Evaluate Your Bedtime Habits

Certain habits may keep you awake at night well past your bedtime. Try to limit your exposure to light in the evenings; this includes light from the TV and other electronic devices. Instead, find a relaxing activity to enjoy in the evening, such as yoga. Avoid eating a large meal late in the evening and try to avoid stimulants, including caffeine and nicotine. It’s also advisable to avoid alcohol. Although alcohol may make you drowsy, it will actually disrupt your sleep cycles and contribute to sleep deprivation.

Modify Your Bedroom

Make sure your bedroom is fully dark. Purchase blackout curtains and avoid using an alarm clock with illuminated numbers. Keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temperature can also help you fall asleep faster.

The specialists at the Sleep Disorders Laboratory in Okeechobee, FL, provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services to help you get the healthy sleep you need. At Raulerson Hospital, we firmly believe in combining exceptional, patient-focused healthcare and state-of-the-art medical technology with a personal touch. To speak with a registered nurse about our hospital services, call (863) 763-9228 at any time.

A Look at Post-Stroke Physical Therapy

Stroke is a major cause of disability in the U.S. Receiving emergency care as quickly as possible after the onset of stroke offers patients the best chance at survival, yet long-term physical and cognitive disabilities may still occur. Post-stroke rehabilitation, such as physical therapy, is designed to help stroke survivors regain their independence and adapt to new ways of completing tasks. At Raulerson Hospital, stroke survivors can work with physical therapists, speech pathologists, and other rehabilitation professionals.

Positioning and Transfers

Initially, a physical therapist is likely to focus on helping patients make safe transfers from the bed to a chair and from a seated to a standing position. Patients can also expect to learn how to position themselves safely when in a seated or prone position, such as with the use of slings and foam wedges. Proper positioning can help stroke survivors address muscle spasms, stiffness, and similar problems.

Motor Imagery and Mental Practice

Another technique that physical therapists use with stroke survivors doesn’t actually involve physical movement. Motor imagery and mental practice helps to stimulate the part of the brain that is responsible for physical movement control. Patients use this technique to mentally rehearse performing movements of the limbs, hands, and feet. This can help patients acquire control of physical movements.

Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy

It’s common for stroke survivors to suffer from decreased strength on one side of the body. With constraint-induced movement therapy, patients can rebuild movement control and strength on the weakened side of the body. It involves the placement of a sling or similar device on the stronger arm, which reminds patients to use the weaker arm to practice task completion.

Partial Body Weight Support

Partial body weight support involves the use of an overhead suspension system and harness, which supports some of the patient’s weight as he or she walks on a treadmill. This technique helps patients gradually regain their strength, coordination, balance, and posture. The physical therapist progressively reduces the percentage of body weight support as the patient improves.

Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation in Okeechobee, FL, is available at Raulerson Hospital. Our community hospital provides a continuum of care for stroke patients—from emergency care to follow-up to rehabilitation. If you think you could be suffering a stroke, please call 911 for rapid transportation to the emergency department. Otherwise, call (863) 763-9228 to speak to a registered nurse 24/7.

Recognizing the Signs of Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a women’s health issue that affects the uterine lining, which is called the endometrium. Normally, the endometrial tissue is only found within the uterus. When a woman has endometriosis; however, endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus. This tissue may be present at the ovaries, fallopian tubes, pelvic ligaments, and other structures. Women who suspect they may have symptoms caused by endometriosis can find compassionate women’s health services at Raulerson Hospital.


The endometrium is naturally expelled each month during menstruation. Even when endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, it still responds to the monthly cycle by swelling, breaking down, and bleeding. However, the tissue cannot exit the body through the vagina. The result is an increase in pain during the beginning of menses and the later part of the menstrual cycle. Women with endometriosis often report excessively painful menstrual cramps, chronic lower back and pelvic pain, and intestinal pain. Endometriosis commonly causes pain during or after intercourse and it may result in painful urination or bowel movements during menstruation.

Menstrual Abnormalities

In addition to the excessive pain during menstrual cycles, endometriosis can result in menstrual abnormalities. Some women may notice bleeding or spotting between their periods.

Digestive Problems

Digestive problems are not uncommon among women with endometriosis. The condition may cause bloating, nausea, diarrhea, or constipation. These symptoms may become particularly noticeable during menstruation.


Not all women with endometriosis will experience difficulty getting pregnant. However, women who have severe cases of endometriosis may indeed struggle with infertility. Severe endometriosis can result in the scarring and distortion of pelvic structures. For example, the fallopian tubes may become blocked with tissue, which prevents the fertilization of an egg. Deep ovarian endometriosis may be characterized by the formation of endometriomas, which are cysts that can damage ovarian tissue. This can lead to premature ovarian failure, decreased ovarian function, and ovulation problems.

The team at Raulerson Hospital is proud to support women’s health near Okeechobee, FL. Our hospital services include a personalized approach to treating endometriosis, which may involve medications, lifestyle changes, or other outpatient services such as laparoscopic surgery. For a referral to a women’s health specialist, you can speak to a registered nurse by calling (863) 763-9228.

Ultrasound Imaging: What to Expect

Ultrasound exams are a type of diagnostic imaging study that generates images of the internal structures of the body. Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to produce these images, rather than ionizing radiation. This diagnostic imaging study offers real-time images that can capture movements, such as the flow of blood. Ultrasound exams are frequently used to evaluate the health of a fetus; however, they may be used for many other medical purposes. These exams may be offered as both inpatient and outpatient services.


There are different types of ultrasound exams. For example, sometimes the transducer—which is a hand-held device that transmits the sound waves—must be inserted into the patient’s esophagus, a woman’s vagina, or a man’s rectum, depending on the structures that must be examined. This means that preparation for an ultrasound can vary. Patients can speak with their healthcare provider to determine what they need to do to prepare. Some patients may be instructed not to eat or drink for up to 12 hours prior to the appointment, while others must drink a lot of water and to avoid urinating before the test. In general, however, all patients anticipating an ultrasound can prepare by wearing loose-fitting clothing. Patients may be asked to remove certain articles of clothing for the exam.


Most patients undergoing an ultrasound exam are asked to lie on their back on an exam table. The Ultrasound technologist applies special gel to the skin above the internal structures that are to be examined. This gel facilitates proper contact between the skin and the hand-held transducer. Then, the technologist places the transducer on the skin and moves it around to capture the appropriate images. The exam is safe and painless, and most exams only take about 30 minutes.

Raulerson Hospital provides comprehensive diagnostic imaging in Okeechobee, FL, including ultrasound exams. If you would like to speak with a registered nurse about your upcoming appointment at our Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging Services department, call (863) 763-9228. For over 30 years, the staff members at Raulerson Hospital have been dedicated to combining healthcare excellence with a personal touch.

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