Rowena Birnel is owner of Infusion Solutions Inc. (visit Infusionsolutionsinc.com) and a national champion racquetball player.
After seeing a need in the community for a pharmacy that helps patients with acute or chronic conditions, Birnel founded Infusion Solutions Inc. in April 2010. Nurses at the Bellingham company administer medications into a patient's bloodstream with a needle or catheter.
Patients can have a nurse come to their home, or they can visit the Infusion Solutions facility near Meridian Street, which has comfortable recliners and televisions in private rooms.
Home-infusion therapy is a potential growth industry, Birnel says, because patients can stay at home while fighting an illness, which is less expensive than staying in a hospital or a skilled nursing center. Infusion Solutions helps patients throughout the region, including people in Whatcom, Island, Skagit and Snohomish counties.
Racquetball is a big part of Birnel's life, one that she says provides a fast and furious workout.
"There's a lot of strategy involved with racquetball, as well as hand-eye coordination," she says. "But there's also a huge social aspect to the game that I enjoy."
Birnel is exceptional in the doubles game; she and Lori Turley won a 2006 national doubles title in the elite division, and Birnel finished second in the mixed-doubles category in a state tournament held in Seattle in January.
She says a doubles match is much like an intricate dance in which players must anticipate what their partner is doing, so they won't bump into each other in the confined space. With a laugh, she says it's not the kind of dance players want to have with spouses, unless both can be very patient with each other.
Racquetball is a family affair for Birnel. She got into the sport at the University of Washington with her future husband, Don. Their three sons have been active, too, playing at national tournaments. All of them have traveled the world to racquetball tournaments.
Birnel says racquetball has also been a good networking tool for her business. One of the challenges to owning a company like Infusion Solutions is explaining it to the general public. When talking to people on the racquetball court, she inevitably meets people who know someone who could benefit from the services of Infusion.
Most important, for Birnel, it's all about the game.
"I like the fitness aspect of the sport as well as being able to hit the ball as hard as I can into the wall," she says. "It's a great stress reliever."
Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2269.