Mary Wheeland needs to have dialysis to stay alive. That means, three times a week, she must go to a local dialysis clinic where she is hooked up to a machine to have blood from her body filtered.
That doesn't stop Wheeland, 82, from assuming as independent a lifestyle as she can.
Thanks to Albright LIFE, many of her health care needs are taken care of.
"I didn't think I was sick enough to come here," she said recently, while taking a break from therapy at the Albright facility on Memorial Avenue in Williamsport.
Some people may think of Albright as an adult day care. And, in many ways, that's not wrong.
Wheeland, for example, not only receives therapy at Albright but medical professionals there keep a close watch on her health.
At the same time, she still manages to live at her residence. She even is transported back and forth to Albright from her home.
"I don't need an appointment to come in," she said.
Albright spokeswoman Tracy Haas noted the typical Albright participant is there two to three times a week.
Two years ago, it was determined Wheeland would need to start dialysis after she began having problems with her kidneys.
When damaged or diseased kidneys can't process urea, the toxic chemical accumulates in the blood and tissues, leading to a condition known as uremia.
Without dialysis - normally done three times a week, several hours a day - a person will die.
The only alternative is a kidney transplant, since the kidneys are beyond repair. But usually, it's younger and healthier people in kidney failure who receive the transplants.
After beginning a dialysis regimen, Wheeland's daughter, Janice Polchin, suggested she try Albright.
Wheeland was hesitant.
But she spent time at Albright and was able to see how it could help with some of her health needs.
Now, she couldn't be happier.
"They (Albright personnel) take me to doctors' and dentists' appointments," she said.
Albright nurses are available for her 24 hours a day and she receives meals at the facility to fit her special dietary needs, Haas noted.
Wheeland, a great-grandmother, also likes the recreational and social activities afforded her at Albright.
Older area residents may recall Wheeland as a performer. She sang with musical groups such as the Keystone Society Swing Band and the Bobby McCreary Band.
Sometimes she uses her singing talents to entertain the Albright crowd.
"We like participants to share their talents," Haas said.
Wheeland said she's been singing since she was 9 years old. As a little girl she would appear at the former Day-Night Restaurant in downtown Williamsport.
"Some people say I sound like Edie Gorme, or Doris Day," she said. "I love to sing."